The design is from Swallow Boats of Wales, UK, and is a smaller version of their 19′ & 20′ craft. Primarily intended as a day boat for cruising sheltered waters, the Australian built boats have been adapted for our conditions.
Our Bayraider 17 was built in 2012 by Denman Marine of Kettering, Tasmania. Andrew Denman accommodated changes we wished from the standard layout which were:
Fitting a diaphragm bilge pump so that ballast water can be removed while in the water and not having to make way. The two times that we use this pump most are when preparing to return to trailer the boat with a sea or surge running. Without the water ballast the boat is easier to handle and damage is less likely. The other occasion is where the boat is beached to take on guests, with everyone aboard the water is pumped out and boat got off the sand easier.
Fitting a pair off oar rowlock sockets on either side of the transom. These are used for securing a sculling oar and for leading outboard a stern anchor when running into a beach landing.
My wife Anna comes from a shore based background. In contrast I have spent most of my life at sea; variously I have cruised extensively by sailboat, crewed in trawling & purse seining vessels, charter & trading vessels. After 4 years in the RAN I then began a 16 year career in Australian merchant vessels. Our different backgrounds complement each othe in determining how & where to sail.
The Bayraider 17 was chosen for the traditional styling which is combined with modern safety & practical features. The craft & rig are easily handled by one person with set up and launching accomplished in a short time. The ply/epoxy construction incorporates a double bottom, combined with the copious buoyancy and self-draining interior this enhances safety and increases versatility. The ability to fill the double bottom greatly enhances stability while a thoughtful design feature is a step incorporated into the rudder for boarding from the water.
The rig features a balanced foresail boom which allows self-tacking; the lines are easily handled by one person while there are enough to keep younger crew members occupied. The Storm Bay sails of Kettering are in a classic cream colour. For most of the time the mainsail is stowed by rolling it from leach to luff & securing with ties. In a strong breeze the topmast/yard is brought down to reduce windage and allow further securing.
Last year we increased the suit of sails with a leg of mutton mainsail and a hanked headsail for winter sailing in Bass Strait. The sails were made by Steve Walker, and are in cream cloth as for the other sails. With no yard, the mainsail is more easily handled and reefed in fresh conditions
The water cooled Suzuki DF 2.5 outboard drives the boat along well, is quiet, and does not heat up the outboard well area like air-cooled motors. After a day on the water a purpose made tank is rolled beneath the stern, connected to a garden hose & the motor run & flushed in place.