RAVE V Update
The photo is of Larry Knauer as he prepares to leave the "winter home" of RAVE V in Sarasota Florida to return to the midwest. Testing over the winter has resulted in reducing the sail area and identification of the need to increase the diameter of the tubular inlet on the foils which we will begin to work on in about a week.
But we can share the perspective of someone who is looking forward to owning one:
I had the special opportunity to sail the RAVE V prototype in Sarasota last month, so I wanted to add my two cents worth.
My first impression, walking along the dock toward the boat, was that the twin masts and the unique inverted V design are real attention-grabbers. And while that in itself isn’t necessarily an attribute one might pursue, it will surely be good for garnering interest among other sailors and thereby great advertising.
In about 10 knots of wind, Larry and Robert each took the boat out during three trips with adjustments to the mast rake in-between. Turns out, upwind agility in the light winds is highly sensitive to rake angle. Tacking was rather challenging in the light winds with the more forward rake, making leaving and returning to the marina a bit sporty. Before the third trip out, and half the initial forward rake adjustment removed, the boat sailed quite nicely. Later, the winds calmed such that we secured the boat and quit for the day.
Given the light winds on day two, I picked up a 70hp deckboat from Little Sarasota bay. After lunch we hooked the tow boat up to the RAVE to test foiling under tow with Larry at the helm. We brought the boat up to about 10 knots. The RAVE was riding particularly nose high, trying to fly with the forward foils dominating. I added a bit more throttle, and at about 12 knots, the port foil broke off after hitting an underwater object. Fortunately, the composite material floats and we were able to locate and retrieve the broken foil.
On day four, I got my turn at the helm, albeit with a single forward foil. The boat sails very well, points extremely high, and tacks and gybes easily. Wing-on-wing with two mainsails is quite a new experience, though I found it much more difficult to coax and retain the two sails to opposite sides of the boat than with a typical main/foresail arrangement. Larry had an easier time of it than I did. Visibility from the cockpit under the booms is spectacular, something I had worried would be sacrificed with this design. We also sailed briefly with the remaining foil retracted. In this configuration, tacking was more difficult and leeway predictably much greater. Finally, we performed an impromptu “max load test”, adding two brave souls, one to each trampoline. The boat handled just as impressively with four aboard as it did with one. Like the WR-17 the trampoline is a similarly wet place to ride.
The light winds were insufficient to get the RAVE to foil during any of our tests, so we were limited to more traditional sailing with the foils simply performing as a keel. However, in this arrangement it seemed as though we could point 25 degrees to wind—an impressive achievement. Overall, I came away excited to be an early owner of the RAVE V.