EUGENE, Ore. - A different group of sailors hit the water at Fern Ridge Reservoir on Friday afternoon.
World Wheelchair Sports invited sailors with disabilities out for a special ride on the Quadzilla, a boat designed for people with mobility impairment.
Eugene sailors recently raised enough funds to equip the boat with a joy stick operated power steering system. The new component allows quadriplegics and other disabled sailors to steer the boat similar to a power wheelchair.
“We’re showing them how easy it is to get back on the water,” said Kevin Hansen, the executive director of World Wheelchair Sports.
Hansen sailed before he broke his neck in a skiing accident.
He said specially designed boats for sailors with mobility impairment made it possible for him to back on the water again.
“The joy stick has done wonders for my life,” Hansen said. “We can control the lines from the cockpit without having to go forward on the bow.”
Hansen said that now he is glad to help other disabled boaters get back on the water.
“That's what today is all about,” Hansen said. “Folks who think they can't do stuff but they can. If I can do it, anybody can do it.”
More than two dozen people came out for a ride on the Quadzilla. Currently there are only 300 of these types of boats in the country.
For more information on World Wheelchair Sports go their website at www.worldwheelchairsports.com.