But the tricky part was to make it look normal.
SABBEX caught up with Vision Yachts MD James Turner who launches an innovative new Vision 444 model later this week
SABBEX: How did the current ‘special needs’ Vision 444 project come about?
JT: Through Vision Yachts USA – Tommy Smith.
SABBEX: Is it within the usual size range of your normal boat specs or did this involve a total redesign?
JT: The brief was simple: we had to build our boat to meet the client’s needs but it must not look like a ‘special needs’ boat – which was the challenging part, but exciting – it opened our eyes to new ways to approach design.
SABBEX: Regarding the special needs aspect, how big an undertaking is it to remodel a conventional boat to one that is disabled-friendly?
JT: It was challenging to understand all the aspects and the physical limitations, we actually physically drew our client in Rhino and this allowed us to put him in the model with his chair.
SABBEX: What were the biggest challenges in terms of changing the layout / design?
JT: Accommodating the wheelchair through cabin doors, transferring from seats to the chair, and being able to sail his own boat from three positions.
SABBEX: Were there any specific requests or was it quite a broad brief?
JT: A bit of both and driven by passion to take on the challenge. When you see the boat it simply does just look like a normal boat.
SABBEX: Having worked on this project, do you think there could be broader interest in this kind of design, ie for other special needs sailors?
JT: I think the special needs market is very small but what it does mean, is that if you have a friend or and family member they will be able to come sailing with you and be comfortable. 90% of the changes we have done through this process will become standard on all our Vision 444’s.
SABBEX: Were you informed by previous designs in this regard? Presumably there is a bit of industry in this kind of boat? Or not really?
JT: Not really. There are one or two but that is it, and they are 100% special needs boats.
SABBEX: How far advanced is the project and when are you expecting to launch?
JT: We are launching this week.
SABBEX: Vision Yachts and offshore marketing. You recently appointed agents in Europe. How is that going?
JT: We are making good progress and will go live shortly within the next couple of weeks
SABBEX: Any other exciting projects up your sleeve?
JT: Just more Vision 444’s. Our focus is now to get production up to full capacity and streamlined before we venture into anything new.