|Freedom Independence 20
||Fin; 900 lbs
||230 sq. ft.
||1 to 3 people
The Freedom Independence 20 was designed by Gary Mull, a noted naval architect and designer of the Freedom Yachts fleet, (which includes the Freedom 28, 30 and 36).
The Freedom 20 is designed specifically for mobility-impaired sailors and features two chairs, counterbalanced below-decks, which pivot from one side of the boat to the other for tacking and jibing. The boats also have a 900-pound fin keel, which makes them exceptionally stable. The sails consist of a fully-battened mainsail and a club-footed jib (a jib with a boom).
CRAB operates a fleet of four Freedom Independence 20s: Fiddler, Blue, Hermit, and Steamed.
Boarding our Fleet
Some individuals with physical disabilities will need assistance to transfer into and out of a boat. There are a variety of ways to do so, including use of mechanical lifts, transfer boarding benches, and personal assistance. In all cases, the boat is securely attached to the dock for safety.
Paraplegics are routinely able to sail the Freedom 20 boats once they’ve been assisted aboard. CRAB staff and volunteers assist guests on and off of the boat. That’s where those open and broad decks come in handy. Additionally we use floating docks and tie the boats up very tight when boarding or disembarking so the height of the boat’s sides don’t vary and the boat doesn’t move very much. We also have a special seat to board guests who are not ambulatory. It’s a metal box with a hinged extension that unfolds and can be positioned like a ramp into the boat. There are stainless steel hand guards on the side. Someone in a wheelchair can park it next to the seat and with assistance or without, shift themselves over to the seat. They then slide down the ramp (not at all steep) until they are next to the boat seat. There they shift again into the seat. We always have people there to assist as necessary with the process. And it is reversed for disembarking.
In addition to the transfer box, CRAB has a hydraulic lift that is used to lift a person from their wheelchair in a hammock-like sling. The sling is raised by a hydraulic pump and then the arm of the lift is swung over the boat's cockpit seats and lowered to allow a person to safely and comfortably board the boat.
Altogether two people with disabilities can manage every aspect of sailing the boat. For safety, CRAB always provides a skipper and if necessary additional crew to ensure a safe and enjoyable sailing experience.