Boats, Boats, and More Boats
April 9th, 2006
Two British magazines Watercraft and Classic Boat have been at the forefront of publicizing Raids. Classic Boat ran a Raid boat design contest in 2005 and the winners were announced in their January 2006 issue. (It takes a while for these things to reach the antipodes!)
The results are somewhat surprising, though I realize the judges had to choose from what was submitted. First place went to a design from David Payne, a 23′ by 6′ rowing boat with a large rig and very small (ineffective?) centerboard. This boat appears very tender, with a high raised deck forward and narrow stern. Second place went to a 22′ by 6′ ketch from Matt Newland which incorporates water ballast and a flattish bottom obviously aimed more at sailing than rowing. As the design includes an outboard well the designer was certainly thinking about life after the Raid. Third place went Francois Viver for a 19′2″ by 7′ centerboard sloop. This design is a big cruising boat with a cuddy cabin and one rowing position.
The results surprised me because none of them seem to be all out racing boats. The Payne boat may do well under oars but is no racing sailboat. Newlands ketch sports an inefficient rig and a hull unsuited to much rowing, though at least he incorporated two rowing positions. Vivier’s sloop Beniguet is certainly a family cruiser and would do well in a windy sailing race, but would really be wrong for a rowing race.
My current thinking on Raid boat design is smaller, lighter (definitely no ballast), and lots of sail and rowing power. Obviously our 2005 experience has coloured my view, long days of absolute flat calm. If we were to get lots of wind, either on the nose (SE) or behind us (N westerly) my design criteria may change again. The heavy reliance on rowing ability may be unique to our part of the world, which will mean developing our own designs. This, in my view, will be just fine and follows with my interest in developing our own West Coast Raid Tradition.
All the best, Tad