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Old 04-08-2014, 14:48   #1
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Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

You all have probably been asked similar questions all the time but mine is a little unusual. First a little background information to help with making a good answer.

I have been in or operated many types of boats, mostly flat bottom Jon boats but other types as well. I have operated Jon boats, run abouts, bass boats, pontoon boats, V hull boats, semi V boats, as well as been in canoes. The one type of boat I have never been on and would like to get and learn to operate is a sailboat.

One day I hope to be able to live aboard Motorsailer but I have a feeling with my health that is not ever going to happen if something doesn't change. For now I at least can get a small boat and learn to sail. Here lies the problem, being a large man and being disable to boot makes things difficult. I have two bad knees and a bad back plus other health issues that keeps me from doing allot of things I used to be able to do. My knees are a little better since the gel injections and will be even better once they do the knee replacement surgeries sometime late next year. Nothing they can do about my back yet do to insurance issues. I am 6'6" tall and weigh 275 lbs so I will need a boat that will handle someone my size, but small enough that it can be hauled on top of a vehicle or pulled on a small trailer behind a small car or 3 wheeled cycle. I have seen motorcycles pulling small trailers before so doing a small boat should be possible.

I want the boat to be stable enough for me to operate safely without too much trouble, be able to sail and also do a little fishing as well. It will need to be able to be beached ,have a place for a small trolling motor, as well as space for safety gear like a radio, depth finder, safety gear and emergency kit. It will also need to be able to go in fairly shallow water so I can also use it in the smaller lakes around here as well as the larger ones. Since I am on a fixed income it will need to be low cost if it is a ready built boat. I am very good at wood working and can still it just takes me longer to do now since I have to take breaks when the pain get to bad so building the boat is not out of the question plus I might be able to afford a better boat that way because I can buy the building supplies a little at a time as I go.

So what would be the best type of sailing boat to fit my needs? Oh it would need some type of shaded area where I could retreat to often due to one of the medications I have to take requires me not to have prolonged exposure to the sun which really sucks. Sorry this is so long but I wanted to get as much information in there so it helps with the answer.
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Old 04-08-2014, 15:11   #2
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

Welcome aboard, Broken-sailor,

There is an outfit called Sail-Ability that works with disabled youngsters, and which has standardized easy to sail sailboats. They are small, not something you'd spend the night on, but day-sailers. If you were to volunteer with such a program, perhaps they'd let you sail one of their boats to see whether you even like sailing.

With your history, I'd think a small dinghy with a bimini might work for you, so look at plans for trailerable sailing dinghies.

Finally, I'd suggest you lose some weight. The inserts in the titanium knee joints are only plastic, and impact wears them out, and the less you weigh, the longer they'll last. The recovery from the surgery, if you stick with the physical therapy, will have you with knees that work, just not as well as real ones, due to the loss of nerve connections from the primary incision. If you are at the stage where you cannot walk more than 10 min., you should start doing leg strengthening exercises before the surgery. BTDT. The physical work I did prior to the second surgery (to replace inserts) helped a whole lot with my readiness for the post surgery physical therapy.

Ann
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Old 04-08-2014, 15:25   #3
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

Hi,

I have worked for a guy in a wheel-chair who drove his own boats (power). I helped him re-build the smaller one (2x130 outboards) so that he could do everything by himself.

Both his boats were cats. I would go for a sailing cat too. There are not many small cats around though. Look at Prouts, see if you like them.

You may want a boat where:

- you can get in/out by yourself,
- will not sail turtle,
- has a layout so that you can run the boat yourself (or with a crew, if you want a crew).

A small keel day-boat can be easily laid out so that anybody can run them BUT they may be a bit (way bit) more complicated to get in and out if you have bad knees and/or if you are a big guy.

Look at Olympic classes for the impaired, see how they have been optimized. You will pick up some good ideas from them.

Have fun sailing,
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Old 04-08-2014, 15:52   #4
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

Since you've shown an interest to build your own to get what you want, I would recommend looking at boats designed by Phil bolger and friends. I think you'll find a design or few that fits your precise needs very well. I am thinking more in the sharpie family of sailing vessels.

They are mostly flat bottom, shallow draft and easy to build sail designs.
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Old 04-08-2014, 16:46   #5
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Welcome aboard, Broken-sailor,

There is an outfit called Sail-Ability that works with disabled youngsters, and which has standardized easy to sail sailboats. They are small, not something you'd spend the night on, but day-sailers. If you were to volunteer with such a program, perhaps they'd let you sail one of their boats to see whether you even like sailing.

With your history, I'd think a small dinghy with a bimini might work for you, so look at plans for trailerable sailing dinghies.

Finally, I'd suggest you lose some weight. The inserts in the titanium knee joints are only plastic, and impact wears them out, and the less you weigh, the longer they'll last. The recovery from the surgery, if you stick with the physical therapy, will have you with knees that work, just not as well as real ones, due to the loss of nerve connections from the primary incision. If you are at the stage where you cannot walk more than 10 min., you should start doing leg strengthening exercises before the surgery. BTDT. The physical work I did prior to the second surgery (to replace inserts) helped a whole lot with my readiness for the post surgery physical therapy.

Ann
The nearest Sail-Ability to me is about 650 miles away so that is a wash for now. I thought about a dinghy right off but have not been able to find the weight limit specs on any so far. There is a Yacht club that has a training class that is near my sisters house about 45 minutes to an hour from here that I am going to get more info on so my sister might end up with a house guest for a few days.

