Le Martin 16

The Martin 16, designed and manufactured in Canada, is a boat that allows adults and children with physical or sensory disabilities to get out of their wheelchairs or other mobility aids and go sailing!  Even people with arm weaknesses or who cannot use their arms can sail independently using motorized technology.

As its name suggests, the Martin 16 is 16 feet long, which is the length of many small sailboats.  But unlike other boats, it was designed specifically for sailors with physical disabilities.

First of all, the boat is very safe.  A lead bulb weighing 150 kg (330 lbs) is attached to the bottom of the boat's keel making it impossible for the boat to capsize (i.e., tip over).  The interior of the hull contains styrofoam insulation making the boat unsinkable, even when fully submerged.

A multi-adjustable seat is provided to accommodate the sailor's postural needs.  The seat is placed in the center of the boat, at the bottom of the cockpit; this is the most stable position so that the sailor does not have to move from one side of the boat to the other, as is required on standard sailboats. 

Once comfortably seated, the sailor has a joystick to control the direction of the boat and the sheets needed to adjust the sails so that it is possible to sail independently without changing position. A second seat is located behind the sailor for the instructor or companion.

For people with weaker arms, the boat can be equipped with a joystick similar to the one found on a motorized wheelchair.... and, for people who cannot move their arms at all, the boat can be equipped with a system called "sip n' puff"; allowing them to sail using their breath.   Even people on respirators can sail the Martin 16 independently!

The Martin 16 is frequently used in adaptive sailing programs around the world, whether it is recreational sailing, racing or learn-to-sail programs.

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Le 2.4

The 2.4mR is a one person Scandinavian designed boat that was not designed for sailors with disabilities but just happens to be particularly well-suited due to the fact that the sailor stays seated in one place and all controls for steering, trimming, etc. are within hands reach. Sailors with and without disabilities compete against each other on a level playing field.

However, the sailor must have a very good knowledge of navigation, of the sailboat and its controls and be able to sail alone in complete safety. Participation in AQVA's Learn-to-Race program is a prerequisite for its use.


Transfers : How to get in & out of the boat

Many of our sailors are able to get in and out of the boat with minimal assistance. However, if this is not possible, sailors can be transferred using a sling and hoist. A sling is placed under the person, the straps attached to a battery-powered lift which raises the person out of the wheelchair. The lift is attached to a pivoting davit which allows us to move the sailor above the seat in the boat and safely lower him or her into position. The same procedure is done in reverse for getting back into the wheelchair. This is a very safe transfer method which requires no manual lifting.


Adapted sailing systems

Makes sailing accessible to all !

Not all of our sailors have full use or strength of their arms or hands. In these cases, a device called an “Autohelm” can be easily fitted into the boat. The Autohelm has a small, almost effortless joystick – similar to a video game control – that can be used to steer the boat. In addition, a windlass (winch) can also be fitted on to the boat and both sheets can then also be controlled with a touch of the fingers – left or right for steering, forward or back to ease or trim sails.

Amazingly, the boat can be even further adapted: the Autohelm system can be controlled by an incredible, sophisticated straw system called the “sip 'n puff”. As the name indicates, instead of controlling the helm and sails with hands, the sailor uses his or her breath. By just inhaling or exhaling gently into the straw, the rudder will move left or right and the sails can be let out or drawn in. With this amazing design, high-level quadriplegics – those with no movement below the neck – can independently sail the boat.