Following IPC’s announcement of a third event for the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition, IFDS will undertake equipment evaluation to identify the boat to be selected as the two person craft and the Australian UD18 will be offered for evaluation.
The UD18 is the result of collaboration between B & B Technology and Innovation -Julian Bethwaite/Bethwaite Design in Australia and Argentinean naval architect, Martin Billoch, along with Access Dinghy’s Chris Mitchell.
By combining 20 years of Bethwaite experience, research and technology and Mitchell’s unique understanding and ideology of sailing for people with disabilities, the result is the innovative ‘lead assisted skiff’ (LAS), the UD18.
Bethwaite, who also designed the Olympic class 49er skiff explained, ‘the design evolved to be a 5.5m LAS, capable of carrying weight whilst maintaining a high level of performance and control, keeping the cost down and incorporating a range of interesting features that should allow easy stacking/containerisation, simple maintenance and general ease of use.
‘The boat will be a challenge for able-bodied and disabled sailors alike. This boat has been designed from a performance basis, to offer scintillating, crisp and snappy response to sailors regardless of their ability/mobility.’
Mitchell, designer of Access Dinghies continued, ‘the UD18 is very versatile and can be handled by a variety of crew configurations. The helmsman can transfer manually and be steering with tillers, or be in a fixed seat on the centreline using a manual joystick, push/pull rods, or a servo assist joystick with full control of all functions.
‘The forward crew can either be on the centreline, transferring manually, or using a swinging seat. Or both crew could be mobile - even riding trapeze. As its name says, the UD18 is of Universal Design and can be sailed by all levels of physical ability.’
With this inspired pedigree, the UD18 promises to provide new and exciting innovation in sailing for people of all abilities, and is sure to arouse interest at the IFDS Equipment Evaluation event in Denmark during September. www.accessdinghy.org