This name is now used for pretty much all the hydrofoil craft on Russian rivers, the Black Sea and the waterways in countries that came under the influence of the Soviet Union. But there was indeed an original Raketa (Rocket).
A brief history of the Raketa (Rocket)
The Raketa was the first type of hydrofoil boats commercially produced in the Soviet Union. They were manufactured from 1957 until the early 1970s.
The first model, the Raketa-1, was built by Krasnoye Sormovo shipbuilding plant in Sormovo, Nizhny Novgorod. On its maiden voyage, on 25 August 1957, it carried 30 passengers from Nizhny Novgorod to Kazan (420 km) in seven hours.
The Raketa Experience
I was in the city of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia the summer of 2004 and had the privilege to travel on a raketa from Krasnoyarsk up to the town Divnogorsk where there is a massive hydro-electic dam built across the river Yenisei . The Yensei is a mighty river that makes our river Thames look like a stream. It rises in Mongolia and flows all the way to the Artic sea.
The river after the dam is still over a mile wide at Krasnoyarsk and the water flows fast. There is a scheduled raketa service to and from Dyivnogorsk. The raketa trips are very popular with Russian tourists and locals. After queuing up for our tickets for which turned out to be a pointless exercise as everyone simply rushed to the gate as soon as the raketa arrived, we boarded. The only sell you tickets for the number of seats available. It’s probably to do with maintaining the stability of the vessel and the fact that the raketa won’t plane if it is overloaded.
The raketa was fast! Especially considering that we were going up river against a strong current. It made the other vessels look as if they were standing still. They views were spectacluar too. Dachas, farms, taiga (birch forest) meeting the river and of’course the spectacular views of the gorge itself as we approached Divnogorsk.
The trip took less than twenty five minutes or so. It was smooth and comfortable all the way.