For a marine version of get-up-and-go, it's hard to beat the Windrider Rave.
Naturally, you'd expect extraordinary things from a company that claims it was founded "on the idea that the wind belongs to everybody."
A practiced hand can rig the Rave on his or her own in just 30 minutes.
Let it be understood from the outset that this author's initial experience aboard the Rave was less than scintillating. Marred by sketchy, uncooperative winds in Miami's inner harbor on test day, we never got the craft foil-borne. Nevertheless, the few times the boat did get close to breaking free and jumping onto its foils in the puffs, we could definitely feel it wanting to take off. The potential was palpable.
The control arms are connected to the trim tabs on the foils by a simple mechanism.
The foils themselves are aluminum flanges welded to aluminum struts that deploy by way of a control line, which is led to the cockpit. In displacement mode, the struts retract through the amas, like daggerboards, leaving only two feet extending below the surface. (There are actually three settings: fully deployed draws four feet, halfway up draws two feet for displacement sailing, and all the way up draws about a foot for approaching the beach.) Just before the Rave is moving at sufficient speed to get foil-borne, you deploy both the weather-side foil and the leeward one, and you're off. The rudder, also retractable, is usually kept fully deployed after leaving the beach. With all the controls being led in a clean fashion to the aft cockpit, the driver can easily adjust the mainsail, the headsail, and the foils. Like the brochure says: "simple."
In just 12 knots of breeze, two people can get foil-borne aboard the Rave.
Still, the Rave's true strength lies in letting sailors get their high-speed ya yas in semi-protected waters.McGarry says that it takes a solid 10 knots of breeze to get one person (175 pounds) foil-borne. For two people you'd need at least 12 knots. On lighter-air days, there's the option of a roller-furling reacher (for an additional $1,500—including sail, bowsprit, winch, blocks, and control lines), which he says will get one person foil-borne with eight knots of breeze on a reach.
Are there drawbacks to the Rave? Well, apart from a relatively steep entry fee for a 16-footer ($10,200 with trailer), not really. You'll have to spend some extra time getting accustomed to unfamiliar features like steering with your feet and understanding the nuances of the foil controls, but this author is living proof that you needn't be a card-carrying member of Mensa to figure those things out. Plus, says McGarry, having more controls to absorb and understand adds an interesting dimension to the learning curve, and he's right. Of course with a 17-foot beam, the boat is awkward at a dock, but if you've got a beach or a ramp with which to work, access and egress isn't much of a problem.
One-design racing is becoming popular among Windrider Rave fleets around North America.
Another aspect of the Rave that its promoters like to mention is the fact that it's not a physically demanding boat. Given that there are several owners in their 60s and 70s who sail the boats actively, this is a nice feature for a sport that's always seeking to open new market niches.
The Windrider Rave
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