Wheelchair Accessible Yachts, Suitable Dinghies and other Equipment of Interest to Disabled Sailing

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Report by wheelchair user Mike Wood, who has a spinal injury at C6/7, paralysed from chest down with partial use of hands, good triceps and biceps and some lats. Dinghy sailing since 1988 and yacht sailing since 1995 Mike designs, modifies and builds yachts and dinghies for disabled people and has a sailing program that provides over 2000 sailing places a year for disabled people.

Email....       mikewood@disabledsailing.org

The information I have is that production ceased in 2013 with nine boats having been produced but I cannot find any in use at the present time and I cannot find any record of a class association but you may come across second hand boats.

General Specifications Hull Length - 6.00 m
Waterline Length - 5.60 m
Beam - 1.50 m
Draft/ full - 1.40 m
Draft/ keel up - 0.80 m
Displacement/ measurement trim - 490 kg
Displacement/ sailing condition (2 crew) - 700 kg
Ballast - 225 kg
Sail Area: Main - 15.00 m2
Furling Jib - 8.00 m2
Asymmetric spinnaker - 25.00 m2

The design is quite innovative but the first thing you will notice is the seating.

The seats are on runners and swivels, ( the design has been protected so ask VIZ for permission before you build your own) which allows you to tilt the seat for comfort and visibility when heeled… a very nice touch. More importantly it allows you to very easily fit a custom seat to suit you or your disability, the flat floor with its runners also helps to make this a easy very job.

All the controls are in easy reach and the sliding seat is a dream enabling you to just get the reach as comfortable as you like.

The steering is also streets ahead of anything I have seen before, the central steering shaft which is ‘geared’ to the rudder stock has nil slack at all times. The joystick can be slid along the shaft to get the optimum placing and you can have it back seat, front seat or both….. what more can you ask?

The Artemis is a through hull design in that you can look through the crew area stem to stern meaning you can get at everything. The spinnaker lives in the bows area and is easy to get at, any water that comes in through the spinnaker chute simply runs down the flat floor and out the open back.

The narrow easily driven hull allows the use of standard ‘lifts’ to get crew in and out and gives perfect visibility in all conditions….. you can also reach the sides to ‘grab on’ if you need a little extra support.

It is often said that ‘if it looks right, it probably is right’ and the Artemis certainly looks right, its clean lines are very nice.

The build quality is very high indeed and the whole concept is very well thought out and extremely well designed with simplicity very evident as a priority.

I managed to test sail one at Hayling Island Sailing Club so was able to sail in flat and wave conditions in a good breeze. I helmed and had an able bodied crew who remained seated while we sailing and he handled the sails. My opinion is that it is a nice boat that needs a little development and could be a very good boat for all disabilities and its a shame it is discontinued after so few made.

The joystick steering is very positive but not suitable for many disabilities, if you have leg spasm you cant steer! The standard seats look good but do not actually offer very much support when the boat is heeled. Getting in and out was easy even for me.

Such potential....