Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario

The Sonar Keelboat

The 23' Sonar one-design keelboat is a high-performance racer and also a comfortable day sailor. It was designed by Bruce Kirby and almost 700 boats have been built since 1980. The Sonar is an International Class and was the 3 person Paralympic sailboat.

Sonars are used because they are designed for accessibility and have a large spacious cockpit.

Sonar Specifications

Length (LOA) 23'
Beam 7'10"
Draft 3'11"
Displacement 2100 lbs
Ballast 900 lbs
Sail Area (main and jib) 250 sq ft
Capacity 150 kg
Designer Bruce Kirby
Key Features
  • 11'6" cockpit seats 8 comfortably.
  • Full-length molded bench seats with angled backs.
  • Self-bailing cockpit.

Sonar Line Lengths

General Construction

Hull Hand laid up woven fiberglass with coremat coring for added strength and impact resistance. Each boat carefully crafted to meet one-design rules. White gelcoat standard; custom hull gelcoat colors and bottom paint optional.

Deck Fabricated as one-piece insert; includes three seat storage lockers. Two bunks (and space for a small Porta Potti) in lockable cuddy cabin with hatchboard. Extruded aluminum toerail bolted thru deck and hull flange.

Cockpit Huge 11'6" self-bailing cockpit with full-length seats, angled seatbacks. Seats 8 adults in comfort. Adjustable mainsheet traveler amidships.

Keel 900 pounds of cast lead, deep fin design. Narrow, with advanced foil shape for superior windward performance. Optional sling available for hoist launching.

Rudder 2" thick, very high-aspect and deep. Balanced design and large area provides excellent control and manueverability, even under spinnaker in strong winds. Inboard hung for protection and to retain the same light feel at all angles of heel. Laminated curved tiller.

Rigging Bendy tapered aluminum mast. 75% fractional rig is responsive, makes sailhandling easier. Elliptical mast section is keel stepped. Swept spreaders, adjustable backstay and moveable mast blocking at the partners permit fine tuning. Running rigging is Dacron and Spectra, cut to length and fitted for each application.

Sails Large Dacron mainsail and 100% jib, legal for class racing. Combination of larger main and smaller jib is easier to handle when tacking. Standard cunningham, outhaul, traveler controls and jib leads provide complete sail-shaping ability. Spinnaker and tapered aluminum pole available.

Hardware Boat is shipped "race ready," equipped with top-quality marine hardware -- Harken, Ronstan, etc. Deck and cockpit fittings are mounted with stainless steel hardware.

Trailer trailer with brakes, custom designed and built for the Sonar.


The two Sonar keelboats were obtained through a Trillium Grant in 2012


DSAO - Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario DSAO is a family of organizations that promote and enable Ontarians with disabilities to experience therapeutic, recreational and social rehabilitation through the freedom of independent sailing. DSAO's objective is to build the sport of disabled sailing, assist with athlete development and sustain international competitive excellence. DSAO - Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario
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