Martin16250Nov2"Since my accident sailing was a very distant thought and only provided me with many great memories as I was lying in my bed at the hospital. Being on the water again was one of the most exciting things that has happened to me since my accident." This is a quote from CY test-pilot Danny McCoy at the helm of the Martin 16, a sport-boat for sailors with mobility impairments.

It seems strange, but the highlight of my 1995 sailing season happened with my feet planted firmly on the dock. The story opens in late September when Steve Alvey, the fleet captain of Calgary's Glenmore Sailing Club, invited me to test the Martin 16, a new 16-foot keelboat that takes into account the needs of youth and adult sailors with disabilities.

Since the start of his summer vacation in August, Alvey and his Dad had been touring across central Canada and the U.S. north-east to promote the Martin at yacht clubs and boat shows.

"My involvement with the boat began in the fall of 1994, when I helped to establish the Disabled Sailing Association of Alberta. Our fundraising efforts generated $100,000 from corporate sponsors for new boats and staff," says Alvey. "When we went shopping for new boats were a bit dissappointed with what was available. So this past January, we decided to build a boat from the "bulb-keel up" for quardriplegic sailors that would enable a quadriplegic to sail solo without outside assistance. Our consortium included private individuals who sponsored the tooling, Vancouver designer Don Martin, the Science Council of B.C. and the Disabled Sailing Association of B.C."

From a few boat-lengths away, the Martin 16 looks like a minature America's Cup yacht. With narrow beam, a plumb bow, bulb keel and an open transom, it has all the telltale signs of a pocket racing keelboat. But up close, the Martin is unlike any keelboat or dinghy that I have seen or sailed. For one, the boat is steered, like a small plane, with a joystick that is positioned between the helmsperson's legs. The pilot, so to speak, sits facing forward in a fully-adjustable, moulded fibreglass seat.

During my test sail in late September, I zoomed around Toronto Harbour with Alvey sitting back in the rumble seat and acting as my co-pilot. The helm was responsive, light and the boat sailed like it was running on steel wheels; with its narrow beam and modern, mini-IMS hull shape, the boat barely left a wake behind me. My first impression was that, although the Martin was designed to be sailed by a quad using a "sip-and-puff" interface which operates electronic sheeting and helm controls, this was a no-compromise, performance keelboat that would also be a great one design for thirty- to seventysomething club racers.

A test sail on Toronto Harbour

As we glided wing on wing with the jib flying neatly to windward on a club-foot boom, I concluded that CY should review the Martin. In my mind, I had already selected my test-pilot - one of my former crew, Danny McCoy and an ex-Canada's Cup bow-man, to boot.

So the following day, I invited Dan down to the club to go for a sail -- his first since he was paralyzed during a car accident on the way to his ranch in upper New York state, last Christmas.

Initially Dan was reluctant to take me up on my offer and had already declined literally dozens of previous invitations from his former sailing friends. "I am very self-conscious about getting back into sailing," he said. "How would I switch from side to side? How would I get on board?"

When I enthusiastically explained that the Martin was designed for sailors with mobility impairments, Dan finally agreed to come down to my club for a look at the boat. Bring your foul-weather gear, I added as I hung up the phone.

The day of our sail, as luck would have it, was very windy. As we safety-belted Dan into the skipper's chair, the waves were breaking over the club breakwall and, I'll admit it, I had butterflies. As a small crowd waited on the dock, we pushed the Martin off and into an oncoming puff. I can barely describe the giddy feeling I felt as Dan sheeted in the sails and pointed his bow through the club gap and headed out into the lake. He was "gone sailing" once again.

But as Dan tacked and gybed in the surf, I began to wonder if he was ever coming back -- he was having that much fun.

When he did finally return to the club, Danny was shaking his fist in the air in celebration, just as he had done on the foredeck when we raced together. His reaction afterwards, which I caught on tape, sums it up. "After my accident sailing was a very distant thought - it provided me with many great memories as I was lying in my bed at the hospital. Being on the water again was one of the most exciting things that has happened to me since my accident."

This was certainly the most satisfying afternoon I have spent sailing in a long time -- even though my boots never left the dock. As the waves washed across the bow of the Martin, I saw the world opening up to Dan again and I also know that we will see this sailor back on the water next summer.

To see if this boat is available, go to http://www.boatcan.com for listings!

 

Destinations

  • Prev
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.

An Abacos Adventure

Great Guana CayBy Mark Stevens; Photos by Sharon Matthew-Stevens

It’s a perfect Sunday morning jaunt.

We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set for a close reach out of a harbour guarded by a necklace of tiny emerald islands decorated by palms that dance in fifteen knots of wind.

Our boat, “Tropical Escape II” (perfect name for both the boat and our adventure), is a 44-foot Robertson and Caine catamaran, chartered from Sunsail’s Marsh Harbour base on Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island.

Read More about An Abacos Adventure...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Our Photos of the week this time come from BC where our friend Rob Stokes sent us a very nice ...
Back to the days when most sailors made their boats in their garages, backyards, or basements, ...
Our little treasure: Montague (Monte) taken at Pirate's Cove in the Gulf Islands. Monte is a ...
It has been a long, hot summer here on Georgian Bay and we miss Adamant 1 terribly. We did manage ...
On Thursday last week, at age 88, Bruce Kirby has been invested into the Order of Canada for his ...
The Olympic Qualification Regatta is now being held in Aarhus Denmark with unlimited entries. That ...
The demographics of sailing are changing, and more women are getting involved and are often rooted ...
Whether he’s sailing celebrities around the BVI’s or sailing an Etchell back home at his native ...
POTW input is irresistible, so this time you get a couple. And don’t forget to send your own Photo ...
After a good night’s sleep, it was a lot easier to work my way through checking into the US. I ...

Hanse 388

Hanse 388By Katherine Stone

The Hanse group produced their second most popular boat of all time with the Hanse 385. The trick was to build on that winning formula when they upgraded to the Hanse 388, which they have done in spades. The German build quality is first rate and true to the Hanse tradition. Leaving the hull the same with a steep stern and straight stem for an optimal long water line, they went with a slightly stiffer, heavier displacement, new deck, interior layout and window line. Hanse’s highly experienced yacht construction team, judel/vrolijk & co., have combined ease of sailing, comfort and performance into the newly designed Hanse 388.

Read more about the Hanse 388...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 
This one-day course consists of both theory and practical demonstration sessions, is designed to ...
 Since the initial article of this column we have identified a wide range of apps and ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
Sail shape is long gone. They have stained, feels thin and you see broken threads everywhere. Your ...
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...
Ga-Oh (spirit of the winds in Algonquin) creates bags and other items from re-purposed sails.