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

Class Association - http://www.hansaclass.org.uk/

My judgment is that the SKUD is not a good boat for disabled people and a waste of time and money for a club boat - a skiff is designed to sail flat on the water balanced by its crew - it cannot be expected to sail well with a crew seated on the centre line and a lump of lead hung on the bottom.

0/10 - As a boat for all types of disabilities - not being able to see where you are going at times make this boat potentially dangerous.

5/10 - As a boat for experienced disabled sailors - its looks and wild performance in windy conditions will attract some experienced sailors.

3/10 - As a training boat - cant reach control easily and deep draught - very wet in heavy conditions - hinders training.

8/10 - Ease of rigging - not to bad - I only drop points because I cant do it myself.

4/10 - Ease of transport and launching - the keel and physical size make this awkward to move about.

5/10 - Controls - are of poorly positioned and rudders ineffective in very rough conditions - boom hits water and you cannot dump power sometimes.

6/10 - Quality of fittings and build - not too bad.

5/10 - Getting in and out - the wide decks are a bit awkward and the gap to the seats is difficult - most common people lifts are no good.

5/10 - Sailing qualities - good in light airs but it gets progressively worse as wind strengthens.

0/10 - As a club boat - there are many better options.


MY OPINION.......This offering from Hansa/Access Dinghies, will need more development to be a really good boat for disabled people and Hansa/Access do not seem to have a good development record. Boats tested in the mid 90's still have the same faults to-day. Twenty years of development and we still have keels that can be fitted to the wrong model and still the same poor quality fittings.

However good marketing a well organised class association and regular worldwide regattas show all the other 'disabled sailing providers' how it can be done -


- the boats may not be the greatest but the organisation, support and dedication are second to none.

There are other dinghies that offer similar facilities as the Skud at a fraction of the cost the Challenger, Martin 16 are much better and the SKUD makes the RS Venture the bargain of the century.