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The stability of the Weta provides easy sailing opportunities for less ables sailors and those with mobility issues while also being fast and exciting, unlike most boats aimed at those with mobility issues which are safe but dull.
Numerous older sailors have discovered or re-discovered the thrills of sailing a Weta, despite issues such as knee, back, joint and wrist problems.
The loads and movement required to rig, launch and sail a Weta are much easier than similar off-the beach dinghies or even larger yachts. The heaviest piece of equipment you have to lift are the floats resting on the trolley at waist level at 12Kg (to insert the arms in the main hull). The carbon mast only weighs 6Kg and a hinged mast step is available to ease raising and lowering it. The whole boat only weighs 120Kg fully rigged on the custom trolley.
Beach wheels with stainless steel bearings make it easy to launch and retrieve in soft sand.
With no boom to take your head off and a cockpit you can sit in, there’s no kneeling required during tacks and gybes. Also the dihedral angle of the float arms means that you can slide down the trampoline during the tack then push yourself out on the other side. And the new self-tacking jib and twin tiller kits make tacking and gybing really easy by freeing up your hands.
Paralympic Weta Sailors at the World Masters Games, Auckland, April 2017
Three Paralympic sailors finished in the top 20 of the 30-strong solo Weta class fleet which is a great achievement.
Level 4 Para sailors Chris Sharp and Andrew May with limited movement below the waist, had some modifications to the boat.
These included stainless steel back supports bolted to the tramp edges, which helps those with limited upper body strength, a transit bench across the cockpit to make it easier to slide across from one side to the other when tacking and taking the mainsheet forward to the front of the cockpit fed through a tube under a false floor.Here’s Chris Sharp’s test of the Weta
He and Andrew May also undertook solo capsize recovery testing
Neil Patterson 2.4 Paralympian
Neil Patterson in Melbourne, Australia undertook extensive testing of a Weta with few modifications apart from adding some foam pool noodles to the hiking straps to enable him to sit out more easily without sliding down the tramps.
Neil produced a report on his evaluation Neil Patterson – The Future of Para World Sailing
Sailability which provides sailing to the disabled in Cairns, Australia have been using a Weta with an able-bodied helm and disabled crew – see video here. This has been highly rewarding for all concerned compared with the very safe but dull sailing most of the disabled sailors have experienced previously.
No modifications have been made to the Weta and it has been used with up to two passengers.
Weta seat development
Mike Wood, of Weta UK is a disabled sailor who has developed a drop-in seat to enable him to sail his Weta.
Weta France has also been testing a seat with disabled passengers and able bodied crew.
WARNING: Due to safety concerns if a capsize should occur, Weta Marine do not endorse or encourage any SOLO centreline sailing using the drop-in seat. At least one member of the crew must be able bodied and able to effect a rescue in the event of a capsize.
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