Sonar (keelboat)

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Current Specifications
File:Sonar (keelboat).svg
Class Symbol
Crew 3 or 4
LOA 7 m (23 ft)
LWL 6.1 m (20 ft)
Beam 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in)
Draft 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in)
Hull weight 950 kg (2,100 lb)
Main & Jib area 23.2 m2 (250 sq ft)
Spinnaker area 22.8 m2 (245 sq ft)
Paralympics Class
File:Sonar start.jpg
A Sonar start

The Sonar is a 7 m (23 ft) one-design keelboat for three to five people.

The boat is 7 m long. It has a beam (width) of 2.4 m and draft (depth) of 1.2 m. It weighs 950 kg, of which 408 kg is ballast, with a sail area of 23.2 m² plus a 22.8 m² spinnaker. It is bermuda-rigged, with a large mainsail and a 100% jib. The Sonar is usually crewed by four.

The Sonar has been a Paralympic class since 2000. When being sailed by disabled it is crewed by 3, and sailed without a spinnaker. Instead, when running downwind a whisker pole is used to hold the jib out to windward for maximum exposed sail area. The Sonar is well suited for handicapped sailing because of its large cockpit making adaptations easy.

The Sonar was designed in 1979 by Bruce Kirby, designer of the popular Laser dinghy. Since then, over 700 boats have been built. Most of the fleet is in the USA, with smaller fleets in Britain and Canada. Since its adoption as a Paralympic class the Sonar has spread to many other countries as well.

The Sonar was inducted into the American Sailboat Hall of Fame in 2004.


It started when Bruce Kirby's home club (Noroton Yacht Club, Darien, CT USA) couldn't find the right boat to get their members involved in club racing; fewer and fewer of its members were participating.

They studied a great many existing classes of boats but all were considered too expensive, too slow, too demanding to sail, or just plain uncomfortable. So Bruce was asked to design a new boat specifically to meet the requirements of a club racing one-design keelboat fleet.

It had to be exciting to race, but easy to handle by sailors of all ages, strengths and skill levels. It had to be a really good day sailor, spacious and comfortable to sit in all day long. It had to be trailerable, plus easy to launch for wet or dry sailing. Plus a safe, well behaved training boat to help teach new sailors how to sail and have fun doing it. Finally, it had to have a good but uncomplicated set of class rules.

The result was the Sonar. The Noroton Yacht Club got every thing they wanted and more. And the Sonar has been greeted with enthusiasm by individuals and clubs all over the world.

Reigning Champions


The 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece

Medal Skipper Crew
Gold File:Flag of Israel.svg Dror Cohen (ISR) Arnon Efrati, Benni Vexler
Silver Flag of the Netherlands.svg Udo Hessels (NED) Marcel van de Veen, Mischa Rossen, Annette Ten Dam
Bronze Flag of the United States.svg John Ross Duggan (USA) Jean Paul Creignou, Bradley Johnson, Roger Cleworth Jr



The 2007 World Championship in Marblehead, USA

Medal Skipper Crew
Gold Flag of the United States.svg Bill Lynn (USA) Ed Keller, Chris Hufstader, Doug Sabin
Silver Flag of the United States.svg Greg Anthony (USA) Mike Rush, PJ Schaffer, Henry Filter
Bronze Flag of the United States.svg Rick Dominique (USA)


The 2007 World Championship in Rochester, USA

Medal Skipper Crew
Gold Flag of the United States.svg Rick Doerr (USA) Tim Angle, Bill Donahue
Silver Flag of the United States.svg Paul Callahan (USA) Tom Brown, Roger Cleworth
Bronze File:Flag of Germany.svg Jens Kroker (GER) Tobias Schuetz, Sigi Mainka


"The Sonar may well be the best boat I've ever designed." - Bruce Kirby -

External links

de:Sonar (Bootsklasse) fr:Sonar (bateau)