Posted Monday, May 9, 2005
"A beginner could easily sail the boat, but it offers many adjustment possibilities for an advanced sailor..."
It's hard not to notice the Raider 16. With its curved, winged hull and its sleek sail shape, the design itself makes people stare, even at the dock. Sailing in the bay, its the funnest looking boat on the water.
Looks aren't everything, as you know, so we put the Raider to the test at the St. Pete Sail Expo in November 2003. A team of very experienced, teenaged sailors each got a chance to sail the Raider Sport, and unanimously agreed that it was "fast and easy to sail."
"It was easy to sail because the lines were well organized and there was a good purchase on the main," said Chris Vetter, 15. "A beginner could easily sail the boat, but it offers many adjustment possibilities for an advanced sailor. It is also very stable and comfortable," he added.
Stability and comfort were adjectives used by all of the other critics, not just because of the curved nature of the gunwales, but also because of the boat's layout. Lines were neatly laid out and special attention to details is given when forming the hull. "With the wide beam and the ample flotation at the beam ends, the hull has proven to be extremely stable and will self right from a full knockdown," said John Drawe, the boat's designer, "The generously curved lines of the hull and deck sections eliminate high stressed areas to keep the attractive appearance of the Raider looking new and preserves its value for years to come."
The Raider also scored high on handling and responsiveness. "It handled very well in high wind," said Christopher Gardiner. "Its an excellent boat."
At 16 feet, the Raider is designed for 1 - 3 youth sailors, or two adults (200 lbs each) - definitely not a boat to take the whole family of five out for the day. "It is a single handed boat that can easily be sailed by two people," said Vetter. A lifelong live aboard boater, Orion Blevins, 14, agreed, "I might be able to take 1 or 2 friends, but 3 friends would be a challenge," he said.
As a trailerable boat Orion thinks that the Raider is "a very good deal for quick and simple sailing," "The boat can be set up in 20 minutes, and taken down as quickly, compared to the usual 3 hours of our (family's) F31."
All the teens that critiqued the boat recommended the Raider for both beginner and advanced sailors. It comes in two configurations, the standard Raider 16.and the Raider Sport, which comes complete with Carbon Fiber mast, Dacron Laminate sail with larger area, longer tiller extension, traveler and other goodies. In conclusion, the Raider is a very fast and stable boat, unique with its almost flawless self righting ability, perfect for a beginner and challenging enough for an experienced sailor.
Scorecard (scale from 1 to 5):
Line Access: 4.3
Upwind Sail: 4.6
Downwind Sail: 4
Beam Sail: 4.6
Specifications and technical information obtained from www.raiderdsailboats.com .