Buying an old moth, a Bladerider. Mistake or not?

I decided to leave the mountains (at least as a full time resident) and am back near the water, so its time for a boat.  Boat prices went bonkers while I was buried in snow, it has been almost 10 years, so my choices for a fun boat are limited.  Melges 24s are out, old boats (two digit sail numbers) some how got more expensive then they were 10 years ago.  Everything else with lead looks boring.  And who is paying $6-10k for a used Laser? WTF!

I found a Bladerider, well loved, not upgraded/modernized in the past 5+ years.  Its a late 2000s boat, with a 3452 Moth class sticker on the transom.  Im happy on the price of entry, and have been digging into all the old forum posts about moths.  Phil S, you appear to be the moth wizard, thank you for posting! 

I asked the current owner of the moth which Bladerider it is, and he believes its a X8, but isnt sure.  Does the class have a record of which boats were build by who?  Or is the moth class not that organized?  Or am I wasting time digging into what type of Bladerider it is, and just get sailing?

Im not an olympic champion, world champion, or even a fleet champion, just a guy who really likes to go fast.  I built Lightnings for a hot second about 20 years ago, and am not afraid of a cutting wheel, or mixing up some west systems, even though I might be a tad rusty on modern boat building techniques.  I need a project in my life now that Im done building the perfect ski quiver (not that those are ever complete).  I have no dreams of winning a Moth Worlds, well it would be cool but its not going to happen, and as other threads have stated, I just dont want to get passed in local races.  Can these boats still be brought up to speed? 

Money doesn't grow on trees for me, and I dont mind getting dirty/beat up, so is getting an older boat to learn on and as a project terrible idea?  It seems like the easiest/first upgrade is the foils, find a generation or two old that fit the boat?  Probably Mach 2s?  After that is lowering the mast/upgrading the vang my next project, or adding a bowsprit for the wand a better project?

Thanks for the help.  This is going to be a good project.

 

Phil S

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You asked:

3452 is probably not an X8.   Association records show 3360 was a Taiwan built BR Fx and 3380 was an early Mach2 so I doubt 3452 was built by Maconaughy. Consequently build quality becomes a big question. There were some atrocious BRs from the Taiwan builder. Look for pin holes in the hull skin generally, some leaked badly. Vinyl wrap is the fix. Check for cracks under the front wing sockets, repairable. Check the vang anchorage under the mast step. these wear out and are hard to repair. Check all the metal bits slide when they need to and don't when they should not. 

If it has an alloy gantry and spreaders it may be the very basic Taiwan model with glass hull and the build on these is even worse. Stay away.

It is hard to upgrade foils on a BR. The CB case is too small for a Mach2 CB. The rudder gantry is not adjustable and the axis is too vertical. BRs are notorious for the rudder stalling over 20kts because the leading edge can not be raked forward a few degrees to prevent ventilation. Other upgrades are not worth then effort, the new state of teh art is now quite different in layout and strength.

But if you just want to potter about by yourself at 20+ knots it might be good value. As well as carbon skills you will need some metal work skills. Not many spares are still available but some Mach2 parts can be used. 

 
Thanks Phil.

From the few photos of X8s Ive seen online, this boat looks like it has the same red trim.  Not sure if that was a stock option on all the moths built by Bladerider or just the x8s.  I asked McConaghy via their websites online chat. 

3452 was apparently built in 2007.  McConaghy's website is saying the first Mach 1 wasnt launched until 1/1/2010 and an early Mach 2 is 3380.  Was McConaghy testing the Mach 2 for 3+ years before selling them to the general public?  Or does the class not issue numbers in order?  Could the year be off and 3452 be built a lot later?  Now that Im digging, Glenn Raphael sailed 3452 to 20th place in the gorge Worlds in 2009, Outteridge sailed 3456 that same year.  None of the boats around the same sail number in the pictures Ive seen, have x8 on them.  It was a Team Puma boat in the gorge, which matches the one sail that comes with it.  What doesnt match is the hull in 2009 was white with red bladerider trim and the hull is currently black. 

Im going to have to do some more digging.  Looks like it isnt an x8, and if its a Taiwanese boat, from what you are saying, I should stay away because parts will soon be an issue.

