Going Solo without legs

SvenH

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A friend of mine has to use a wheelchair in daily life. She has no use of herlegs whatsoever due to an accident.

Sailing brings great joy and she is well experienced in boat handling but has had no practice in soloing since she has lost the use of her legs.

We are getting close to actually buying a boat so she can start working out how much actually is possible, what would need to be learned and what would need to be altered on the boat.

Part one of this big adventure is just trial and error, without changing a boat so much that it would be unsellable afterwards. But off course we want to get the best boat possible to start with.

One year ago we saw two Freedom 35's passing by and the sun can out immediately. The freedom rig (Dual unstayed wishbone rigs) Offers the kind of easy handling that would make a huge difference. But they are expensive and the deck layout is a bit cluttered for someone who can not walk.

We have also seen videos of Wyliecat, the same wishbone rig, very easy handling but they seem very focussed on Northern America.

Another option could be a junk rig but the relatively high weight of the sails could be too difficult to handle.

So, to start with, do you have any suggestions for a boat for this kind of situation? The most important things so far:

Cabin sailer
Very easy rig
clean and uncluttered deck
(Space for) shower
about 10 meters long
Area Inland IJsselmeer, Netherlands

Other things like getting on and off and actually moving about are actually not as much of a problem as one might think.
 

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SvenH

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Thanks for the info guys. Sailability may be able to provide pointers, hadn't looked at them like that. There is a branch in Holland as well.

For sure she will not be sailing with them because it labels her as disabled where she thoroughly enjoys that when she is on a boat no one can see there is something different about her.

We also have to look in to cats as well, that is a good idea!
 

electrosys

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Hello Sven - there was a paraplegic guy called Michael Spring who sailed a Coromandel to the Azores and back solo - as a challenge - way back in 1983. His website is no longer active, but I downloaded a copy with which I could create a QD (Quick 'n' Dirty) website, if you think it might be inspirational to your friend.

The site was mainly about the photographs taken on the voyage (runs to some 13Mb), but there are several of Michael showing him coping well out at sea, despite not having any functional legs.

Let me know if this could be of use.
 
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Cabin sailer
Very easy rig
clean and uncluttered deck
(Space for) shower
about 10 meters long
Area Inland IJsselmeer, Netherlands


Firstly, a catamaran such as a 'Strider' will provide an economic and reliable level playing field.

Re-rig with a pair of unstayed alu masts, easily stepped into each hull, and store the original spars for later.

Set junk rig on both. That's very easily handled, raised and reefed from a relatively fixed position and no need to visit the mast(s). Bring all lines back to the cockpit, and fit big-enough winches and jammers.

Seemples.
 

haydude

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Do you mean, solo solo or assisted solo?

Even with a properly adapted boat, all controls aft, etc. I believe it to be very hard for a disabled solo sailor to manage close quarter manouvering, fenders, warps, etc.
 

electrosys

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Do you mean, solo solo or assisted solo?

Even with a properly adapted boat, all controls aft, etc. I believe it to be very hard for a disabled solo sailor to manage close quarter manouvering, fenders, warps, etc.

Solo solo. Boat doesn't appear to be specially adapted, although he was pressured into carrying an SSB radio as well as VHF. Also carried an early Satnav (which failed) and Radar detector (which proved useless).
Not too much close quarter work, nor need for fenders/warps between here and the Azores .... Presumably he accepted help at either end ?
 

SvenH

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The aim is solo-solo indeed. The first part is mainly about boat handling on the go, with a berth that is easy to enter and leave. At first we need to know if main boat handling can be done before doing any adaptations.

She can get about on the boat, just not quickly.

electrosys, a copy of the website would be lovely but a download of the files might work just as well. sounds like a great story!
 

electrosys

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The aim is solo-solo indeed. The first part is mainly about boat handling on the go, with a berth that is easy to enter and leave. At first we need to know if main boat handling can be done before doing any adaptations.

