BayRaider 17 sailing in Wales with her designer, Matt Newland aboard
For further information on the BayRaider 17 please contact us.
Timber composite - 250kg
board up - 8" (200mm) Down - 4'4" (1.32m)
130 sq feet (12.1 sq metres)
Proudly made in our workshop in Tasmania, the BayRaider 17 has really proved popular since her release a couple of years ago with Aussie hull number 6 about to hit the water. The boats are a smaller version of the BayRaider 20 with similar rigs and features.
Her most unique feature is the water ballast system, effectively giving the owner two different boats for the price of one. Waterballast gives you the option to fill the under floor tank with 220kg of water, giving huge amounts of stability and exactly doubling her weight. If you are unsure of the conditions, sailing singlehanded, or have nervous crew on board it is very comforting to know that with the tank full she self rights from a 90 degree knockdown. Even with the tank empty she is extremely easy to right singlehanded.
Like the BR20, she has a self draining cockpit, which again is of huge benefit to safety. Large green waves coming in over the side can be drained rapidly through the outboard well without anyone needing to bail. The skipper is free to concentrate on the situation in hand, without worrying about getting rid of water.
Her ketch rig has been well proven on many of our other boats. Its one huge advantage over a single mast rig is the ability to quickly and massively reduce sail. Under jib and mizzen alone she is well balanced, very stable and able to tolerate virtually any weather.
After safety the next most important design feature for the BayRaider was performance and certainly in terms of traditional style dayboats, she is hard to beat.
Her hull has plenty of form stability so in light winds, or with experienced crew on board you can leave the ballast tank empty (or empty it on the move) and transform her into something approaching a racing dinghy. Add toe straps or even trapeze for hiking out to maximise her performance.
Her jib can be rigged conventionally, but most customers prefer the balanced jib boom, which makes her self tacking and maintains excellent luff tension. The mizzen is also very much a driving sail. Though not the most efficient way of adding sail area, it is nonetheless a significant contributor. The mizzen sits in a luff pocket and has a sprit boom rig which helps it hold shape when on or off the wind. One pull on the mizzen sheets in even a light breeze with tell you how much work it is doing.
Her hull shape has been carefully optimised to produce an easily driven hull that has good form stability for carrying sail. Her flat run aft gives her the potential to semi plane and surf in the right conditions.
The foils (rudder and centreboard) on BayRaider have also been carefully CAD optimised and cut to exact NACA cross sections. This makes a huge difference to windward performance – one of the reason why she beats so many trad boats is their flat steel plates which provide such a small amount of lift. Would you fly in a plane with flat wings?
One of the weaknesses of modern high aspect ratio sails is their downwind performance - the reason why spinnakers were invented. The BayRaider 17 has an optional asymmetric spinnaker kit which is launched from a bag under the foredeck. This gives superb off-wind performance, particularly in lighter winds.
The BayRaider is extremely versatile. The waterballast is an excellent safety feature but also makes her suitable for a wide range of conditions and levels of crew experience. She is an ideal boat for beginners as novices can learn with the tanks full, but empty them as they gain experience. The waterballast also makes her light enough to be pushed around on her trailer single handed on your drive, and towed with an ordinary car. Best of all it gives you much better performance in light to medium winds as you can leave all 220kg of it behind and enjoy a responsive and relatively lightweight dinghy.
The carbon main mast is on a tabernacle making raising and lowering very easy and the mast has a dedicated tie down point on the stern deck so you don’t have to worry about what to tie to. The mizzen is a carbon tube which is light enough to lift out easily, after rolling the sail around it. The rudder is a beautiful stainless fabrication of which we are particularly proud. While being exceptionally strong, it also allows the rudder blade to come right up well clear of the water, which is handy when towing or when leaving her on a mooring. It means the rudder stays on the boat the whole time – another job that you don’t have to do when bored family are waiting, but is well clear of the water for easy launching.
The dyneema shrouds are normally left attached to the mast and boat, and the forestay used to pull tension into them. This saves having to tension each shroud individually which is time consuming. The jib is set on a roller furler as standard, which is usually mounted on a club boom for easy self tacking.
Novices to sailing might be put off by a rig with three sails, but the BayRaider is exceptionally easy to handle. Her entire rig is self tacking which means going about is a simple matter of putting the helm over and swapping sides. The jib and mizzen sheets are on jamming cleats which leaves the helmsman to control the main and tiller.
Thanks to the raised cockpit floor, the centreboard case is fairly low and unobtrusive, providing excellent foot bracing when sitting out. Aft of the case there is dedicated space for a small chartplotter/fishfinder and compass, in front of the helmsman where it can be easily seen. Any batteries required can be mounted at the forward end of the case, with wiring discretely hidden under the hardwood case top plank.
The position of the outboard well is ideal for motoring in rough water as the propeller is well buried and is unlikely to surface. The outboard is on the centreline, and so its wash is directed onto the rudder for superb manoeuvrability. For really tight spaces the outboard can be freely rotated as it is easy to reach under the tiller from the helming position. A short shaft outboard is needed, and as small as possible is recommended. Remember 2 HP is roughly 8 men rowing, and if your engine doesn’t have a reverse you can always rotate the head if needed.
There are two large water proof stowage compartments under the seats to port and starboard and another under the foredeck. An optional spray hood makes the forward half of the cockpit a very dry and warm space, and together with a seat piece infill, provides two feet-first berths under the foredeck. Sleeping on board an open boat like this is a huge attraction. You may not do it often, but it is possible to take her camp cruising with room for all your supplies.
Below are a couple of videos of the BayRaider 17 in action. The first one is a general sailing video and the second is a video of capsize and knockdown testing.