Disabled Sailing Association. Wind, Water, Freedom, Fun, People!Image: Close-up of Martin 16 equipment
• Martin 16
• Sip "n" Puff
• SAMsuits
• Hoist
• 'The Annie'
Back I Top I Home

The Martin 16 Sailboat


The Disabled Sailing Association of BC's (DSA) was born when in 1988 Rick Hansen presented Sam Sullivan with a British Sunbird that he had received from then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The Sunbird was a great success and provided DSA with many years of service. The Sunbird, however, was an aging design, and even though the addition of a Sip 'n' Puff control system made it more accessible to tetraplegics, its performance was negatively affected, and it seized to be a competitive sailboat. This prompted DSA to turn to world renowned yacht designer and manufacturer Don Martin of Richmond. The joint effort resulted in the Martin 16, the first boat in the world to make the needs of tetraplegics an integral part of it design.

Click images for larger view >

Image: Sideview drawing of Martin 16 sailboat.Image: Topview drawing of Martin 16 sailboat.

The Martin 16 is a breakthrough in small boat design. The weighted keel makes it a very safe boat for people with severe disabilities. The high lift keel makes the boat very stable, trailer launching is simple and the boat can be easily rigged by one person.

The inherent stability of the boat, along with the adjustable seating and specialized control systems make the Martin 16 truly accessible to all physically challenged sailors. It is also a lively performance boat for able bodied sailors; this promotes DSA's goal of integrated sailing for recreation and competition.

"Facilitator, innovator, supporter, promoter, Steve's passion has had a profound impact on many lives," Sam said.

Take a look at the Martin 16 website for technical information about this remarkable boat.

A Perfect Daysailer

The Martin 16 is perfect for solo day sail. It is easily managed by one person with any level of physical ability, yet its sprightly performance will thrill even the most experienced sailors. The boat can easily placed on a trailer, and it can be rigged and ready to go in minutes. The low draft makes for simple ramp launching and the ballasted drop keel makes it impossible to capsize. Sail trimming has been combined to one line, making it simple and easy.

A Racing Boat

The Martin 16 is a no compromise one-design high performance sloop. The narrow, easily-driven hull provides impressive performance and excellent responsiveness. The Martin 16 is the most accessible one-design; tetraplegics using the sip and puff options can race competitively.

An Accessible Keelboat

From its inception the Martin 16 was designed to be accessible to all sailors with mobility impairments-without specialized adaptation. Stability, adjustable seating and specialized control systems make it sailable by sailors with any level of physical ability. The Martin 16 offers optional automated systems for steering, sail sheeting and bilge pumping.

A Program Boat

The inherent stability of the boat, combined with the simplicity of use makes for an ideal program boat. A 'rumble' seat can accommodate an instructor, caregiver, spouse or parent. It is safe; it will stay afloat even when totally flooded.

Martin 16 Specifications
Length overall: 16'0" 4.90M
Beam: 4'4" 1.21M
Draft, keel up: 1'4" 0.40M
Draft, keel down: 3'4" 1.0M
Displacement: 730lbs 318kg
Ballast: 330lbs 136kg
Sail area: 100sq ft 9.50sqM
Mast height: 20' 6.15M
Crew: 1-2 persons


Praise for the Martin 16

"Designer Don Martin has brought a lot of fresh thinking to the scene, and this boat deserves attention as a way to get more people sailing."

- Gary Hoyt, Naval Architect

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"The Martin 16 is the direction for boats of the future . . . she's safe and easy to sail, any beginner can do it. For competition, the Martin 16 is beautifully rigged. Skipper sits forward and can see the sails. An excellent tactical one-design."

- Hans Fogh, Two-time Canadian Olympic medallist

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"A stroke of genius; one line adjusts two sails. The Martin 16 reduces sail training to a simple form . . . yet allows the competitive sailor a real one-design opportunity where weight or age is not a factor."

- Robbie Pierce, World Disabled Champion & 1996 Atlanta Paralympic USA captain