Infobox Sailboat Specifications

class_symbol =

numberofcrew = Two
loa = 5.8 m (19 ft)
lwl = 5.5 m (18 ft)
beam = 2.29 m (18 ft)
draft = 1.7 m (5 ft 58 in)
hull = 165 kg
keel = 165 kg
mast (above deck) = 6.83 m (24 ft)
mainsail = 10.5 m² (114.53 ft²)
jib = 5 m² (51.45 ft²)
spinnaker = 20 m² (223.67 ft²)asymetric, bowsprit attachment
portsmouth = 1000

Paralympic Class

The SKUD 18, a lead-assisted skiff with a tube-launched asymmetrical spinnaker and a modern high performance stayed rig, debuted in Qingdao, China during the 2008 Paralympics. Eleven nations competed on the 2-person keelboat, namely host country China, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Portugal, Sweden, USA.

An exciting addition to World and Paralympic Competition, allowing both able-bodied and disabled athletes alike to enjoy this keelboat - and more severely disabled sailors will welcome the ability to compete on an equitable level.

Adaptations for severely disabled people

Servo motors sailboats are generally used to allow people with mobility problems to enjoy the freedom and independence of sailing by themselves, sailing solo, something that many don’t achieve in any other aspect of their lives.

"“The purpose of servo systems is to allow the more severely disabled people to sail and to level up the playing field”", says Chris Mitchell who developed servo assist systems for the SKUD 18. On two-person boats like the SKUD 18, the helmsperson may be a severely disabled sailor (SDS) so needs servo assisted steering, while the crew would generally control the sheets. But it is achievable to have a full servo system so that the SDS helmsperson can adjust sheets and other controls like cunningham and outhaul as well.

Access Sailing Systems servo assist equipment can easily be converted for manual use by disengaging the steering winch clutch and winding out all but a few inches of sheet and then hauling in the sheets by hand. On the SKUD 18, sheets are double ended and can be readily adjusted in either mode.


Selected in 2005 as the boat for two-person Paralympic competition in Beijing, the SKUD 18 is a strict one design class. Sailors are seated on the centerline for Paralympic events, but the boat can be sailed with or without either of the seats and configured to suit different sailors’ needs. Perfect for training younger sailors before they move into high performance skiffs or dinghies, the SKUD18 is also ideal for those not-so-young sailors who cannot hike like they used to but still want the excitement of high performance racing.


The SKUD 18 is a result of collaboration between Chris Mitchell of Access Sailing and Julian Bethwaite of Bethwaite Design, both in Australia, along with Argentinean naval architect Martin Billoch. By combining Mitchell's unique experience and ideology of ‘sailing for everyone’ with 20 years of Bethwaite research and technology, the result is an innovative lead assisted skiff (LAS), the SKUD 18.

Bethwaite, who also designed the Olympic class 49er skiff explained, "“The design evolved as e a 5.8m LAS, capable of carrying weight whilst maintaining a high level of performance and control. Cost has been kept low, is easy to stack and containerize, requires simple maintenance and offers ease of use. The boat will be a challenge for able-bodied and disabled sailors alike. The SKUD 18 has been designed from a performance basis to offer scintillating, crisp and snappy response to sailors regardless of their mobility.”"

Mitchell, designer of a range of accessible sailcraft continued, "“The SKUD 18 is very versatile and can be handled by a variety of crew configurations. The helmsperson can transfer manually and be steering with tillers, or be in a fixed seat on the centreline using a manual joystick, push/pull rods, or a servo assist joystick with full control of all functions. The forward crew can either be seated on the centreline, transferring manually, or on trapeze. As the name reflects, the SKUD 18 is a SKiff of Universal Design and can be sailed for fun or serouscompetition by people of all levels of physical ability.”"

Reigning Champions


The 2008 Paralympic Games, Beijing, China. Sailing was held in Qingdao, Shandong province, China. In the 2-person keelboat event, all three of the medal-winning teams were composed of one man and one woman. McKinnon Tucker was the first woman ever to represent the United States at the Paralympics, likewise the first woman ever to win a Paralympic sailing medal. "I'm very pleased to be the first woman ever to win a gold medal in Paralympic sailing." Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (USA), Rachael Cox (AUS) and Stacie Louttit (CAN) are the first 3 women who've won Paralympic medals in sailing. [cite web |title=Two-Person Keelboat (SKUD18): US claims gold |date=2008-09-13 |publisher=The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad |url= |accessdate=2008-09-19]


The SKUD 18 is built by Extreme Sailing Products in Batam, Indonesia for Bethwaite Design. Run by two Australian boatbuilders, Tim Ross and Paul Paterson, XSP also produce the 49er, 29er, Tasar, Byte, 420, Optimist and a number of other classes. XSP were selected for their consistent high standards of workmanship and their efficient distribution location via Singapore.


* cite web
title = Schedules and Results - Sailing
publisher = The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
url =
accessdate = 2008-09-19

* [ SKUD Class Page]
* [ SKUD Class Rules] "
* [ 2008 Paralympic Qualification country list - SKUD]

External links

* [ 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition, Qingdao]
* [ SKUDs in action, Qingdao]
* [ SKUD Media release]
* [ SKUD Specs]
* [ IFDS/ Internatinal Association for Disabled Sailing]
* [ ISAF/ Internatinal Sailing Federation]

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