Should I hold out and wait for an earlier Mach 2 to come available?  Sounds like that would be a better boat for learning and to race some day.





 






 


 








 

WCB

Super Anarchist
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Thanks Phil.

From the few photos of X8s Ive seen online, this boat looks like it has the same red trim.  Not sure if that was a stock option on all the moths built by Bladerider or just the x8s.  I asked McConaghy via their websites online chat. 

3452 was apparently built in 2007.  McConaghy's website is saying the first Mach 1 wasnt launched until 1/1/2010 and an early Mach 2 is 3380.  Was McConaghy testing the Mach 2 for 3+ years before selling them to the general public?  Or does the class not issue numbers in order?  Could the year be off and 3452 be built a lot later?  Now that Im digging, Glenn Raphael sailed 3452 to 20th place in the gorge Worlds in 2009, Outteridge sailed 3456 that same year.  None of the boats around the same sail number in the pictures Ive seen, have x8 on them.  It was a Team Puma boat in the gorge, which matches the one sail that comes with it.  What doesnt match is the hull in 2009 was white with red bladerider trim and the hull is currently black. 

Im going to have to do some more digging.  Looks like it isnt an x8, and if its a Taiwanese boat, from what you are saying, I should stay away because parts will soon be an issue.

Should I hold out and wait for an earlier Mach 2 to come available?  Sounds like that would be a better boat for learning and to race some day.





 






 


 
Matt, I don't think you need to worry about parts.  Mach 2 had been selling Bladerider parts and companies like Sailing Bits have lots of needed parts too.  

Where are you seeing used Lasers for $6-10k?  The worst I've seen is a 2008 for $5500.  Otherwise I've seen nothing north of $6k for some recent boats.

 

Ncik

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Send photos.

I believe sail/boat numbers were issued to production builders in batches, so they may not match chronological build dates.

 
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Phil S

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I think Nick has it. Numbers were sold by ISAF in batches and the boat chronology does not match the numbers. It is quite possible that 3452 is a X8, and based on the regatta history and your observation its likely. Bora had the only M2 at the Gorge WC. The first M2 was raced at the Aust Geelong Nationals the previous January. And that was also where the Taiwan BRs appeared and failed the quality test.


 

17mika

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Milan, Italy
I agree with what said. photos would help identify the "type" of BR and to see if any good upgrades were made from 2007.

Things can be done, but in particular, upgrading mainfoil will not be easy to a mach2, unless you change the CB case. I remember rocket foils fit BR case, but you fill find none in the US I guess. then other priority would be in stiffening a lot both the boom somewhat reinforcing the vang attachment point if it is still stock
Mic

 
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I attached a few pictures below.  Couldnt get them all to be small enough to fit one post.  He sent me a few others that dont show much else other than things in bags.  Boat definitely has lots of bags...

Boat/hull numbers being sold in batches makes sense.  Bladerider had 8 or 10 boats all in order racing at the Gorge in 09, with the people in the boats were all rock stars, and how shipping would work from Asia, it makes sense BR stuffed a bunch of boats into a 40ft container and sent them to the Gorge.  If the Taiwanese BRs showed up in early 09 down-under, and there were only a few of them ever made, I'm comfortable presuming this isnt one of them and an x8 or another version of a BR.

A Mach2.2 showed up for sale in the US recently too.  Its 4x as much, but in my budget, sounds like thats a better option to learn on, work on, and hopefully make left turns around large bright floating balloons some day.  Thoughts?

Screen Shot 2022-05-12 at 8.51.02 AM.png

 
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Phil S

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Sydney
I think its an X8.

The red on the top of the foredeck and under the wing sockets seems unusual and may indicate that its had some strengthenning at some stage. 
As Michael says BRs need to be toughened up for modern vang loads, foredeck, boom and anchor points can all give if not strengthened.

The boat looks as good as new and will sail like a BR did back when it was new. Thats about 2/3 the speed of a new moth at maybe 10% of the price? If that suits your purpose buy it.

