Adaptive Sailing

Sailing offers life-changing freedom. Accessible sailing programs have empowered, motivated and enhanced the lives of Canadians living with disabilities.

Because of the advancement of adaptive technology, sailing is one activity where equipment can be rigged in such a way that disabled sailors can compete fully and equitably, while developing their skills on the water.

Accessible sailing offers an exhilarating experience, where everybody can participate and enjoy the wind, waves, sun, wildlife and camaraderie of other sailors.

Uniquely designed and adapted boats make sailing accessible for people with reduced mobility. Learn about the types of accessible sailboats that disabled sailors can experience across Canada below.

Headshot of René Dallaire with sip ‘n puff straws


Martin 16 sailboat on the water with two people onboard, city of Kelowna in background

Martin 16

The Martin 16 is a boat designed specifically for people with disabilities. Thanks to innovative technology, it can be sailed independently by people with any level of physical disability. It is widely used across Canada as an adaptive sailing program boat and is also sailed competitively.

Three people transferring a sailor into a Sonar sailboat using a hydraulic lift


The Sonar is a 23-ft keelboat that was not specifically designed for sailors with limited mobility, but its large cockpit makes it easy to accommodate adaptations for seating and steering.

Two people sailing a Hansa adaptive sailboat


The Hansa (previously the Access Dinghy) was specifically designed for sailors with limited mobility. There are three models: the 2.4, 303 and the Liberty, all of which can also be equipped with special controls to allow disabled sailors independent control and steering.

A 2.4 meter sailboat on the water with two racing buoys nearby


The 2.4mR is a one-person Scandinavian designed boat that wasn’t originally designed with sailors with disabilities in mind, but just happens to be particularly well-suited for the job. This is because the sailor stays seated in one place and all controls for steering, trimming and other manoeuvres are easily within hand’s reach. The 2.4mR has been used for the one-person event in Paralympic games.

A group of people in a Freedom Independence sailboat

Freedom Independence 20

A 20-foot keel boat with a low freeboard and open, clean cockpit to allow for easy boarding. It can accommodate several sailors as well as a coach, volunteer or caregiver. The boat can be adapted in a number of ways such as the addition of special seats that provide additional postural support if needed.