The International Trapseat Class is a not for profit organization that promotes accessible Trapseat racing and recreational catamaran sailing class utilizing the Hobie 16 catamarans outfitted with adaptive hammock style wing seats called Trapseats, which allow those with and without disAbilities to sail a catamaran. Mike Strahle of Redding California designed the Trapseats in 1984 after a skiing accident that resulted in acquiring spinal cord injury.
Our program has two primary goals... 1. To help proliferate Trapseats throughout the world so that persons with disAbilities can sail on equal terms (as possible) with those without disAbilities. 2. To ensure the International Trapseat Cup regatta takes place every 2 years with associated educational accessible sailing clinic.
To join the class contact us via email at email@example.com with the subject of Trapseat.
WHAT ARE TRAPSEATS
Trapseats are hammock like wing seats that attach to either side of a Hobie 16 catamaran sailboat allowing those with disAbilities, particularly those with spinal cord injuries, or those with mobility limitation, and/or lack of trunk support to sail a Hobie 16/multihull. The Trapseats have gone through 3 changes: 1. The original Trapseats were more upright with seat supports that braced against the decks of each hull. These deck top braces create a lot of spray when the leeward hull was sinking into the water, which is a problem when sailing from the lee Trapseat; 2. The Trapseats were given a major redesign where the deck top braces were moved and now connect to the side rails of the trampoline frame, plus the seats were raised a little and reinforced. Also these new Trapseats allow crew to trapeze off them; 3. Removable upper and lower tubes to allow the Trapseats to be broken down for ease of shipping. If you would like to purchase a set of Trapseats please contact Miles Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject of Trapseat Purchase. All money from your purchase 100% stays with our non-profit to build more Trapseats, support our regattas, etc.
ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL TRAPSEAT CUP
The annual International Trapseat Cup takes place every 2 year at various locations throughout the world. Currently the regatta is primarily held in the US and Canada.
Click here for NOR. To sign up for the regatta and get more info please email Miles Moore at email@example.com with subject of Trapseat Cup.
WHY THE HOBIE 16
Some have asked why chose the Hobie 16 (H16) over other multihulls. First the H16 is the largest one-design multihull class in the world. The H16 is also the most available multihull sailboat in the world, one can find H16's in richest to the poorest of nations economically. One can purchase a new H16 or used ones for next to nothing, which is a huge benefit to individuals or programs on limited budgets. The design makes attaching wing seats easy due to the raised trampoline, which also allows an adaptive wing seat like the Trapseats to sit high above the water even on the lee side of the boat. In addition the H16 is fun to sail, is fast, and easy to maintain.
Multihulls like the Hobie Wave and Getaway not recognized racing classes, are heavy with no guarantee of weights between boats (weights can very), and these boats are not one-design classes, which means the manufacture can change the design anytime (as they did with the Getaway in 2017). When the lee hull digs in the deck is only a few inches above the water, or at times is underwater creating the need to make a hammock like seat that must sit higher above the deck... this can create safety issues, such as when capsizing the person in the seat can be launched and fall out of the seat creating potential for injury. The Trapseats on the H16 have show to be safe allowing a person to slide down the tramp into the water.
These are but a few of the advantages of the Trapseats being used on a Hobie 16 versus on other multihulls.
HOW THE TRAPSEATS CAME TO BE
Article originally written by Sports N Spokes in 2012
Mike Strahle story and how the Trapseats came to be.
In 1984 Mike Strahle broke his neck in a skiing accident at Squaw Valley USA. Which left him with C5 quadriplegia. This with this disAbility he can not move his arms to feed himself, no hand grip in his hands, basically no control from his shoulders down his body.
In 1984, Mike Strahle purchased a Hobie 16 catamaran, his first sailboat. Whiskeytown Lake near Redding, Calif., He broke his neck the next winter while snow skiing at Squaw Valley USA. The accident left him with C5 quadriplegia. Now severely disabled, he could not move from the shoulders down, had no grip in his hands, and couldn’t even lift his arm high enough to feed himself using an adaptive fork/spoon holder.
Strahle struggled to accept his new life. One morning during his months of hospitalization, his occupational therapist was trying to help him find a way to feed himself, but his first bite fell on his shirt. This was a turning point in Strahle’s life, as he became upset and left the cafeteria. On the way outside in his power wheelchair, he noticed a fellow quadriplegic being fed breakfast by his mother. Strahle sat outside in the sun and thought about what just happened. “Instead of feeling sorry for myself, all I could think about was Tim, the other quad,” Strahle recalls. “He was only 18 and was completely paralyzed. He could not feed himself, ever, and could not even breathe without a diaphragm belt. I felt like such a jerk! I also realized how lucky I was.”
