Sunday, December 18, 2016

RS Venture Connect Keelboat

On Dec. 10th 2016 I was able to test sail an RS Venture Connect keelboat with side by side seats designed for those with disAbilities on San Diego Bay (CA. USA). This sailboat is 16'4” long overall, beam of 6'8”, hull weight 655 lbs with weighted keel. Sail area is 159 square feet with symmetrical or asymmetrical spinnaker options available. See Videos at the bottom of this article.

I was very impressed with the stability and performance
of this boat. On the day I sailed it the wind ranged from only about 2 knots, up to about 10 knot gusts. In the gusts I never felt like the boat was going to broach and found her very responsive at the helm. I found her speed
was impressive to keep up with any other monohulls on the water, from big keelboats to other small day sailors.

As for the strength of the boat I actually walked on the forward deck with little deck flexing. Overall this boat is very well built for years of sailing enjoyment. When stepping on or off the boat I found her very steady and stable, something those with balance issue will appreciate. To tell you the truth I found it nice to be able to step on and off the boat without excessive heeling or the feel that if you did step on the gunwale she might capsize. Again this boat is extremely stable.

The biggest benefit to this boat is its versatility. One can purchase the Sailability Pack that includes two side by side seats, with stick shift style steering, and control tower that includes the main sheet and jib block system and other control line features. This system can be installed or removed in just a few minutes. This boat can be sailed like any day-sailor and even includes a trapeze system for those that want to trap out. Put in the Sailability Pack and sail with your grandfather or mother, or someone with a disAbility that requires supportive seating. Having a boat that can do it all is a great cost effective benefit for any individual, family, or program.

Some might ask me... “OK Miles, you gave us the pros, now what are the cons?” To that question I say... like any sailboat there are always things that could be improved or added. I would like to see a kick up rudder system and Keel raising system that can be used while on the water.
The weighted dagger board style keel is retractable for trailering. Still I find the lack of the kick up rudder and keel not that big of an issue if you are already use to fixed keelboats. As for any other negatives I can tell you I tried to find some but none really showed.

Other advantages include a high boom height that allows you to keep your head up during a jibe or tack, unless you are quite tall. Rigging is so easy as the mast only weights 00 lbs and all other parts are simple and easy to get to.

For sailing programs this boat is a win win as all ages can enjoy this boat, from the very young to the very old... as well as with people of varying abilities. This is great for any program with the desire to be truly inclusive.

RS Venture Connect keelboat 
- Length: 16.4 ft
- Beam: 6.8 ft
- Draft: 3.2 ft
- Draft Keel raised: 10”
- Mast Length: 20 ft
- Unladen hull and heel weight: 655 lb
- Mainsail: 118sqft reefs to 98sq ft
- Jib: 41sq ft
- Spinnaker (optional): Asymmetric 150sq ft; Symmetric: 113sq ft
- Self righting 264lb keel with lead bulb
- 1200 capacity max (that's a lot of weight for this size boat)
- Self draining cockpit - transom drain tubes quickly clear spray and rainwater
- Non-slip grip surfaces throughout the entire cockpit
- Can be stored afloat on a mooring
- Easy keel lifting via keel hoist for convenient launching and transport ashore
- Very durable composite GRP hull and skin construction with 3mm core mat for high durabilit-
   Optional Sailablity Pack includes side-by-side seats, stick steering system, control tower, etc.
- Optional aluminum keelband on hull bilge rails - protection when grounding - minimum maintenance
- Optional spinnaker pack (asymmetric or symmetric) to add speed and fun factor

For more info about this boat contact me at or call 208-704-4454.

US Sailing Adaptive Sailing Summit Results

Hello fellow sailing enthusiasts...

As some of you know on Dec. 9th I attended US Sailing's
Adaptive Sailing Summit in San Diego, CA. USA . It was fabulous to mingle with so many who share my passion to help make sailing more inclusive. The goal of this summit was to determine what would help to grow the sport of Adaptive Sailing and make it more inclusive.

The results of the open discussion during this conference were quite revealing... We determined 5 things are needed to help with our goal of making sailing more inclusive.

1. We need to have an easy way to find resources that are currently available, such as adaptive equipment currently in production, sailboats that are being used in various inclusive programs, etc.; 2. The US Sailing website needs to be made easy to navigate to find Adaptive/Inclusive Sailing info; 3. Develop best practices and standards for Adaptive Sailing via education; 4. Improve understanding and support in our local communities and yacht clubs for persons with disAbilities in sailing; 5. A network needs to be built and maintained to keep us all connected in our efforts to build participation in all aspects of the sport. It does no good to have this great summit and then go home and not stay connected.

Another discussion I found interesting was the question... “is there a better term to express what we are trying to accomplish in the sport of sailing?” Some call it “accessible” sailing; others call it “adaptive” sailing; and still others call it “inclusive” or “universal” sailing (basically inclusive and universal mean the same thing). Adaptive is a good word but it implies that something has to be adapted to make a particular boat accessible to persons with disAbilities, however many persons with disAbilities can sail a boat with no adaptions at all. The word accessible implies that something is able to be reached or entered, such as entering or getting aboard a sailboat, or accessing the outdoors via an accessible trail, etc. This word/term certainly fits the goal of making a boat accessible in and of its self, but what we want to do is go beyond the boat and include the programming, education, web resources, etc. The word “inclusion” and/or “universal” seems to be the words to cover it all as these words imply including or covering all the services, people, facilities, equipment, or items normally expected or required. I have to add that Inclusive in this modern era does imply an inclusion of persons with varied identities and political sensitivities. So likely a more neutral term is universal. And I might add some yacht clubs will love the word inclusive and others might be cautious of utilizing an idea or program that includes this word. So Universal seems to make more sense.

This summit takes place each year and I can tell you I look forward to attending it next year and discussing all that we accomplished in 2017.

So what is Access To Outdoors going to do for 2017? First, as usual we have several access projects developing. We hope to have a fully accessible site on Lake Coeur d'Alene and the Spokane River, and continue to work current sites to improve their accessibility. In addition we may be running an inclusive sailing event in Redding California. One part of this event will be the Hobie 16 Trapseat Worlds and the second part will be an Inclusive Sailing Workshop to help persons become Adaptive US Sailing certified. So exciting! 2017 is going to be AWESOME! Please stay tuned and check the calendar for more information about what ATO will accomplish in 2017.

Fair winds,

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

US Sailing Adaptive Sailing Summit

This Dec. 9th from 9-5PM in San Diego there will be a US Sailing Adaptive Sailing Summit to address the needs of disAbled sailors and improve the sport of Accessible/Adaptive Sailing nationally. To attend contact Cindy Walker at Main: (401) 683-0800 Direct: (401) 683-0800

I (Miles Moore) will be there primarily promoting the sport of Accessible/Adaptive Hobie Sailing.