 
I went with the Mach 2.2.  The story behind the Bladerider just kept getting weirder and weirder.  The Mach 2 has a travel box, a bunch of extra parts and sails, and yeah, just seems like a better boat to learn on/travel with.  Im excited to see how this goes.  I cant get it until next weekend, so Ill keep everyone updated as this process progresses.  I think Ill be swimming a bit this summer.

 
Slightly different question for anyone still following this, gear when sailing, what do people wear?  I have a 3/4mill wetsuit and a good dinghy lifejacket.  Booties/sailing sneakers?  Old hat and old sunglasses? And my drivers license for when I get a speeding ticket from the Rye Police for doing 30 in a 5mph no wake zone...

 
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Phil S

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Sydney
Search out other moth sailors and learn from their past mistakes, it speeds things up considerably. Read all the mach2 web site set up tips and watch all the YouTube videos.

Make sure the pushrod mechanics works smoothly. Start with a short wand, a few degrees of down flap with tap wand back at 45 deg. Start with 10-12kts winds and flat water, safe leeward shore and an easy walk home for the trolley. You will not get back home easily the first few tries.  Best advice is move the sheet way more than you move the tiller. And the most common call for new moth sailors is pull the vang on harder, and get the leeward wing out of the water.

Depending on the air and water temp, a wetsuit with long legs and sleeves is handy to absorb some impact with stays and water as you learn to get the systems set up correctly. Especially if the water is rough, and then a crash hat might be useful too.

In Sydney summer with air in high 20s and water near 20c I wear full length lycra with neoprene padded knees and backside. I always wear boots but thats more to do with what you are walking on when launching.

 
Somewhere in my memory is a story where this did happen with a Moth.... :lol:
The guy who had a moth at American Yacht Club in Rye, NY got a few 'speeding' tickets from the local harbor patrol/police for going down the channel on the foils when its a 5kts zone.  Granted he had about 1/3 mile sail from the dinghy dock, through the mooring field, to Long Island Sound.  This was around 2011ish when I was sailing out of there a lot.  Everyone thought it was funny the first time.  The second time it was slightly less funny to him, but still really funny to the rest of us.  I left for the mountains shortly after that and did not hear if it happened again.

Search out other moth sailors and learn from their past mistakes, it speeds things up considerably. Read all the mach2 web site set up tips and watch all the YouTube videos.

Make sure the pushrod mechanics works smoothly. Start with a short wand, a few degrees of down flap with tap wand back at 45 deg. Start with 10-12kts winds and flat water, safe leeward shore and an easy walk home for the trolley. You will not get back home easily the first few tries.  Best advice is move the sheet way more than you move the tiller. And the most common call for new moth sailors is pull the vang on harder, and get the leeward wing out of the water.

Depending on the air and water temp, a wetsuit with long legs and sleeves is handy to absorb some impact with stays and water as you learn to get the systems set up correctly. Especially if the water is rough, and then a crash hat might be useful too.

In Sydney summer with air in high 20s and water near 20c I wear full length lycra with neoprene padded knees and backside. I always wear boots but thats more to do with what you are walking on when launching.
Thanks Phil.  The only other moth owner in the area traded his boat for a Laser over the winter.  A buddy does have a Waszp (I guess its a moth but not a moth?), and there is a decent foiling fleet in Toronto, about 90 min away.  I do own a big truck, so moving it around wont be too big of an issue.  Im going to try to go to the moth regatta in Newport, RI this summer.

Do people lube the pushrod mechanism to insure it works smoothly? 

Im going to spend a few hours with the guy selling me the boat getting it set up properly.  We wont have time to sail it then, so it will go back in the box to get brought home.  I can find those conditions.  Our end of Lake Erie has an ~2.5 mile 15ft/5m tall break wall about half a mile from shore that protects the shore.  Im hoping to learn behind that.  Once I get comfortable ripping around, Ill venture into the lake, but it gets rough when its windy, its a very shallow lake for being as big as it is, so that will take time.  3-6ft chop probably and a new Moth sailor probably dont mix, ha!

More sheet, less tiller.  I watched the North video where Tom Slingsby talks about tuning the boat and he says its a lot of vang and cummingham for tune, even more than main sheet at times.  I figure Im in for a lot of swimming.  Flat and windward heel is fast.  That I can do.

