Mar 302014
 

Is that the right word?

Since the Nationals last year I managed to get to go sailing twice I think, once at Stone where I had finally got my head around everything and was back near the front, clinging onto the coattails of Rashley and Offer and even sneaking in a second overall. Then once at Draycote in apocalyptic conditions that saw my forestay snap, when the boat blew back upright after a capsize and as the boom was still in the water everything loaded up massively in the 30+ knots we had that day! The ensuing carnage saw a hole in the foredeck and a shredded tramp.

 I thought I’d bagged a 30 knot run too… Unfortunately I give everyone hassle for getting track logs with their peak speeds so I thought I’d better double check and after soaking my GPS in a bowl of rice overnight to recover it showed a 29.45 knots best and a 10 second average of just under 29. Not bad for a 70 kilo runt in the coldest water the UK has to offer!

So Rocket did me proud for a season. Platform and foils are all where I wanted them to be, but rig development was sorely lacking and taking far too long with my brief periods in the boat. I’ve got some big plans for a new boat and wanted to make sure the old girl had a new home and ended up selling her in January to Andrew Blee up at Draycote. This made sure I could start getting the ball rolling with my silly boat plans, but with Me being Me this has taken ages, it’s April and I still only have a hull shell!

But this afternoon, a fairly major piece of the puzzle had started taking shape on my workshop floor, mostly thanks to Badger who lent his joinery skills for the morning (extra points for a Sunday!) and has given me the kick I need.

Parkstone is this weekend. Hoping to do it in a borrowed boat, then probably not sail again for a month while I finish mine. All good prep for my Eurocup campaign this season! Might just make Medemblik at this rate…

2013 Roundup

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Jan 082014
 

2013 has been an interesting season. After launching boat #1 10 months ago we’re now putting the bits on #13 which makes it one of our most successful seasons building wise. On the water was a different story with the boats taking a while to get the setup figured out and finding out that rig development had moved on without us! Top Rocketeer Dylan was unable to make the Nationals too which was a shame as he’s been training a lot in Weymouth and is consistently on the pace.

Personally had a few highlights, like the inlands at Bala which saw some of the most beautiful sailing the UK has to offer and was the first time the Rocket really started to show what she was made of. The Nationals was a great event and it was nice to get a few days of sailing in and make some progress, as it seems all of my sailing this year has been at events! Stone was another good one for me, as I was starting to mix it up with Rashley and Offer at times and had made some more setup gains.

It’s been a lean winter for me now having not sailed since Draycote where I got within a gnats whisker of cracking 30 knots and unfortunately the forestay snapped a bit later – the subsequent mess only just getting sorted out! My faithful steed is on her way to new owner Andrew Blee at Draycote next week and once a new boat for Dylan goes out the door I can get building and go nuts. Had a few ideas running around in my head for a while now and I’m going to commit the cardinal sin and put them all on one boat. Plan to be back on the water in March and aiming to do most of the Eurocup events over the summer.

On the product side, we’ve got some new larger span foils coming in for the bigger guys and potentially a slightly smaller set again as we’ve been playing around with a cut down version of the already quite small Rocket foils and they’ve shown some good promise.

Busy busy!

Jul 302013
 

Okay, okay so I completely failed at blogging at the nationals. Truth is I was having a bit too much fun!

Castle Cove showed all 70 odd boats how to run a great Moth event, with all the volunteers putting in a huge effort making us feel welcome with bacon sarnies galore, the most massive bbq I’ve ever seen and some top notch racing to boot.

The Moth fleet over here has really come along in the last few years with the spread of abilities really tightening up. I think a lot of this is down to just how sailable the boats are now, letting people crack on and learn to race the boat rather than worrying about keeping it in the water! Reliability has also come on hugely, with big Friday seeing winds over 25 knots and barely any epoxy or grinding to be seen or heard.

