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Moonraker

 

What we can tell you about this subject starts in the mid 1960's. We do not claim to be complete, so if you have more information for us, please let us know by e-mail so that we can share this information.

In Brundall, Norwich, a company called Aqua Fibre Ltd produced fibreglass hulls. One of the original founders was mr. Vic Bell, who also was the owner of Bell Boats Ltd. He gave Bell Boats the rights to use the fibreglass hulls for building boats.

One of these boats, based on an Ocean 30 hull, was sold to a customer who named it "Moonraker". After this customer passed away Bell Boats was asked to sell this boat. The new owner kept the name "Moonraker" and later asked Bell Boats to produce a more luxurious model. This new boat was soon advertised for sale and due to the great response six more where produced, starting in 1968, as Moonraker 30.


Moonraker 30

In total, 53 Moonraker 30 boats have been made. In 1969 the Moonraker 36 was introduced as the market required a bigger boat. A new company,  Bell Buxton Boat Builders was then formed to produce the Moonraker 36 under the name Moonraker Marine. Bell Buxton produced all in all 122 vessels.

Colin Chapman took over this yard in 1971 and changed its name into Moonraker Marine International. Chapman had been considering designs of a boat so this takeover was carefully planned by him. He redesigned the boat, and more than 30 years later it still looks impressive.


Moonraker 36 as redesigned by Colin Chapman

There are 6 basic versions of this boat but from 1972 onwards only the Chapman redesign was made. Examples of the Moonraker 36 can still be found in countries all over the world  including the USA. Production stopped in oktober 1980. In 1987 the manufacturing started again, by Aqua Bell / East Anglian Marine in Brundall, Norwich. The boats were then called Moonraker Super 36. The last boat is built in 1991 to the manager of Aqua Bell, Vic Bell.

In the period as a hole, more than 400 Moonrakers were built, the first 300 of which were all built before end of 1974.

 

Open wheelhouse / Aft cabin
Open wheelhouse / Aft cockpit
Flybridge / Enclosed wheelhouse / Aft cockpit
Flybridge / Open wheelhouse /Aft cockpit
Flybridge / Open wheelhouse / Aft cabin
Flybridge / Enclosed wheelhouse / Aft cabin
(Colin Chapman)

The ACBC group of companies, owned by Colin Chapman, included JCL Marine, Marauder Marine, Moonraker Marine, Technocraft, Lotus Cars and JPS Formula One amongst the better known.

Colin Chapman wanted to improve production methods, and introduced a revolutionary technique producing one-piece vacuum-injection-moulded GRP hulls for the Marauder 46.
The Vacuum-Injection moulded hulls were developed by 'Technocraft', another member of the ACBC group, in the same ex-war aircraft hangar where the Marauder was developed on the edge of Hethel airfield, next to the Lotus Cars factory in Potash Lane, Hethel in Norfolk (UK).

We thank Mr. Andy Hayward for allowing us to use images and text form his website.

©Andy Haward

The image above shows how the inner mould is carefully put into the outher mould. In fact, these moulds have been "parked" outside the factory, on an unattended  small parking lot, for many years.

The method was eventually used for the production of the Lotus cars and was a patented technique with patents held in many countries around the world.

 

We thank Mr. Andy Hayward for allowing us to use images and text form his website and Mr. Terje Dehn for using images from his website!