The water is currently 46F/8C, so Ill be in the full wetsuit to stay warm AND hopefully offer some protection from the stays/water.  I will make sure to learn the systems so I can grab the lines I need with out looking.  It seems I'll be spending my time looking where Im going instead of at the sail trim/tune.  Im going to have to learn how to feel the boat. The lake will get to close to 80F/27C in August, so my wet suit will get worn a lot.

I do have an extra helmet around, sounds like thats coming out to start at least.  It does have a GoPro mount, so Ill try to get some footage of epic crashes!

 

Ncik

Super Anarchist
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Flat and windward heel is fast required.
FIFY

The boats can't be sailed with leeward heel, fast or slow. Become comfortable low speed sailing with the windward wing in, and just above, the water. Accelerate to foiling from there.

Something to watch to begin your education.




 
Matt:

Good luck on your foiling adventure!   I think you made a good decision going with the Mach 2.   I haven't sailed a Bladerider, but there are a lot of Mach 2's out there, being actively sailed so when you have setup or technique questions, there will be many folks that can answer them.   I've sailed 2 different Mach 2's and an Exocet.   All belonging over the years to a good friend of mine who is a professional sailor.   What I've learned, primarily from watching my buddy master his Moths, is that its like painting.....lots of preparation is key to success!   Learning how to set the boat up is just as important as learning the technique of sailing it.   You can do it on your own if you are a skilled, experienced sailor, but your learning curve will be way faster if you can connect with the fleet in Toronto and get invited over for a weekend of tuning and sailing.   In my experience, the Moth sailors are almost always very willing to help out new Moth owners get up to speed.    

I also strongly recommend inviting a friend with a motorboat to head out with you until you get confident sailing it.   You will swim a lot, and its like learning to windsurf, you only have so many capsizes before you are beat, especially in cold water.   Having a motor boat nearby allows you to rest and warm up while your buddy has a try learning to foil too.   That's how I got my chance, my Boston Whaler was in the water late in the season when my friend brought his first Mach 2 home.   Plus, what's the fun of a good crash if you don't have a buddy around to laugh at you?   And stuff does break on the boats that makes it hard or impossible to get home on your own, so the crashboat can be really useful in getting your boat back to shore quickly and safely.   Once you have some experience and know the conditions you are confident it, you'll be able to sail on your own, but for a while, having a motorboat backup is really, really helpful.  

Have a great time!   Few sensations are as amazing as a moth ripping along at speed, I'd put it right up there with a great powder day on the mountains!

Doug

 
Thanks Doug and Ncik.  Im really excited and after a brief delay, and a failed attempt to buy an old suspiciously cheap Melges 24, I pick up the Mach 2 on Saturday. 

Im going to try to get to Newport, RI this summer if/when they release a schedule of races.  Less to race and more to hopefully get tips while attempting to round bouys. 

Thanks for the advice about having a coach boat close by.  Im working on that.  Buffalo is not known for its dinghy sailing.  You want to host a 50 boat 36.7 regatta, we got you.  You want to host a 70+ boat J22 regatta, been there done that.  You want to sail a Moth, Laser, Sunfish, Hobie, etc, good luck finding some place to sail out of.  The one good spot that is for sale on the waterfront, the City of Buffalo ( I think they own it) wants $12,000,000 for it, that doesn't include what building out a dinghy sailing marina/club would cost.

Launching question.  The club I am going to join and hopefully be a member at has docks for big boats, we have lots of docks for big boats, and a narrow long dock for the dry sail hoists with a 10 ft wall on the land side of the dock.  There is a guest dock I thought would be perfect, but one of the members is using it for his Farr 60 this summer.  I watched all the beach launch videos I could find, are they the only videos I could find about launching a boat because that is the best way to launch a Moth?  Is it possible to dock launch a Moth but just not done because the boats are fragile?  The rowing club down the street has what would be an awesome place to launch a Moth, or any other dinghy that is on a dolly, but they are exclusively crew shells at this time.

Thanks Doug and Ncik.  Im really excited and after a brief delay, and a failed attempt to buy an old suspiciously cheap Melges 24, I pick up the Mach 2 on Saturday. 