I had a very mixed few days which started with a big lack of upwind abilities. I was really struggling to get any fullness out of my 16 upwind (plus side, downwinds we’re veeery fast!) and was losing up more than I was gaining down and with the top 30 all being capable Moth sailors meant it was a lot harder to get yourself back in the game.
The windy day went a lot better than I expected with no problems downwind, but my overpowered sail was really causing trouble leading me to get the saw out on my prodder overnight! Saturday saw me back on it a bit more with a bit more all round pace. I bought a used Raptor from Team Ireland (thanks Rory!) on Saturday night and rigged it up with Gio’s CST Elite3 and suddenly could go upwind again having my best result of the week in 7th. Unfortunately this followed with my worst race of the week where I couldn’t do anything right and had to wipe out avoiding traffic in the leeward gate.

So a real mixed bag. Loads of potential in the boat and always faster downhill than the boats I was around and after a couple of days of ‘tuning/biggest event of the year’ I was starting to get Rocket uphill too. If I’m going to continue with any delusions I may have of still being competitive I really need to get back on the rig development and maybe go sailing every now and again (having doubled my time on the water this year at the Nats!)

Final Results:

Place Points Sail No Helm Club
          27 Jun 27 Jun 27 Jun 28 Jun 28 Jun 28 Jun 29 Jun 29 Jun 29 Jun 30 Jun 30 Jun 30 Jun
1 14 4047 Robert Greenhalgh Stokes Bay SC 1 1 1 1 (4) 2 1 2 2 2 1 (59/RET)
2 18 7 Chris Rashley Royal London Yacht Club (3) 2 2 2 1 (3) 2 3 1 1 2 2
3 31 3985 Simon Hiscocks Castle Cove Sailing Club 2 7 4 3 (10) 1 3 1 5 (9) 4 1
4 38 3980 Mike Lennon HISC 4 5 3 (6) 3 (6) 5 5 4 3 3 3
5 62 3942 Jason Belben Stokes Bay Sailing Club 8 4 (9) 5 7 7 6 (11) 8 6 5 6
6 69 3982 Ben Paton Lymington 5 3 6 17 (27) (74/DNC) 7 9 3 4 10 5
7 79 40 Tom Offer Rock 11 (16) 5 8 2 4 (65/OCS) 13 6 7 15 8
8 81 3795 Peter Barton Royal Lymington YC 12 9 (17) 9 5 12 8 6 7 5 8 (15)
9 92 3945 Eelco Boers de roerkoning 13 11 12 7 12 11 4 4 11 (14) (16) 7
10 98 3941 Gareth Davies stone sailing club 10 6 16 10 11 9 9 7 10 (41) (28) 10
11 102 4037 Jason Russell HISC 6 12 10 12 8 8 14 10 13 (16) 9 (16)
12 119 5 Mike Cooke South West Cider Squad 9 15 11 19 18 (74/DNC) 11 8 9 12 7 (28)
13 142 3916 James Phare Queen Mary SC 7 20 (40) 4 6 5 20 19 15 21 25 (38)
14 147 3607 Olivier Vidal   (21) 17 20 11 13 13 21 12 12 17 11 (25)
15 151 3729 Phillip Kasermann   15 10 (30) 13 15 10 15 14 14 (30) 19 26
16 158 3972 Yann Andrillon ASNQ 18 18 19 18 14 15 10 16 17 (25) 13 (27)
17 163 4033 Ricky Tagg Hayling Island 17 8 7 (32) 21 21 30 29 (58/RET) 11 6 13
18 165 3622 Fabien Froesch SNG 16 13 13 (23) 22 19 16 15 (24) 19 23 9
19 175 3614 Doug Pybus QMSC 14 23 (26) 21 16 17 12 17 23 (29) 21 11
20 180 3944 Richard Westbury Bartley SC (33) 21 14 (26) 20 18 13 23 26 15 18 12
21 191 3711 Dan Ward Frensham Ponds 20 19 (35) 14 9 14 25 30 16 20 (35) 24
22 204 3981 Simon Reynolds Whitstable Yacht Club 22 (30) 24 16 17 16 23 25 20 (32) 24 17
23 224 3592 Rory Fitzpatrick NYC/RYC 24 24 36 20 33/RET (74/DNC) 18 21 22 (62/OCS) 12 14
24 247 3870 Ollie Holden HISC 25 25 22 25 25 22 27 24 28 24 (31) (31)
25 252 3764 Dan Vincent Stokes Bay Sailing Club 32 (33) 23 > 22 19 23 26 (33) 31 18 29 29
26 254 3915 Good Morgan BRYC 28 32 27 41/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 22 22 33 8 22 19
27 257 3684 Sven Kloppenburg RSV/SCR 31 26 25 36 (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 28 28 25 22 14 22
28 269 940 Kevin Ellway   26 40 15 41/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 32 36 29 10 20 20
29 295 3947 Leigh Albrecht QMSC 23 27 31 40 (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 31 26 34 35 30 18
30 300 4042 Giovanni Galeotti RYCB 29 44 42 15 23 24 39 31 19 34 (46) (59/RET)
31 323 3718 Anthony Rezzoug ASNQ (58/RET) 29 48 41/RET (74/DNS) 29 24 20 18 37 40 37
32 328 3943 Richard Edwards Parkstone YC 27 45 28 41/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 17 18 41 44 33 34
33 328 4045 Matthew Ponsford HISC 36 35 34 41/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 33 34 30 28 34 23
34 332 3766 Alex Koukourakis Eastbourne Soverign SC 58/RET 56/RET 37 41/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 19 27 21 26 26 21
