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Hello everyone. My brother has multiple sclerosis, and is confined to a wheelchair. We are both avid sailors. He has been sailing a Martin 16 in Toronto, but we want to look into a catamaran which could be made wheelchair accessible. We would need a catamaran with a fairly large salon, and where the outside deck, cockpit and saloon are all at the same level. We are not concerned about making the hulls accessible, unless we design and build something for disabled access.

I have seen photos of a CSK 53' cruising catamaran, that appears to have deck, cockpit and saloon on the same level, i.e. no ramps required to get around on the boat. Has anyone seen this boat? Are there other boats that I should look at that meet our requirements?
 

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Last month I was on a Leopard 48 on which the cockpit and salon were on the same level. The side decks had steps, but that would be pretty much the norm. There is a forward cockpit that is accessible from the salon.

The issue is the head - almost all are in one of the hulls.
 

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Having hosted many disabled sailors on cats...

* Boarding ramp. With variations in dock heights, this can be very tricky. I wonder if replacing the dingy davits with something hydraulic might kill 2 birds.

* I'd build a head into the salon. Solving the transfer problem may be tricky.

* The forward cockpit idea seems brilliant. I wonder if an Atlantic 48 with a cut-down rig and serious customizing might be good. Perhaps the most one-level design I know of. I think cabin access from the salon might even be custimizable.

* I wonder if power steering makes sense. Wheel locks at one station inplace of a seat.

* I wonder if a boat-specific chair could solve some fit problems; cheaper to customise the chair than the boat. Toss the lubber rulebook and imagine all possible improvements.

* Improved convertable berth in the salon, or course. A real bed.
 

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We know we are going to have to build a full bathroom on the upper deck, no matter what boat we get. I would prefer not to have the seating formed into the fiberglass, but thanks for the tip.
 

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^^ By "boat specific chair" I meant that perhaps customizing a wheel chair to the boat (narrow, slightly smaller wheels, different steering, other) perhaps it would fit better on the boat. Building a custom chair is going to be cheap and easy compared to some boat mods. No, I did not mean molded-in seating. In fact, eliminating built-in stuff frees up space.

Generally substantial door sills are good practice on a boat; waves are always a possibility and rain is a certainty. We've solved this in houses both with mini-ramps that fit over the sill (OK) and by building elevated false floors, like a very thick cockpit grating with high volume drainage under (much better). On a boat, the latter would improve seated visibility at the same stroke.
 

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You might try reaching out to the folks at CRAB http://www.crabsailing.org for suggestions.

"Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) is dedicated to making the thrill of sailing a reality for physically and developmentally disabled individuals."​
 

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Look at day charter designs--Kurt Huges, for example. They lack the pollish and bells, but they are very open and may have far more one-level utility than cruising designs, since they are designed to carry a large load of passengers with easy movement. They have wide side decks and would be easily customized. I've been on some of the Hawaii charter fleet, and remmember seeing a wheel chair on one.
 

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I wonder if an Atlantic 48 with a cut-down rig and serious customizing might be good.
Chris White boats have a step down Saloon which would be a challenge to ramp over. Here's a 55 that you can see this clearly

http://www.catamaransite.com/Atlantic55_1_catamaran_for_sale.html

Why wouldn't a FP Mahe work? At 36' it would be easy to handle and the way the saloon area is laid out, a head could be added.

There are a couple for sale here

http://www.catamaransite.com/catamarans_for_sale.html
 

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I have a friend, and his wife has MS. He has an older Gemini and he takes her on it. He has enclosed the cockpit and added comfort things, but otherwise the boat is largely as stock
 

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I has MS too and the treasurer of Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario.

I am considering a wheelhair accessible cataraman for our club.

Would you like to share ideas?
 

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I don't know if this would be helpful. I saw this boat in Beaufort and it was pretty amazing. The owner is paralized from the waist down and had this boat designed for access. There is an elevator, so to speak, to move down into the owners cabin area. There are a number of unique features. He leases the boat I believe. Unfortunately the web page is in Italian but here it is. Sorry I don't have more info. lo Spirito di Stella | Sailing Campus
 
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