My knees are much better since the gel injections so they are not as much of a problem for me getting in and out of a boat. It is my back that gives me more problems than anything else. Scoliosis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Fibromyalgia and Herniated Disc all part of my back problems is what makes walking a pain. I have lost weight, 15 lbs in fact in the last month and plan on losing more I have been doing physical therapy in a heated 90 degree pool. I want to lose at least another 40 lbs but with the back problems and being non insulin dependent diabetic it makes it difficult but not impossible.
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Old 04-08-2014, 16:53   #6
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

Maybe something along the lines of a West Wight Potter - 15?
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Old 04-08-2014, 17:13   #7
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

I'm a person of size in a similar situation with some similar heath issues and income. I went with an alberg 30 that was under $10k, is the biggest boat you'll fit on a trailer and pull with a pickup. 6ft2inch head room but an extra couple of inches at the sink where you need it. Grab handles everywhere. Room in the head etc. Go small and go now my friend! :-)

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Old 04-08-2014, 17:21   #8
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

Some ideas may be found here:

http://www.disabledsailing.org/

Maybe you could find something like this used?
http://www.martin16.com/



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Old 04-08-2014, 19:54   #9
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

I would say you aren't so much disabled as limited in flexibility and strength (back issues)

One thing about sailboats is that the Loads - can almost always be overcome by mechanical advantage. Folks in their 70s and 80s can still sail.

The other thing is that you can usually do things slowly and with proper weather planning on closed waters there shouldn't be any herioics or drama.

Something like an Oday 22 might be suitable. It is easily trailerable. There are methods for stepping the mast using leverage and winches and it has most of the characteristics you are after.

Take a look at these vids and see if this is something you can handle. The first one you can see the guy struggles a bit with the winch - this can be overcome with a better block system on the front - which he admitted in the beginning.

The second one is a lot more common although it is a Potter. There are a ton of small boat mast raising vids.



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Old 04-08-2014, 20:02   #10
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelnik View Post
Maybe something along the lines of a West Wight Potter - 15?
After looking at this boat I think with an added bimini top over the pilot area it would be the closest to what I am needing. The only thing I still can't find on most of these boat is the weight limit specs. Anyone know where I can find the USCG weigh specs for these boats?
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Old 04-08-2014, 20:15   #11
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Broken-Sailor View Post
After looking at this boat I think with an added bimini top over the pilot area it would be the closest to what I am needing. The only thing I still can't find on most of these boat is the weight limit specs. Anyone know where I can find the USCG weigh specs for these boats?

Try here:
http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=4275



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Old 04-08-2014, 20:28   #12
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Broken-Sailor View Post
After looking at this boat I think with an added bimini top over the pilot area it would be the closest to what I am needing. The only thing I still can't find on most of these boat is the weight limit specs. Anyone know where I can find the USCG weigh specs for these boats?
To get an idea of boats here is a site that gives length and width.

WEST WIGHT POTTER 15 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

A simple rule of thumb for people capacity is

Length X Width / 15 = Capacity in persons

The average person is assumed to be 150 pounds - Rhode Island Boating License and Boat Safety Course - Capacity and Float Plans

This boat should be able to take

Length 15 X Width 5.5 / 15 - 5.5 people X 150 = 825 pounds of "all gear" - as a sailboat I would not push to that limit on any but the calmest days but at your size of 275 you can clearly take another ~200#er + some fishing gear and lunch in a cooler.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:44   #13
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

Great information all. Also Ex-Calif great videos that gave me some ideas. I even found a photo of a Potter set up with the top and the trolling motor too.

On a quick search I found a 15 about 235 miles from here for $4000.00 US. With a little time I might be able to find one even closer at an even better price.

Hopefully I can find one locally to get a closer look at the design features.
I really like the 19 better since it has more room and looks as if I could spend a few days or so living on it too if I was in the mind too.

If I still had access to the equipment I use to use when I worked special maintenance I'd find a good larger design and build a hull out of 316L stainless steel then add enough closed cell flotation to it to make it virtually unsinkable. I know it would be heavy and I would have to have to get our old Freightliner road worthy again to pull it but it would make a good hull for a blue water live-aboard with the right design. But all of that is a part is a dream since I'd never have that kind of money to build it.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:36   #14
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

There is a strong question here that most people hear a lot, "Do you want to build a boat or do you want to go sailing?

Many, many dreams end in the nightmare of boat building or boat repair.

Keep an eye on Craig's list - You should find a completely sailable boat that maybe needs some cosmetics well below $3000.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:05   #15
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Re: Smallish Sailboats For Large Disabled Man?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
There is a strong question here that most people hear a lot, "Do you want to build a boat or do you want to go sailing?

Many, many dreams end in the nightmare of boat building or boat repair.

Keep an eye on Craig's list - You should find a completely sailable boat that maybe needs some cosmetics well below $3000.
I'd rather have the money to buy whatever boat I want, but unless someone leaves my millions of dollars or I hit the lottery which I don't even play that is out of the question, so I'd just rather by sailing out on the water somewhere. Building a boat was an option if I couldn't find a boat that would serve my needs and that I could reasonably be able to save and buy. Building I could buy a little each month and work on it as long as I had the supplies on hand to build it. For now I am going to save money and find a good boat to learn in have some much needed fun. Once I have learned to sail and have enough money saved to by a bigger live aboard boat in good shape I'll sale the small boat and move onto the bigger boat while putting the money from the sale of the smaller boat into a emergency fund to be used if needed.

Buying a Potter boat I could always name the boat "The Hairy Potter" and paint a lightning bolt on the port side bow.
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