Draught 11 inches
Engine 75hp max
Country of manufacture: UK
More details on full specification can be found at http://www.raiderboats.co.uk
By courtesy of Dave Lewis
If anyone were to draw up a blueprint for a ready-trailered angling boat that would ideally suit the needs for the majority of British dinghy anglers, then it's a fair bet the Raider 16 Cuddy would meet those requirements, says Dave Lewis. My first requirement for such a trailer-able angling boat is that it should be safe for fishing, secondly it should have plenty of deck space and thirdly that it should have sufficient stowage space to ensure that the deck space remains uncluttered.
In meeting these requirements, it is hard to fault this attractive Raider 16 in any way. Like her big sister the Raider 18, the Raider 16 Cuddy is built around the tried-and-tested gull wing hull. This popular design of hull offers the attractive combination of a huge amount of lateral stability, plus providing for a soft ride when driving at speed through choppy conditions. It's also a design of planing hull that is capable of producing impressive speeds, when powered by a relatively modest power unit. Also like her big sister, the 16 Cuddy has a sporty if not futuristic look.
The overall finish and quality of work I saw on the Raider 16 Cuddy was absolutely first class. The hull conforms to CE Category C, with buoyancy as standard being provided by sealed voids beneath the main deck, which on request can be foam filled. All necessary deck hardware and fixtures and fittings are provided as standard, and Raider offer a full list of optional extras that include the stainless gantry fitted to the cuddy roof on the test boat.
The actual fishing cockpit is precisely what a fishing cockpit aboard any trailer-able angling boat should be, namely large and spacious. Indeed I had to keep reminding myself that this boat was only 16 feet in length, while the high height of the gunnels, there is three feet of inboard free-board, provides for a high feeling of security, which is well founded. The gunnels, that feature useful pockets for general stowage, fall vertically to the main deck helping maximise available deck space, while the full beam transcom has also been designed to allow uninterrupted access into the stern.
The cuddy is absolutely fine with plenty of headroom, easily enough space for a couple of big blokes to shelter from the weather. There is open stowage beneath both the port and starboard bench seats. A decent size front opening top-hinged access hatch through which to work the anchor warp. Two spring-type hinge locks prevent the hatch from slamming down and cracking you on the head.
The open anchor well is easily large enough to take an anchor and warp. A stainless pulpit rail had been installed as an optional extra on the test boat though, apart from adding to the boat from an aesthetic point of view, it serves no other purpose. In no way is there sufficient room on the bow of this boat to attempt leaving the security of the cuddy to work the anchor.
The steering console was mounted to starboard, with the console being of simple design, though being easily large enough to accommodate the installation of the usual electronic gadgetry. The test boat had been fitted with a pedestal type seat as an optional extra, with the deck also being reinforced to install a second seat to starboard. This has been finished in an effective non-slip finish, with all surface water quickly draining into a cavernous sump from where it can be swiftly expelled over board by a manual bilge pump, though there is no reason why an electric pump could not be installed.
There is sufficient stowage space beneath the transom to stow a couple of standard size five-gallon fuel tanks, plus the battery box. As standard, the transom has been designed to accommodate a single engine, with an auxiliary engine bracket available as an optional extra. I was told that, on special request, Raider could manufacture a boat with a transom adapted for the installation of a twin-engine rig.
Raider Boats rate the Cuddy 16 as being suited for use with outboard engines up to and including a maximum of 75hp. The test boat was fitted with a Mercury 40hp that I was told was capable of producing speeds of up to a maximum in the region of 25 knots, which will be more than sufficient for many anglers' needs. That said, I agree with Raider that if you regularly fish two or three to a boat and carry the usual mountain of equipment, then opting for an engine in the region of 50-60hp might prove beneficial.
My test has been arranged courtesy of Oceanique, a Raider Boats' appointed dealer, based at Cobb's Quay at Hamworthy in Poole Harbour. The weather during our brief trial was absolutely atrocious with a strong south-easterly wind and out-going spring tide effectively restricting us to the more sheltered waters within the harbour. A quick phone call to the harbour-master provided us with permission to run at speed in one area, where we were greeted with a nasty, short chop of sea that provided reasonable conditions under which to assess the boat.