35 337 3635 John Chambers Coal Harbour 37 34 32 (74/DNC) 24 27 34 37 (43) 38 38 36
36 350 3995 Graham Simmonds   38 36 21 (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 29 32 27 36 27 30
37 362 3849 Constantijn Weber   40 41 (47) 34 28 28 37 42 36 33 (45) 43
38 366 3730 Jon Peats Castle Cove Sailing Club (58/RET) 37 50 30 26 25 35 38 38 (57) 43 44
39 383 3946 Paul Beard Queen Mary SC 35 ass="seriespoints row0040" title="Normal finisher">39 33 41/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 36 41 40 39 39 40
40 384 3940 Jo Evans Stokes Bay Sailing Club 39 42 29 (74/DNS) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 38 44 37 13 36 32
41 390 3830 John Clifton Shoreham SC 42 43 41 33 33/RET (74/DNC) (57) 39 32 42 52 33
42 405 3891 David Edwards TATA Steel SC 19 14 8 31 30 20 61/RET (74/DNS) (74/DNS) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC
43 423 3715 Chris Jeeves   51 50 (53) 35 31 (74/DNC) 40 45 46 31 49 45
44 425 3758 Jono Pank Castle Cove Sailing Club 41 38 49 38 33/RET (74/DNC) (55) 43 42 43 47 51
45 433 3924 Tim Penfold HISC 30 28 38 27 (74/DNC) 30 61/RET (74/DNS) 74/DNS 74/DNC 32 39
46 448 3935 Claire Gavigniaux   50 49 46 37 32 31/RET 54 51 48 (55) (56) 50
47 449 3674 Neil Baker HISC 34 22 18 24 29 26 (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC
48 450 3914 Ole Frey   43 47 44 41/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 41 48 44 40 55 47
49 455 3605 Cameron Stewart HISC 44 48 57/RET 28 33/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 50 45 54 48 48
50 455 3994 Damien Le Houerou   45 46 52 (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 44 40 35 47 37 35
51 496 3432 Kyle Stoneham TBYC 47 52 54 39 33/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 52 54 49 61 55
52 498 42 Phil Oligario Stokes Bay SC 56 56/RET 45 41/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 43 46 49 74/DNC 42 46
53 513 3601 Hans Rasmussen lass="seriesclub row0054">  52 54 56 41/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 47 54 51 50 54 54
54 522 4043 Paul Hayden   48 56/RET 39 41/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 42 35 39 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC
55 531 3312 Miles Burrage TBYC 54 53 55 41/RET (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 56 55 53 52 60 52
56 536 3893 Tom Lambert   49 51 51 (74/DNS) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 45 49 58/RET 74/DNC 44 41
57 539 3632 Martin Fear Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club 46 31 43 29 33/RET (74/DNC) 61/RET (74/DNS) 74/DNS 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC
58 543 3106 Helen Rollinson Castle Cove Sailing Club 53 56/RET (74/DNS) 41/RET (74/DNC) 74/DNC 51 53 52 48 59 56
59 552 3759 Nic Streatfeild Rutland 55 56/RET (74/DNC) 41/RET (74/DNC) 74/DNC 49 56 58/RET 46 58 59/RET
60 566 3959 Paul Goodison   (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 27 17 4
61 584 3861 Annalise Murphey   (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 46 47 47 56 50 42
62 597 3757 Andrew Blee Draycote Water SC (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 48 58 50 45 51 49
63 623 3837 David Simmonds Hayling Island SC (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNS 74/DNC 74/DNC 58 57 55 51 53 53
64 649 3254 Keri Harris   (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 59 59 56 60 62 57
65 656 3665 Unknown   (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 23 41 74/DNC
66 659 3763 Simon Philbrick Poole YC (74/DNS) (74/DNS) 74/DNS 74/DNS 74/DNC 74/DNC 53 74/DNC 57 58 63 58
67 s="seriesntpts row0068">664 3495 Stuart Scott scalingdam 57 55 (74/DNC) (74/DNS) 74/DNC 74/DNC 50 74/DNC 58/RET 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC
68 666 395 Jim McMillan   (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 52 60/RET 74/DNS 53 57 74/DNC
69 712 3621 Ken Barker Parkstone YC (74/DNS) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNS 74/DNC 74/DNC 60 60/RET 74/DNS 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC
70 725 3954 Unknown   (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 59 74/DNC 74/DNC
71= 740 3437 Unknown   (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC
72= 740 3946 Paul Beard Queen Mary SC (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC
73= 740 3934 Damien Le Houerou ASQ (74/DNC) (74/DNC) 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 74/DNC 7
4/DNC
74/DNC 74/DNC
Jul 032013
 
