Thursday, July 21, 2016

Didi Sport 15 Adaptive - Sportboat for those with Handicaps

I have written in previous posts about the Didi Sport 15, aka the DS15. You can see one of those posts at this link or use the search window to view the many other posts.

This design caught the attention of two sailors in Santa Cruz, California. George Arthur and Luc de Faymoreau are involved with an accessible sailing program, helping sailors with disabilities to get afloat and sailing. They asked if it would be possible to redesign the DS15 to be suitable for disabled sailors and still have good performance.

The resulting design process has produced a specialised version of the DS15, using the same hull and foils as the base platform but with modified deck and sail plan. The name of the new design is the Didi Sport 15 Accessible, aka the DS15A. We don't yet have a design page for it on our website, that will come with time.
The DS15, basis for the new accessible boat
The deck modifications are to allow two sailors to sit in tandem in secure seats. The crew are seated in a narrower cockpit that allows them to brace themselves against solid structure when they feel the need, or to lean against something solid. The cockpit has low comfortable coamings that crew can hook an arm or an elbow onto, to hold themselves to windward if they want. Severely handicapped or weak crew can be strapped into the seats with harnesses if needed, to assure their safety.
3D Image of the DS15A accessible sportboat.
The rig has been reduced in power because the crew will not have the benefit of the stability advantages from mobile crew and single or twin trapezes. The ballast bulb on the daggerboard will be standard equipment rather than an optional item as with the DS15. It has a smaller asymmetrical spinnaker as well, on a shorter retractable bowsprit, for more advanced sailors in the program.
DS15A sail plan, reduced power but still exciting.
Sail controls are all led to the two seats, with camcleats on the sidedecks or cockpit sole, to share boat handling functions between skipper and crew. Some controls can be operated from either seat, to help with sail training or to better serve crew with different disabilities. Steering is by means of joysticks mounted in front of each seat, driving cables that are connected to the tiller.

This boat is not only for those with physical handicaps though. It is also well-suited to those who feel that they no longer have the agility or fast reactions demanded by a powerful boat like the standard DS15. It is also less intimidating to many wives and other less adventurous people who would still like to get out onto their local sailing waters with less fear that their thrill-seeking partners are going to scare the daylights out of them.

The first boat is about to start construction in Santa Cruz, being built from a plywood component kit, accurately cut by CNC router and shipped from our kit supplier on the East Coast. Construction is radiused chine plywood, giving a round bilge hull that is within the abilities of amateurs. From this first boat they will make moulds, whereafter fibreglass boats will be produced for the use of their own program and to fill orders from other programs and individuals.

We will also sell the design on the same basis as applies to the DS15, so it will be available as plans only, plans with full-size patterns or plans with a CNC kit.

I look forward to seeing the first of these versatile boats sailing. I will update progress with future posts on this blog.

To see our other designs, go to our desktop website or our mobile website.