The first Bladerider X8 was delivered to Michael Boode in Melbourne on the 28 February 2007. Michael later commented to us saying, "it is a lot better than I expected, the quality of the finish is awesome, the seamless lines are outstanding. Of course I have been a little frustrated with the delivery delay, but now I see it in the flesh it has been totally worth it."
Michael Boode taking delivery of the first Bladerider.
Our number one team sailor Rohan Veal has been at it again winning both the Victorian Dinghy Championships in January on a pre-production boat and the NSW State Championships over Easter on a brand new production boat (launched on the morning of the first race). Rohan commented later by saying "I was a bit worried launching a brand new boat on the first day of a major regatta, however even with a few 'new boat' teathing issues, the boat was unbelievably fast and incredibly smooth to sail!".
Rohan showing superior boat handling skills with a 'partial' foiling tack.
Photo by Steve Yarrrington.
Australian team sailor and ex-NSW State Champion Scott Babbage also launched his new boat on the morning of the first race of the NSW State Championships, however Scott suffered a broken centreboard in heat one due to manufacturing fault. Scott was obviously very dissapointed, but was given a replacement centreboard immediately. Unfortanately due to limited spares at the regatta, it was only a sample and not near the finish of the production foils, and consequently Scott finished the next five races with mediocre results. However as Rohan had won the series after the second last race, Rohan gave Scott his own production foil to keep, and Scott won the race easily showing amazing upwind and downwind speed. Scott reported on his web site the next day by saying "At certain points of the weekend I could’ve given it back but after the last race, I was grinning like an idiot." Scott topped this result off the following weekend in the Balmoral marathon, by winning the mixed fleet and foiler Moth long distance race by lazy 15 minutes.
Scott Babbage foiling to windward during one of the many squalls
over the NSW State Championships.
Photo by Josh McKnight.
Bladerider designer Andrew McDougall (better known as Amac) also attended the NSW State Championships and finished a respectable 3rd overall, even after handing over his boat to John Harris for one race (who was eagerly awaiting delivery of his new boat). Amac commented during the regatta "Since sitting out the last worlds and nationals I thought I had to get up to speed to prove that it was not just Rohan making the X8 fast. Like Scott and Rohan, I had blistering speed in all conditions and was always foiling earlier than the others, I've just got to learn to turn those corners!"
Amac showing how little wind you need to fly the X8.
Photo by Gary McLennan.
British Bladerider team sailor, Graham Vials took delivery of his new Bladerider X8 at the London Dinghy Show, where the boat attracted a great deal of interest from the public. Some commented to say that 'the X8 made every other boat at the show look ordinary'. Graham later took his X8 for the first sail up near Newcastle infront of Fotoboat cameraman, Alan Henderson. "Had the first sail today. Really pleased! Boat was nice to handle and flew easily. Even despite me being rusty." Graham said.
Graham Vials showing off for the camera.
Photo by Alan Henderson, Fotoboat.
Local hot shot sailor Glenn Raphael recently took delivery of his new X8 at the Dubai Boat Show, where onlookers were amazed at the new technology in dinghies. A few other local and ex-pat sailors also seemed interested to get a Bladerider once they saw Glenn hit the water for his first time in the beautiful Dubai waters and handle it with ease. Glenn commented during the day of his first sail "It's unreal! Well worth taking an extended lunch break from work." Hopefully by the start of the next season in October 2007, we should have a good fleet of up to 10 boats on the water, not to mention talk of running a Grand Prix regatta there in March 2008.
Glenn Raphael foiling for the first time in the Dubai Marina.
Team sailor Rohan Veal dropped into Torbole, Lake Garda in March for a few days of training and demonstrations to the local media, photographers and sailors. The demonstration even made it to a large national television channel last month (to be repeated again in April).
Rohan & Virginia Veal talking to the media in Italy.
Along with a number of international visitors, Carlo Maege for Munich was also there to test the boat before receiving his new Bladerider and went back again during the Easter break to train in front of the +780 Optimists sailors cometiting there at the time. Carlo later emailed us and said "I have to tell you that the eight days at Lake Garda have been a great success for the Bladerider. Seven more people have tried the boat, and I think nearly every of the them will buy one in the shorter future."
"Then I gave a few of Europe class sailors a ride on the boat. They all want to change their Europe moth in a foiler moth after their test-sail on the Bladerider. The other thing is that I have been the most photographed boat on the lake.
I tell you that every time when I´ve been sailing near the regatta area, 10 to 20 ribs did follow me and taking photos or videos of the Bladerider. As there was between 15-20 ktns of wind, it was spectacular foiling."
Carlo Maege foiling on a pre-production Bladerider
X8 at Lake Garda, Italy.
Olympic 470 Sailor Kalle Coster also recently took delivery of his new X8 at the Amsterdam Boat Show and received quite a lot of interest on the Volvo stand. Kalle has since been flying his boat as often as possible and recently said "the other day I did 24 knots in 18 knots of wind! I'm hooked!"