The rater is extremely fast, planes easily, and is a technically highly challenging boat to sail in anything above moderate wind conditions. It is usually sailed with a crew of three.
The home water was originally upstream of Raven's Ait, where the right bank of the Thames is a 15' (4.5m) high, mid-nineteenth century brick wall, designed to separate the river, even in spate, from the spring water of the Seething Wells waterworks. The left bank has tall mature plane trees. These enclosed conditions often result in unusually light wind conditions with variable eddies unless the wind direction is directly up or downstream when it tends to be funnelled along the river. The approximate boundaries of the water were from (Thames Sailing Club race start line) upstream to (Hampton Court Palace).
Over the years raters have developed extraordinarily tall masts and high aspect mainsails to meet the local conditions, and catch the wind above the trees and other obstructions along the banks. Their sails were always large, but originally they had long booms and shorter masts, but over time the booms got shorter and the masts taller. At first they used the so-called balance lug rug, then the Gunter rig, before moving on to the current Bermuda rig. Over the years bamboo spars were replaced first by wood, then aluminium, and now mostly carbon fibre.
The original home of the rater
Mixed in with large fleets of other boats, the raters are usually seen at the following regattas with very tight, close quarters racing.
|Name||Sail Number||Dates||Description||Currently Racing|
|Original Build||Last Rebuild|
|My Lady Dainty||2||1911|
|1970 ~||When refurbished in the 1970s by Roger Harrall, boatswain at Raven's Ait, she was clad with a plastic sheath with embossed diamond pattern, similar to non slip floor surfacing, both on her hull and on her decks. She is currently in need of restoration.||No|
|Originally named Sea Miaou||No|
|One of the first to have the 45' mast, in 1938||No|
|Originally called Latona Vanessa, she was built to conform to both the "A" and the smaller, slower, "B" rating rules. This results in her being relatively uncompetitive.||Yes|
d: Linton Hope
b: Alfred Burgoine
|In 1919, when the rest of the fleet was gunter rigged, she was the first to move to bermuda rig. She was built to conform to both the "A" and the smaller, slower, "B" rating rules. This results in her being relatively uncompetitive.||No|
|She is the oldest rater in existence. Ulva's hull has been used to create the moulds for the current GRP raters||Yes|
|Caprice IV||9|| 1910|
d: FH Jackson
|Similar in design to My Lady Dainty. Now lost.||No|
|Dainty Too||11|| 1922|
d: JM Soper
|The last wooden rater built. Bluff bows.||Yes|
|Scamp II||12|| 1906|
d: Linton Hope
b: Hart, Harden and Co
|1999||Similar in design to Vagabond, less beamy, and with a longer waterline length||Yes|
d: Linton Hope
|1980s|| Distinctly narrow beam, came to prominence in Beecher Moore's ownership. Under Beecher Moore's ownership, Vagabond originated the dinghy trapeze system. |
Beecher Moore also experimented with a sliding seat, similar to that of the International Canoe. With many "firsts" to her name, Vagabond was the first rater to be commercially sponsored, with the sponsor's logo appearing on her sails.
|Spindrift||14||1998||The first of the "Plastic" raters||Yes|
|Tara||23||Renamed from Caprice V, and built with carbon fibre where technically possible.||Yes|
The source data for this section is, in part Rater Descriptions from The Rater Association
In the table, "d:" refers to the designer, "b:" to the builder. Where simply a name is present that is the builder
Unusually, for a class designed about a rule allowing wide variation in most design parameters, individual boats are handicapped.