Sailing for the disabled is a big subject. It is not my intention here to explore the subject in depth, but rather to focus on the Hansa 2.3, of which over 1,000 have been manufactured and distributed in 20 countries. There’s an active UK Hansa Class Association that promotes the sale and the use of Hansa sailing boats designed specifically for people with disabilities. The basic design principles determining the nature of these sailboats are for them to be safe, stable and easy to sail. In the manufacturing process, consideration is given to causing minimal impact on the environment.
The series of Hansa boats allow for progressive development for their users from novice to expert, the latter being able to achieve high performance sailing with the more sophisticated top of the range boat, the Skud 18 for Paralympic competition.
The smallest vessel is the Hansa 2.3 which is the basic model and cheapest of the boats. As her name suggests, she has an overall length of 2.3 metres. She can be sailed by one or two people who sit facing forward and who steer by controlling a joystick. She has a single, roller reefing sail. Her 20 kilogram drop keel makes her virtually uncapsizable. For those with severe manual disability she can be controlled by a servo-electric system for operating the rudder and managing the sail.
These tiny ‘yachts’ are suitable for a variety of users, not just the disabled. Elderly sailors, who are not as agile as they were when younger, would find them ideal for getting out on the water. They are practical boats for those wishing to learn to sail because they are safe and easy to manage. At the same time they are excellent for people with varying disabilities to compete in one design racing. This year the Rutland Sailing Club will be hosting the International Hansa Class Association Bruce Wake European Championships from Monday, 6th July to Saturday, 11th.
Specification of the Hansa 2.3
Length 2.3 m
Beam 1.25 m
Draft 0.75 m
Weight 50 kg (+ Keel 20 kg)
Sail Area 3.8 m2 (reduces to 0.5 m2)
Hansa Class Association
Hansa 2.3 Breeze
Hansa 2.3 Video
Hansa 2.3 Brochure (PDF)
Access Dinghies (A previous article on the same subject)
Sailing for All
International Association for Disabled Sailing
Rutland Sailing Club
Bruce Wake Trust
2015 European Hansa Class Championship