Im going to try to get to Newport, RI this summer if/when they release a schedule of races.  Less to race and more to hopefully get tips while attempting to round bouys. 

Thanks for the advice about having a coach boat close by.  Im working on that.  Buffalo is not known for its dinghy sailing.  You want to host a 50 boat 36.7 regatta, we got you.  You want to host a 70+ boat J22 regatta, been there done that.  You want to sail a Moth, Laser, Sunfish, Hobie, etc, good luck finding some place to sail out of.  The one good spot that is for sale on the waterfront, the City of Buffalo ( I think they own it) wants $12,000,000 for it, that doesn't include what building out a dinghy sailing marina/club would cost.

Launching question.  The club I am going to join and hopefully be a member at has docks for big boats, we have lots of docks for big boats, and a narrow long dock for the dry sail hoists with a 10 ft wall on the land side of the dock.  There is a guest dock I thought would be perfect, but one of the members is using it for his Farr 60 this summer.  I watched all the beach launch videos I could find, are they the only videos I could find about launching a boat because that is the best way to launch a Moth?  Is it possible to dock launch a Moth but just not done because the boats are fragile?  The rowing club down the street has what would be an awesome place to launch a Moth, or any other dinghy that is on a dolly, but they are exclusively crew shells at this time.

Upgrade questions.  A medium flex nearly new 5100mm mast is for sale near by $925.  Should I consider it with the plan to go to the shorter mast?  Or should I look at adding the bowsprit wand upgrade first? The boat has a straight boom still.  What order should I look at for upgrades?  Or are Mach 2.2s not really competitive and I should sail it as it is, learn to foil, and in a few years decided if I want/need a newer boat?

 
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Phil S

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Sydney
You can launch a moth from a dock but its not easy and not always viable. I have done it a few times where I had few other options but never felt really comfortable. Too much can go wrong.

1. The dock needs to be no more than about 0.4m above the water.

2. The wind needs to be blowing along the edge of the dock so the boat will sit there almost stable while you get on and push off. And you need enough space both right and left to 1. bear away after getting on and 2. to luff up and stop when you get back again after your sail.

3. You need a mast length of space from the dock edge back at 90deg to fit the boat on its side with the wing resting near the edge of the dock.

Technique:

Rig the boat, capsize it and fit foils. Carry it to the edge of the dock, bow to wind, mast away from the water and rest the wing near and parallel to the dock edge. Untie the mainsheet (tied up for the carry), then when ready lift the mast and rotate the boat into the water. Hold the stays and wings. When you get brave, push the boat strongly forward and jump into the centre of the boat. You should have enough momentum to ease the helm away from the dock, sheet on and sail away. If you do not have enough momentum you can get into irons and capsize, and being so close to the dock this will end up in disaster as you and your rig are close to the barnacles growing under the dock.

When you have finished sailing, getting back to the dock is another new skill to learn. A bit like docking any boat but way harder with a moth. Come in slow and downwind, and luff up so as to loose all way when you are alongside your target. Except a moth has little momentum, lots of windage and gets very unstable when the rig has no wind in it. You have to be able to judge how much momentum your moth has, and how much windage will slow it down, maintain good balance with the wings level and steer accurately so that the wing ends up above the dock and the hull does not hit it. Then at the exactly right moment you have to jump from the middle of your moth (with the boom impeding your movement) to the dock, clearing the wings, quickly turning to grab the stays or wing and stop the hull drifting into the dock. Mostly at this stage you are too tired to be accurate so just leaning the boat over so the wings lands on the dock works OK so long as the dock is not aggressive concrete or fitted with mooring bollards.  Then all you need to do is grab the stays and capsize the boat onto the dock, resting on the wing and mast tip. Tie up mainsheet and carry it to the wherever you left your trolley.

Mast, short rig, bent boom, sprit and any other upgrades? Spend 6 months learning moth sailing, foiling and getting back to shore safely, then start that conversation again. If you master this boat and can get the max from it, its probably better value to sell it on for a bit less than you paid for it, and buy something newer and more expensive with some of the upgrades you desire. Spending money on old boats is lost money, it never adds to the retail value of an old boat. It only makes sense when you can upgrade at minimal cost.

 

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