‘As seen on SailboatOwners.com Forum….
<strong>Antigone and the Raiders</strong>
Sam and Terry, thanks for a really COOL question! I”ve been sort of waiting for this one.
Raider Yacht was founded in about 1976-77 by my uncle Joe and his two sons Peter and Brian. They are completely unaffiliated with Hunter or Cherubini Boat (except that through my dad”s influence vendors like Lewmar, Kenyon, and Schaeffer all gave the same-tier parts discounts to all three!). There is a very good write-up on Raider in Ferenc Maté”s book ”Best Boats to Build or Buy” (Norton, 1980-ish). The name came from Peter and Brian”s favorite football team. The company colours were gold, silver, and black and the logo was a Jolly Roger.
The boats were gorgeous, built by the family”s most infamous neatniks– the joinery inside was superb. It was because of the incredible attention to detail that not many were made and they did not sell fast or easily. Their sailing performance is entirely another story!
I have NO doubt that between equally stock Hunter 33s and Raider 33s the Raider would outrun the Hunter on every point of sail. It must be considered that the Hunter 33 is no slouch– it was one of my dad”s favourites and there are still members of the family who would clamour after one if it came up for sale. But the Raider was just blinding. There is a picture in Maté”s book of one flying a radial spinnaker on a beam reach heeled over to the rail doing about 9 knots in weather that would reef lesser boats into rags. I would like to think that the Raider was my dad”s idea of a Hunter 33 done one better. Close comparison to the two boats” plans will ultimately confirm this. But what is certain is that it was a boat drawn by him with absolutely NO restraints by marketing or accounting.
The Raider was only 27 ft on the water, which at least one dealer considered a drawback because it limited interior room. The bow was steeply raked, and out of the mold it was, as Maté reported, as sharp as a razorblade– probably a 1/16-inch radius. (Peter is/was probably one of the best fibreglass mold workers in the country. That”s worth about 8 bucks an hour.) But we all know that waterline length has a direct correspondent in displacement. The Raider”s lines are so typical of my dad– incredibly fine underwater, 10,400 lbs fully dressed under 455 ft of sail. As with so many of them this incredible lightness of being resulted in dizzying heel angle, but, also typically, once heeled that was the end of it.
Antigone (1978) was the ultimate physical incarnation of the Raider 33 (there are others in the plans which will further blow you away). The custom layout contributed to a full 1000 lbs weight savings. The engine was set directly over the aft end of the keel for weight distribution. There was no vee berth, only a toilet and sail room. The interior was like the Hunter 25 but with two quarter berths. Originally it had a tiller but we put in an Edson pedestal with a 40-inch wheel geared so tightly that lock-to-lock was like 2-1/2 turns– it steered like a Formula One car. The Kevlar mainsheet went through 6:1 Haarken ball-bearing blocks, one end cleating on the traveller car and the other on the cabintop at the winch. The keel on Antigone was the 6-ft deep version, a slightly tapered quadrilateral, and the rudder had a small skeg but later a full spade rudder was developed. Four days before race season in 1979 we added a fibreglass ”cuff” on the aft edge of the keel making it more vertical. The result was a little more stiffness and I guess a tighter point to windward (less ”burble” aft of the keel). In a race you sat with the coaming under your knees and played the mainsheet like you were racing a 470. Everyone else held on for dear life. It was like racing a Jag XK-120 on skinny period tyres in the rain without seat belts.
We piled up quite a collection of silver-plate ”hardware” with that boat and lined the beams in the rec room with first-to-finish and first-in-class pennants. We rarely came home with worse than third. Antigone and several other Raiders raced in the Northeast were responsible for lowering the PHRF on the type from the 170s in 1977 to about 154 in 1978 to 145 in 1979. I don”t know of anyone who raced one who ever complained about it. They all knew they had got a winner and you don”t complain about temperament in a winning race horse.
The 33-ft size was a favourite of my dad”s and I have been recently talking to my cousin Mike (CherubiniModels.com) about making the Raider”s forerunner, a 33-ft double-chine plywood daggerboard day racer, what we called the River Rat, available as a 1″ = 1 ft scale sailing model. More on that as it develops.
J Cherubini II’