c/o Alex Cheshire

Rocket c/o Alex Cheshire

All 5 of the new Rockets made it down to the 70 boat Nationals down in Weymouth last week for 4 days of full on racing in everything from marginal foiling to full on 25 knot winds.

It’s clear that the UK fleet has really stepped up a gear in the last season with the top of the fleet running very professional campaigns and testing multiple mast and sail combinations. Top of Rocket Racing was Cookie finishing in 12th. James Phare ran Rocket foils on his Ninja and posted some great top 10 results on the breezey day. Matt Ponsford took the top under 21 spot and posted a solid top-half of the fleet result despite only having taken delivery of his boat 2 weeks earlier.

All of the boats had great downwind speed and plenty of depth and regularly able to gybe inside others and make better vmg. Cookie experimented with a Raptor sail on the final day and was back on the pace upwind.

We’ve been working on feedback from Team Ninja to beef up parts of the boat, including controls, foils and torsional stiffness and it’s testament to all the years of Moth development that we suffered no breakages with the exception of Cookie’s Prodder which made a bid for freedom from his silly rod rigging.

With the nationals now out of the way there is still a good season of open events to get to and the next one for Mike is the Torbay regatta weekend.

Jun 102013
 

For a while my blogging was inversely proportional to my sailing time, choosing to spend time on the water. That’s gone out the window this year and my blogging is pretty much on par with my sailing time!

I worked out the other day that my Moth sailing hours are barely into double figures this year, and that includes the recent inlands at Bala which is pretty much the only event I’ve made it to! Thankfully it turned out to be a belter, with beautiful sunshine and awesome breezes on the Sunday. Rocket is proving to be a trusty companion for me, with plenty of pace and nice easy handling. While I ended up third in the event, it was a close run thing and my missing the start of race 4 (by half the beat!) cost me dearly. Badger is back on it, in his Rocket Powered M2 – slowly getting the hang of setting that up…

Rocket development is proceeding apace, with boats 5 and 6 in build at the moment. Gio and Dylan Fletcher are providing valuable tuning feedback and we’re slowly getting an understanding of how the boats like to be setup and they’re proving to be pretty quick at first launch now which is a good sign of how the setups are coming together.

Suffice to say I plan on being on the water at the Nationals in plenty of time for the starts, even if I don’t get any hours in beforehand! It’s shaping up to be a great event too, with nearly 40 boats entered within the first few days of registration and plenty of Euro folk heading over for the chance to win loads of cake by the sounds of it.

Sounds like my kind of event!