She can get about on the boat, just not quickly.

electrosys, a copy of the website would be lovely but a download of the files might work just as well. sounds like a great story!
Hi Sven - for some reason this thread seems to have gone off my radar - might have something to do with me head-butting a trailer winch which I didn't see ... However, several stitches later, I'll now get on with creating that site and will post the link asap.
 

Tommyrot

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My legs are still working for now, but I've got serious problems with mobility and strength.
I've got a Coromandel which I normally sail solo, the weight of the sail was a problem I overcame by adding a winch for the halyard.
The Coro might be too small for her to feel comfortable, only she can tell.
It's a great feeling to be out on my own and in control.
I hope your friend finds a way to sail on her own.
 

electrosys

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Hi Sven - for some reason this thread seems to have gone off my radar - might have something to do with me head-butting a trailer winch which I didn't see ... However, several stitches later, I'll now get on with creating that site and will post the link asap.

Here 'tis: http://sae140.99k.org/

Hope you find it interesting.
 

electrosys

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My legs are still working for now, but I've got serious problems with mobility and strength.
Know the feeling - old age has recently been tapping me on the shoulder (the left one, as it happens - same nagging pain for 2 years now) - which is particularly annoying if you've been used to 100% fitness.
However, a lifelong mate of mine had a stroke and died 10 days ago - so I guess compared with that, a nagging pain is insignificant.

BTW - another copy of Michael Spring's 'Azores Trip' is on: http://corribee.org/cruising-and-racing/mike-spring-3m-mariner/
 

chrisedwards

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Firstly, a catamaran such as a 'Strider' will provide an economic and reliable level playing field.

Re-rig with a pair of unstayed alu masts, easily stepped into each hull, and store the original spars for later.

Set junk rig on both. That's very easily handled, raised and reefed from a relatively fixed position and no need to visit the mast(s). Bring all lines back to the cockpit, and fit big-enough winches and jammers.

Seemples.

I would have to agree with this. Lightweight cat with mast on each hull and junk rig. Would own a tikki 30 so rigged now if club had allowed cats in our muddy creek. This Tikki had just done a transat, had acres of deck space and was the fastest thing on the water.
 

Ehbendisdonc

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SvenH,
When I bought my junk-rigged Corribee, I was immediately struck by the suitability of the rig for sailors with disabilities. Mike Spring's article confirmed that, and I now regularly sail her with members of my club's Accessible Sailing programme.
Your friend is dead right when she talks about being just like anyone else when sailing. It's startling how even a severe disability becomes largely irrelevant when sailing an appropriately set-up boat.
If a junkrig is well set up, it should be quite easy to hoist with the benefit of a winch and it should self stow under its own weight. It would be great if you could track down local boats through the Junk Rig Association or Owners forums, and arrange a few 'test drives'.
I would love to see some of our 'accessible' sailors progress to sailing their own small cruising boat with a friend or partner. Single-handing, though, would need very careful planning, particularly as regards getting out of trouble in the event of a gear failure.

I would love to hear how your friend gets on!
Declan.
 

snowleopard

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Have to disagree with the Strider and in fact all open-bridgedeck cats. Fine for short day-sails but how do you get to the heads?!! The prospect of sailing for several hours fully exposed to the wind with no shelter doesn't appeal. I'm sure the Ijsselmeer isn't always as cold and draughty as the day I sailed across it but even on a nice day it could get pretty exposed.

Dazcats have built at least one cat for a wheelchair user with wheeled access from inside the cabin into the cockpit and around the deck to the foot of the mast. However that is unlikely to leave much change from €400,000.

The junk rig has to be the most easily handled. If the weight of the sail is a problem then a winch for the halyard would solve that. If necessary a powered winch makes it all ultra-easy.

At the smaller end of the scale for day sailing there are things like the Access dinghy, Challenger tri and 2.4m keelboat, all of which are designed to be sailed solo by people with no leg function. The Sonar keelboat is designed for disabled sailors and can be sailed by one but will carry up to about 8 so you can take friends if you want.
 
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