The next morning, a therapist had ideas to help Strahle lighten his arm so he could feed himself. Strahle had other ideas, though, and said, “I don’t think I need any help.” In reality, he needed to try a little harder. His first bite was a bull’s-eye, and he’s been feeding himself ever since.
Sails glide across a picturesque lake in Redding, Calif. Photo courtesy Redding Yacht Club. “I was eager to see what else I could do,” Strahle says. “I not only accepted my new existence but also decided to have as much fun as possible. I also planned to return to the ski slopes, and especially, get back on my sailboat on Whiskeytown Lake. In fact, the very day after returning home from the hospital, I went sailing. With help from family and friends, I was flying a hull once again on my favorite lake. It was hard to sit up and see, so on the way home that day I designed a metal-frame seat I could attach to my boat. We stopped at a local muffler shop, and I asked the mechanic to grab some welding rod. I showed him where I wanted to attach the frame to the boat, the length of the frame, where to bend it, and how to design some brackets to attach it.”
The following day, Strahle drove to a local canvas shop and had some material/canvas made that would hang down like a hammock. Friends and family helped attach the frame to the boat and lace up the canvas material. Then they took the boat sailing.
“The seat and frame worked perfectly,” says Strahle. “I was the first to try it out. Two people lifted me into the seat, which gave me back and side support. It was more comfortable than my wheelchair could ever be. I could not only see but also found a way to steer using the tiller stick with a knob attached to it.”
It was “sweet,” and Strahle quickly realized he could start racing again. He competed in the Whiskeytown Regatta three weeks later — and hasn’t missed it in 26 years to date.
“Whiskeytown Lake is the perfect venue for disabled sailing, so I started hosting disabled sailing regattas for the first time in California,” Strahle explains. “The event was named after my invention: Trapseat.”
The Pan-Pacific Trapseat Cup has taken place on Whiskeytown Lake every year since 1989. This year it is May 25–31, 2012. The Trapseat Class has grown worldwide, and the first official ISAF/IFDS World Trapseat Championship was hosted in Canada in 2002. Now, the Trapseat Class has become one of the most competitive disabled sailing classes in the world. Dennis Connor, a famous America’s Cup skipper, donated a trophy — the “International Trapseat Cup (ITC),” which is now the America’s Cup for disabled sailors. The next ITC event will be in San Diego, in November 2013.
“Soon, we hope to host the U.S. National Disabled Sailing Championships at Whiskeytown Lake, and encourage all wounded warriors — experienced or not — to come for an adventure at one of the most beautiful places on earth,” Strahle says.
1984 - Mike Strahle creates first generation Trapseats.
1988 - Hobie Cat Company sponsors the first Hobie 16 Trapseat Nationals (1st disAbled Multihull Nationals).
1988 - First annual National Trapseat Regatta.
1995 - First annual International Trapseat Regatta.
1998 - First Hobie 16 Trapseat event in conjunction with regular Hobie Cat event (Hobie European Champ.).
1999 - First inaugural Trapseat Pan-Am Games Sailing Federation Regatta to include disAbled sailors.
2000+ Events to be added shortly.
1. A Hobie 16 with Trapseats shall be sailed by a helmsperson.
2. Helmsperson or crew may be able-bodied (AB) or disAbled.
3. There shall be two Trapseats attached either side of a cat.
4. The crew ONLY may hike from any position.
5. When racing no part of the torso of the helmsperson shall pass the centerline (center lacing) of the boat.
6. Before a race the helmsperson shall nominate which side of the boat from which they will steer/helm the boat.
7. Rule 5 shall not apply in the event of a capsize.
8. No competitor will be disqualified due to assistance in the event of a capsize of other emergency deemed such by the race organizers.
9. Righting system that are not motorized are legal to use.
10. Races will take place in 15 knots, not to exceed 20 knots.
11. Races will take place in protected waters and/or waters deemed safe by race organizers.
12. Mast top floats of any make can be use for safety purposes during races.
13. None Hobie parts and accessories can be used on any boat during races, such as non Hobie trampolines, etc. Also non-comptip masts are allowed. However when racing in Hobie class sanctioned events all items on one's boat must be Hobie class legal (meaning class parts and accessories must be made by Hobie). In the US and Canada masts must have comptips.
CAUTION: We do not advise trapezing off the Trapseats top tube even though racers do so. Trapseats have been in production since 1984 with no incidents associated with damage to a Hobie 16, however be advised that using Trapseats on a new Hobie 16 can potentially void the boat warranty if Hobie determines an issue was caused by the Trapseats. As with any outdoor activity being injured or death may result, and FunToSAIL takes no responsibility to said results or voided warranty when using our Trapseats.
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