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Current Specifications
File:SKUD contour.png
Class Symbol
Crew 2
1 Class 1 disabled sailor
1 female
LOA 5.8 m (19 ft)
LWL 5.5 m (18 ft)
Beam 2.29 m (7 ft 6 in)
Draft 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)
Hull weight ~ 400 kg (880 lb)
165 kg (360 lb) (keel)
Mainsail area 10.5 m2 (113 sq ft)
Jib / Genoa area 5 m2 (54 sq ft)
Spinnaker area 20 m2 (220 sq ft) (Asymmetric)
RYA PN 1000
Infobox last updated: 2008
Paralympics Class

The SKUD 18 is a class of racing sailing boat.[1] It is a lead-assisted skiff with a tube-launched asymmetrical and a modern high performance stayed rig. The class debuted in Qingdao, China during the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games. Eleven nations competed on the 2-person keelboat, namely host country China, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Portugal, Sweden, and the United States.

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

The SKUD is the flagship of the International Access Class Association which has four member classes:

These 4 classes are all elegant examples of Universal Design and provide a pathway, within the mainstream, for entry level sailors right through to elite competition.

Upcoming SKUD 18 competitions

Paralympic games

2012 London Paralympic Games GBR
Venues: Weymouth and Portland Harbour
Dates: Friday, 31 August – Wednesday, 5 September

Keelboats selected for use at the future Paralympic Sailing Competitions:[2]
The Two-Person Keelboat – SKUD18 is approved for the 2012 Paralympic Sailing Competition. Commencing 2010, the SKUD will be evaluated for the 2016 and 2020 Paralympic Sailing Competitions.

Single and Three-Person Keelboat – Both the 2.4mR and Sonar will be evaluated in 2007, 2008 for the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competitions.

Future SKUD events

Access World Championships & International Events

Year Date Class Event Location Country Website
2009 Aug 23 - 27 2.4mr, SKUD 18, Sonar 2009 C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Sail Newport, Rhode Island USA [1]
2010 Jun 6 - 11 Access 2.3, 303, Liberty, SKUD 18 2010 Combined Access Class World Championships Rutland Sailing Club, English Midlands GBR [2]
2012 TBA Access 2.3, 303, Liberty, SKUD 18 2012 Combined Access Class World Championships Asia Pacific TBA [3]


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 in the 2008 Paralympics [3]

With its debut in the 2008 Paralympics, this was the first of the 3 keelboat classes to use a spinnaker, as well as the first Paralympic class to specify a severely disabled sailor and a female in the crew, with both sailors secured (with quick release)[4] to their centerline seats for safety purposes. With its 140kg bulb and 1.7m draft, the 2-person SKUD 18, even with both crew on the centerline, has exceptional stability and is fail safe. Important considerations in being fail safe with a Severely Disabled Sailor (SDS) aboard in the worst situation, ie, where the boat is broached/ lying on its side in wild conditions:

  • SDS need to be strapped into a seat for body support.
  • Their head must remain clear of the water even if all systems fail.
  • Considerable buoyancy required under the side decks, considering that the sailor could be strapped into a leeward canted seat.
  • There is escalating potential for danger if the sailor is in a sliding or transversely mobile seat, either manual or servo powered.
  • Further, as high level quadriplegics are generally restricted to helming and its considerably less complex to organise steering for a centreline seated quad, a fail safe seat for a quad should therefore be fixed on the centerline.
  • The forward crew for 2008 Paralympics were also restricted to a centerline seat for same reasons. However this is not the ideal format for the boat, though it does allow those with limited mobility to attend to the other primary function of rig adjustments.

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. USA SKUD skipper Nick Scandone, the weakest sailor of the SKUD fleet, won the gold with paraplegic crew Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, proving sailors with severe disabilities can compete on a level playing field. McKinnon Tucker was the first woman ever to represent the United States at the Paralympics, likewise,

"I'm very pleased to be the first woman ever to win a gold medal in Paralympic sailing."

- Maureen McKinnon-Tucker

Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (USA), Rachael Cox (AUS) and Stacie Louttit (CAN) are the first 3 women who've won Paralympic medals in sailing.[5] Sailing competition athletes and full results. [6]

Medal SKUD Skipper Crew
Gold Flag of the United States.svg Nick Scandone (USA) Maureen McKinnon-Tucker
Silver Flag of Australia.svg Dan Fitzgibbon (AUS) Rachael Cox
Bronze Flag of Canada.svg John McRoberts (CAN) Stacie Louttit

IFDS World Championships

Qualifying events for the 2-person keelboat (SKUD) in the 2008 Paralympic Games. Eleven countries qualified.[7]


2008 IFDS Two-Person Keelboat World Championship [4], Changi, Singapore.
The second and final Paralympic qualifying event for the SKUD class. Held at the SAF Yacht Club, from 23 - 27 March 2008. The final 4 countries qualified: Ireland, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.

Medal SKUD Skipper Crew
Gold File:Flag of Singapore.svg Jovin Tan (SIN) Desiree Lim
Silver File:Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Jia Hai Liang (CHN) Yu Huawu
Bronze File:Flag of Portugal.svg Bento Amaral (POR) Luisa Silvano

2007 IFDS World Championship [5], Rochester, NY, USA.
Held from 7-15 September, 2007 by the Rochester Yacht Club, this was the first Paralympic qualifying event for the SKUD and included the 2.4mR and Sonar classes. In the SKUD class, the first 6 countries qualified: Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Portugal and the United States. China as Paralympic host country automatically qualified for 1 slot.

Medal SKUD Skipper Crew
Gold Flag of the United States.svg Karen Mitchell (USA) JP Creignou
Silver Flag of the United States.svg Nick Scandone (USA) Maureen McKinnon-Tucker
Bronze Flag of Sweden.svg Carl-Gustaf Fresk (SWE) Annika Lindgren


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 Argentine 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.

“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.” - Julian Bethwaite, designer of the Olympic class 49er skiff

“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 serous competition by people of all levels of physical ability.” - Chris Mitchell, designer of a range of accessible sailcraft

Universal Design

Universal Design is related to "inclusive design", "design for all" and “accessible design”. Universal Design differs from accessible design as accessible design means products and buildings that are accessible and usable by people with disabilities. Universal design means products and buildings that are accessible and usable by everyone -- older people as well as young, women as well as men, left handed persons as well as right handed persons. It acknowledges disability, aging, and other differences as a part of everyday life.[8] SKUD 2P in Paralympic format.

Adaptations for severely disabled people

“The purpose of servo systems is to allow the more severely disabled people to sail and to level up the playing field.” - Chris Mitchell, SKUD 18 servo assist system developer

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. 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 the cunningham (sailing) 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.

SKUD Manufacturers

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.

In Europe, SKUDs and the Access class boats are manufactured by Steve Sawford Marine (SSM Ltd).


External links

fr:SKUD 18