Feb 272013
 

The RYA Dinghy Show will be this weekend at Alexandra Palace. Well worth a visit to see the latest in Moth Innovation along with the Exocet ;-p

We’ll be displaying Chris Rashleys new boat, along with the first Rocket and both Simon Maguire and I will be on hand all weekend to hopefully answer all your questions, as long as they don’t all consist of questions about the wand!

Hopefully see you all there!

Feb 272013
 

We’ve launched a brand new International Moth, which we believe will be even faster than the very successful Ninja design. The first boat will be turning heads at the RYA Dinghy Show this weekend, showing off the latest in Moth design and technology.

The Rocket, which is being built here at Aardvark HQ, is an innovative new design that will stand out from the rest. Its distinctive bow-sprit wand and flashy paint job will be sure to catch the eyes of visitors to the International Moth stand (Stand C34).

The bow-sprit wand, teamed with a mast and centre foil position that is much further forward than other designs, will improve the boat’s longitudinal stability. This should improve control and reduce drag, making the boat easier to handle around the course.

Mike Cooke, who heads up Aardvark, launched the first Rocket in January. With its profiled hiking bars and striking metallic paint job, it certainly looks the part, and he is confident that the boat will perform as well as it looks:

“The launch of the Rocket is really exciting for Aardvark Technologies. We’ve been working on the design and thinking about improvements to the build process for a while now, and its brilliant to see the new boat on the water.

“The hull design is a step on from the Ninja, with more buoyancy in the bow. We tested the bow-sprit wand on an adapted Ninja last year, and feedback was good. The boat was first at both the German and Swiss Nationals, so it made absolute sense to take this feature through to the new design.”

The Rocket has a great race pedigree, with its predecessor, the Ninja, winning the UK National Championships twice, as well as the Europeans in 2011.  And with top 49er sailor Dylan Fletcher having already placed his order, it seems certain that the Rocket will build on that success.

Mike will be on hand both days of the Dinghy Show to answer any questions and talk boats.

Feb 102013
 

Rocket Moth rigged for her maiden voyage

The new Rocket Moth design has taken to the water, with a tune up sail at Queen Mary against the Ninja death squad followed by the Tiger Pursuit last Sunday. Early impressions are great and it’ll be good to start getting some air miles in.

Order book is fast filling up and it’s looking like a busy season!

Jan 272013
 
So the Rocket finally took to the skies at Queen Mary yesterday. I’ll post a bit more in depth later on but I figured I ought to put something up for those poor people not on Facebook ;-) . Things went hitch free thankfully and I spend a good couple of hours blasting around trying to remember how to sail (not been in a boat since October) and starting to figure out what settings need tweaking.
You’ll have to forgive the ridiculously high boom, this was before I started playing with everything to get it all in the right place!
 

Jan 082013
 

So, it’s 2013. Wow – that one crept up pretty rapidly.

I’ve not sailed now since the Hayling open (which I failed to blog about as it sucked man balls) and as I’ve been boatless I was intrigued to see how fired I’d be when I finally got around to the thought of sailing again!

Suffice to say, I’m pretty excited about the whole thing. The build process for the Rocket has been a long one as I’ve been relying heavily on pulling favours for some major items (thanks Dave!) but as the end of it all approaches I’ve got a CnC’d hull blank and mould, a pretty awesome looking new mainfoil mould and a rudder mould landing any day. There’s a good stash of new thinking on this boat mostly based on my experience with the Ninja builds, I had a good blueprint in my head as to where I wanted to go with it all and a lot of it is the sort of thing you can only do with a fresh start – no ties to the past or backwards compatibility. I suppose all will be revealed and if you’ve been following my Facebook page you’ll probably have seen a few hints.

So, with my Fresh Start (TM) thinking in mind I’ve resigned from Cheddar. I’ll probably sail a couple of times there in the winter series but I suspect I’ll be doing most of my sailing from either Queen Mary or Weymouth – it’ll be a mission, but the competition is what I need to try to bring myself back up to scratch and give the Rocket it’s best chance. I’ve not been getting much use out of BCYC and there’s all sorts of behind the scenes nobbery with the committee running the place that’s forced other members out and it’s just not a great place to hang out.

Not sure what that means for the blog, but at least I still live near Bristol….

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