A local father-daughter team is preparing to tackle a 2,070-mile sail boat race to help raise awareness for an issue that is close to their hearts.
Stan Perkins and Kerry Hallyburton will be sailing in the 2014 Pacific Cup; a sail boat race from San Francisco, Calif., to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
About 70 boats compete in the overall race; Perkins and Hallyburton will have immediate competition with about 15 other vessels similar to their size.
The pair is competing in the race to raise funds and awareness for Remember Nhu, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent the exploitation of children in the sex trade industry.
Their overall goal is to reach $160,000 to build a new safe house for the rescued children. One-hundred percent of the funds raised will be put toward the safe house.
A local company, Infinite Graphics, has donated a banner for the team that they hang on the boat. The banner contains faces of the saved children with three overpowering statistics about the child sex trade industry: More than one million children are put into the sex trade every year; nearly 2,700 children are sold every day; and more than 100 children are sold every hour.
Hallyburton first heard about the injustice of the sex trade in 2006 and since then has been serving actively to help make a difference.
“When my husband Rick and I first heard about Remember Nhu, we heard how children as young as 3 years old were being sold into the sex trade. We had a baby at the time and we couldn’t imagine the thought of children just like ours being sold and the horrific things that would be done to them. We knew at that moment that we needed to partner with Remember Nhu,” Hallyburton said.
Kelly and Rick, with their two children, lived in Thailand for 15 months working with Remember Nhu building a safe home, meeting the rescued children and learning more about the terrors of the sex trade. The Hallyburtons returned to the Columbia Gorge in 2012 and have continued working to get the word out and put a stop to the sex trade industry.
After moving to the Columbia River Gorge, Perkins was immediately hooked on sailing and has continued that passion for 30 years. It has always been a dream of his to race in the Pacific Cup and he has been diligently working and preparing for this big race. More recently, he has learned about the horrors of the sex trade, which has stirred a passion in him to make a difference.
Recently the duo competed in the Swiftsure race up in Canada. To prepare for the Pacific Cup, Perkins and Hallyburton will also be competing in several local races such as the Double Damned race (Aug. 10), Bridge to Bridge (Aug. 17 and 18) and Race Around the County (Nov. 9 and 10).
“It prepares us more for the ocean, which has similar conditions that last just 30-90 minutes with each nighttime squall,” Perkins said. “This is why training in the Gorge is so important for us. It’s a wonderful benchmark for the two of us when competing with fully crewed boats.”
Even though the Pacific Cup is a little less than a year away, there are still multiple things that need to be dealt with before the race.
“It’s a huge time-consuming task to get ready to race across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii,” Perkins said. “The planning and preparation is continuous with never-ending additions to the work list.
“When we first started in July 2011 the list had over 650 line items. We always seem to find a way to add a couple of new ones every time five or six are completed. Currently, the list is at 70 items and we seem to be winning with getting things done,” he said.
Perkins and Kerry Hallyburton want to use their dream to bring a new reality for millions of children around the world and get them out of the sex trade industry.
“Ever since I was a little girl I have dreamed of sailing across the ocean with my dad!” Hallyburton said. “I am truly blessed to have this opportunity to promote awareness about the fight against the sex trade and sail in an ocean crossing.”
If you would like to donate or learn more about Stan and Kerry’s mission, visit their official website: www.sailforremembernhu.org. Also “like” their page on Facebook, Sail for Remember Nhu, for photos, videos and updates.
Perkins and Hallyburton thanked the Hood River contributors to the mission: Juanita Farlow of Infinite Graphics, the Hood River Yacht Club, Robichaud Batten Systems, Jim Ealer of Cascadia Techworks, Schlosser Machine Inc., Northwave Custom Sails and Bob Crapper.
They said thanks go to people in Portland, Seattle, Anacortes, Albany and Santa Cruz who have helped Stan and Kerry along this journey.