Intro: Regular readers might have noticed that besides my dinghy and keelboat activities, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Bladerider Moth. This very interesting boat had been ordered by me and my CTM team during hanseboot show at exact 10.01h. One minute after the official opening of the show did we place an order with Rohan. I must say, the waiting was long but worth it. It arrived last week and the Bladrider looks the business! All these shining carbon parts are fitting beautifully into our workshop. But that is not the intention of the boat. We want to go sailing.
First Day: Friday 3rd. Late afternoon.
We have assembled it with ease and taken to the water on Friday evening last week. We were three and had a powerboat standby for rescuing if necessary. Being the boss it was my turn at first and I think, it threw me off at least ten times until I managed to sit and sheet in. We were in a wind shadow but my movements had not been coordinated. Lowriding was not easy for me and a couple capsizes later Bjoern jumped into the water. Being an avid A-Cat sailor he managed it better than me, to get on board. Weighting abt. 100kg he did a couple capsizes with easy righting and than he "flew". Wow! A spectacular capzise and some exhausting swimming he handed the "Brute Machine" over to me again. With wind in the sail I managed decent waterstarts, pull your body on to the boat whilst sheeting in and keep the balance whilst the boat starts sailing. Grab the tiller, bear away and get on the wing. I was slipping off the wing with my Musto Wetsuit. No way of sitting there. Had to organize my legs, tiller and sheet. Got sailing the thing. Got it into the air. Flying for about a minute...no not true, for 10 seconds. The wand came out of the water and than the bow first into the pond. Autsch. I remember I managed a slow, slow tack and a decent lowrider mode jibe. That was OK for me for the day. I handed over to Bjoern and after some: "I start flying" and capzising, the boom broke. De-rigging on the water was not easy with all the screws on the shackles. No screwdriver on hand. We got the boat home and the boom into our composite workshop.
The boom being repaired overnight and some hooks installed instead of screwed on shackles, we also limited the amount of rudderway with elastic. The rudder should hold itself in the middle which makes starting more easy. And it was. Wearing shorts over the wetsuit helped me getting organized on the trampoline. Getting on to the boat being no problem on the second day. Sailing in lowrider mode not a problem. We did not measure the wind, we did not mount the Velocitec but Bjoern and myself had some good success with 30-60sec airtime. Dropping off mostly to windward with the bow too high. Time to think about the adjustments maybe. Body movements forward etc.
After our go and being exhausted from swimming and righting we handed the boat to the girl. Kerstin climbed the Moth and moved like a cat. Lowriding looked easy, she did not capsize and got it on a "flight" with ease. So excited she was that she steered into the wind and capsized after a flight half across our homewater. Unbelievable. Than the righting became a little problem for her, she got exhausted and handed the boat over to us. Impressive how we improved by the hour. More time on the boat, less time swimming. We also had our computer guru with us. Arne, a cat sailor also had a go. First he just climbed the boat without problems, sailed well in lowrider mode and later when he had some airtime he dropped off the boat and the Bladerider kept on sailing. We had to catch it with our little powerboat. We would not recommend the elastic on the rudder for people sailing alone without assistance. We will demount it later when we have more experience but at present it is a hit. Nothing broken on the day, some very happy faces, smiles all over and we put the boat back in the shed. Lot´s of bruises and blue patches on legs and arms but fun it was.
Sunday there was no wind and besides ourselves really wanting to have another go we kept our cool and did not even try it. It would have been frustrating in drifter conditions. Monday evening after work we had another go. The Bladerider hard core Team: Kerstin, Bjoern and myself. Everybody showed good improvement, airtime and quick righting maneuvers. Not that we sailed like the team riders in the many promotion videos, no no. But everyone had decent airtime. I could handle it quite well on starboard tack but always dropped of to windward on the port tack. Worth mentioning is our ability to sail upwind and downwind and Kerstin showed a really good stunt flying the machine high and dry and capsizing it in front of the boatshed. That was the best and longest controlled foiling of all the sessions so far. Today we are healing our wounds, the sore muscles need to relax and some minor boatwork has to be done. We will try again mid of the week. I have to re-read the manual and start thinking about the adjustments. The decision to buy a company Bladerider is a good one. Some like to fly, some like to assemble and to repair the beautiful carbon parts. I know it is too early to go racing for me but we will catch up on our foiling skills pretty soon.