About Us

The Company

Chris Mitchell with 8 Hansa 2.3 hheading to BrazilHansa Sailing Systems (previously Access Sailing Systems) aims to combine simplicity in design with value for money.  We strive to achieve efficient manufacturing procedures and minimal waste, an enriching and positive work place for our team and minimizing any negative impacts on the environment. Over 2800 Hansa sailboats are on the water in 35 countries throughout the world.  Currently Hansa boats are used for introducing more than 200,000 people to sailing each year.

Through its support of the Sailing for Everyone Foundation initiatives around the world, Hansa Sailing is introducing whole new communities to sailing, fostering the formation and development of an innovative “inclusive sailing” network.


Hansa Sailing Systems’ principal and designer is Chris Mitchell.

In his youth, his backyard gate opened onto the wide open expanse of Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay, and here began a career in innovative marine design, fitting all sorts of vessels with sails to save rowing out over the horizon to where the bigger fish were biting.  From rafts, canoes, to rowing dinghies, with his mother’s broom handles for masts and bed sheets for sails, it was an apprenticeship in innovation.  By the time he was twelve years old, a 2.4 metre catamaran had been designed and built, and then followed a series of off the beach sailing dinghies.

At the first opportunity he built a 25ft cruising yacht and sailed off to South East Asia where he remained on and off for 20 years. That time was spent measuring, photographing and drawing Indonesian sailing/trading craft, then designing, building and modifying yachts in Singapore and Malaysia. During his time in South East Asia, Chris designed the forerunner of the current Hansa 2.3 and since his return to Australia in 1992, the company has been formed, staff employed and trained, manufacturing processes developed, the Access Foundation established (now named the Sailing for Everyone Foundation), a network of international distributors and manufacturers created, and ten models of sailing craft in production.

Universal Design

Hansa Sailing Systems and Japan Universal Socio Engineering Research Institute (Japan USER), work closely to promote the concept of “sailing for everyone”. In an ideal world, access should not disadvantage anyone going about their everyday life. With the rapid ageing of the world’s population, we must begin to address the issues that exclude a large percentage of individuals.

The problems experienced today have come about because of the acceptance of ineffectual design. In the past, designers have ignored the needs of anyone who is not a right-handed, physically fit male, of average body size and aged between 18 and 45. By 2050, it is projected that this group will make up less than 15% of the population – so, what about the other 85% of the population who do not suit “normal” design parameters?

To read more about Universal Design, click here.