QCDS owns a variety of equipment that is used to deliver the program in a safe, appropriate way. The club currently owns two adapted sailboats – two Martin 16 sailboats. Both Martin 16s are equipped with an Autohelm Power Assist System, including the Sip & Puff Module that allows for electronic control of the helm and sail sheeting systems. The club also owns a Zodiac dinghy, a mechanical lift, boat trailers and a variety of lifejackets, two way radios and other safety and program related supplies.
Martin 16 Sailboat
The Martin 16 is a single-handed keelboat that is designed and built in Canada. The boat is 16′ long with a drop keel. The sailor sits in a single seat facing forward, with all lines within reach. The joystick steering is centered in the boat between the sailor’s legs. There is also space behind the sailor if a companion is required for training, crew or safety purposes. The Martin 16 is highly adaptable to each sailor’s needs. With a 330lb ballast, it has the key safety feature necessary for adapted sailing- it is impossible to capsize
Not all of our sailors have full use or strength of their arms or hands. For these individuals, 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. Both sails can then also be controlled with a touch of the fingers – left or right for steering, forward or back to ease or trim sails.
The Autohelm system can also be controlled by a straw system called the “Sip ‘n Puff”. As the name indicates, instead of controlling the helm and sails with their hands, the sailor uses their 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 equipment, sailors can independently sail the boat regardless of the impact of their disability on their mobility and strength.
Accessible Dock & Mechanical Dock Lift
QCDS has a wheelchair accessible dock. The dock is engineered to use a mechanical lift to assist sailors in an out of the boats. The lift assists staff and volunteers in transferring sailors in a safe and suitable manner. All staff and volunteers are trained to use the lift, as well as appropriate transfer techniques.