I found her to be an absolute delight to handle in close quarter situations, within the marina, she responded well to throttle and helm and proved to be an easy boat to operate single-handed. Out on open water she quickly confirmed that she possessed lateral stability inherent with the gull-wing hull design, maintaining a positive attitude even when driving hard through the tightest of turns at speed. If I tried hard and drove her hard into the waves, I could make her slam, but only a minimal reduction in revs were required to provide a thoroughly comfortable ride at speeds that were more than adequate given the prevailing conditions. I spent several hours at the helm of this boat and got to try her under all the situations that any angler would encounter on a typical day's dinghy fishing.
In summary, I can only confirm that, in the 16 Cuddy. Raider Boats have manufactured an absolute winner. I am sure she will become a firm favourite on the UK dinghy angling scene, especially as the asking price for a package as tested, including a trailer, is under £10,000. I highly recommend that any of you looking to buy a 16ft trailer-able fishing boat make every effort to sea trial the Raider 16 Cuddy before making a final decision
Country of manufacture: UK
More details on full specification can be found at http://www.raiderboats.co.uk
I bought my Raider 18 in April 2002, and have found it to be a pretty major improvement on previous boats I've had, latterly a Seahog Hunter - more or
less completely down to the Raider's massive 3 ft freeboard that's higher
than many 28 ft boats I've seen.
This is a large factor in determining how safe you feel/how safe you are in rugged conditions, so on that score the boat lends itself to handling some pretty impressive seas. I've tackled conditions when 8 ft waves have been evident, and the boat has rarely felt like being compromised.
The boat I have is the cuddy version - which is lighter than one with a full bulkhead and offers little secure storage space other than a smallish locker in the console. This might not suit everyone, in which case the version with a fully enclosed cabin might be better, but for my part I reckon the vast deckspace created is a real boon. I found in previous boats that tackle boxes would be shut away inside litle cabin doors, and my mates and I would spend a fair bit of time in the annoying pursuit called 'pass the key' whenever someone needed to get in for a hook! So having an 'open plan' boat is ideal for me.
It's also got vast headroom (6 ft 4 in) and on windy or chilly days, that cabin makes life so much more bearable.
The Raider 18 is potentially a very fast boat - up to 59 mph in tests - but I feel that the 75 horse Mercury four-stroke I run it with gives a fine turn of speed (just under 30 knots) and I doubt if I'd go much higher, as I don't often find conditions calm enough to go even that fast.
In terms of ride quality, the Raider impresses with its ability to perform as a planing boat, but also in its ability to mimic a displacment hull boat; it chugs along happily at 6 knots, in a straight line, without thrashing foam out of the back and needlessly burning petrol, which my Seahog certainly did!
In terms of fuel consumption, being fitted with a four-stroke outboard and hydrofoil fins seems to be a pretty good set-up; I've managed close on 12 mpg on some trips, though if you're hurtling along flat out you can still burn plenty of gas. But a nice cruising speed of about 15-20 knots will let you do 6-8 mpg...which is better than many smaller boats running on two-stroke engines and doing similar sort of speeds.
In terms of space, the Raider will fish four in as much comfort as most smaller boats will fish two. We just sling the tackle bags etc up front and keep the deck clear for fishing, and there's plenty of space for all.
There are some, though to fair they're intimately linked to the upsides - it is a very large boat but also a very light boat...as a result it's prone to catching the wind, and in an area like I fish (eastern Scotland) this at first seemed to be a big minus; however, judicious use of a drogue on windier days has now been incorporated into my crew's routine, and the boat will happily drift at 1 mph or less (ideal drift speed) even in extremely windy conditions.
As my boat is kept in a harbour, I find there is another minus that wouldn't affect those using the boat off a trailer. This is the fact that there is no facility whereby you can walk from the cockpit to the bow.
This means that negotiating past ropes etc to get onto my mooring can be a bit challenging - though as ever you change your working practices and come to terms with whatever you need to! But I do feel a walkaround bow would make life so much simpler.
Buying a Raider 18 will cost you a fair bit more than craft in the 15-16 ft range, but I do feel the expense has been justified due to the improved safety and capability.
As a keen angler, I reckon the bottom line comes down to this: do I catch any more fish with the Raider? And the answer has to be yes - with previous boats I'd often be out in poor conditions and forced to fish limited areas where I could shelter from high winds. Catches, though acceptable, were never as good here as in the more exposed spots - but the Raider lets me get out there more or less every time I'm out, and if I said I'd caught double as many fish since I got the boat I wouldn't be exaggerating.
Disclaimer: Everything written in these reports are based on personal experience and the individual's opinion only. I have tried my best to present the facts correctly, but I/we take no responsibility for any mistakes or omissions.