Daughter and visually impaired Father sail on Hanse sailing yacht

A special family story with the Hanse 370

Kirk, Melissa, and Gemma Watson are an exceptional sailing family from Australia. As Kirk is visually impaired, his vision is now just a slight light perception. However, he remained a passionate sailor. He continues to enjoy the sport and has competed at nine Sydney to Hobarts sailing races and four Sydney to Southport sail races: “I forget I can’t see when I’m sailing and do it through feel. I can steer a boat, but prefer to be offshore where there’s more space. I don’t fear much.” Also, his wife Melissa became an enthusiastic regatta sailor and is doing a great job at the helm of “Audacious” while Kirk trims the mainsail: “The self-tacking jib of our Hanse 370 has made sailing much easier for us and helps keeping an eye on the child and dog.” 

Kirk's six-year-old daughter, Gemma, has been sailing with her family since she was a few weeks old and enjoys it. Melissa reports that Gemma even joins their races, though she spends most of her time on her iPad. Even Kirk's current guide dog, Tilly, enjoys the sailing trips and likes to sit on the bow.

They were looking for a yacht that could be turned into an adaptive boat. Kirk and Melissa decided to go for the Hanse 370 because it was easy to sail: “The easy sailing concept immediately convinced us. There was really no other yacht sailing with such effortless ease. In combination with the quality of the joinery, she literally had everything we wanted. Our “Audacious” sails wonderful, is fast and has a pleasant motion in the water.” The family is already looking forward to their future journeys and plans further adaptive yacht improvements.