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29 January 2002, 11:22 am
Browne Plans To Make Round The World Trip
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First Catamaran Designed For Disabled Sailors
London

The first-ever catamaran specifically designed for a disabled sailor could hit the water as early as next to July, according to the BBC News.

The Impossible Dream will be operated single-handedly by Mike Browne who plans to sail it around the world.

Confined to a wheelchair since breaking his back in a skiing accident eight years ago, the 53-year-old Browne, who sailed for the UK in the Sydney Paralympics, said this unique catamaran would be owned and used by a charity he set up, Sporting Activities for the Disabled.

"This is an opportunity to open a few eyes, especially to any people with disabilities who have given up on doing anything interesting or exciting in life. It is about enjoying life on the sea and proving that anybody can sail," said Browne. "There is no reason technically why, as a wheelchair user, I can't be the skipper," he added. Boats have been adapted for disabled people before, but there has never been a yacht designed from scratch to do this job."

Work is well under way on the carbon-fiber boat at Multimarine's yard in Cornwall, Great Britain, and the plan is to finish in time for a launch next July. The 58-foot catamaran, designed by Nic Bailey, is expected to cost more than $1 million. "It is an enormous challenge and I haven't done anything quite like this before," said Bailey. Every part has had to be designed from scratch so it is quite tricky. We have had to think about how Mike can do things that an able-bodied person takes for granted."

The catamaran will have a "racetrack" running around the perimeter to accommodate a wheelchair, hydraulic systems to control the sails, and lifts to give access to the cabins and dockside. In addition, the wheelchair will lock onto a small chassis mounted on a track so it can move across the cockpit but can still be controlled in bad weather.
www.news.bbc.co.uk/News Editor
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