So when a chance to do something bonkers for your favourite TV show comes by, it would be rude not to give it a fair old crack.
The (non foiling) Foiling Pedallo.
Woefully short on time and speed, but a whole heap of fun and I’m still tinkering with it to try and get it flying. Guy is great, Emma likes his dog.
Thanks to Badger, Mum the pretty decent laminator and the AllSigns guys who helped get this thing together.
After the UK Nationals a month ago Dylan and I sat down and had a chat about what we needed to do to really move the Rocket SSD (Solid State Deck) on. There were some prototypery related build issues with Rocket Raccoon and his boat was still a bare shell in build, so we had the opportunity to change a few things. While the boat was obviously fast with the higher wings and smoother shapes, there was definitely room for improvement.
The forward mast position was causing some problems lowriding in a chop, especially with the extra heft that the Raccoon was carrying, so we’ve moved the mast/deck/daggerboard aft a bit to improve the seaworthy-ness.
While for ages we had the benefit of bigger wand/foil spacing with a small sprit, the Exocet adding a full length bowsprit had made a noticeable catch-up so that was an easy add-on.
Then there was the diet. When you start with something so out of the field it’s really hard to know how to pitch things with material. Raccoon really was solid – actually the best place to start as we wouldn’t have learned anything if it had folded up on the first sail! Then it was just a question of looking at everything and seeing where little losses could be made. Thinner foam here and there, going a bit lighter on the skins, a bit less uni in the ‘I’ beams across the cockpit. It’s all added up nicely and ‘Stingray’, as she is now known, is much closer to the ballpark weight-wise.
It’s been a wild few months, as always a bit too hectic for me and my sailing has suffered – but coming out the other side we’ve come up with something that looks totally badass and is certainly the nicest Moth I’ve ever sailed. Hopefully Dylan can overcome the little tune-up time I’ve left him with and put in a good showing at the Europeans. The SSD Rocket will see production for anyone that wants one, while the high wings, revised geometry and long sprit will all transfer across to the version 3 Rocket for all new boats.
Would love to be out there watching and cheering on, but I’ve got a bit too happy with the grinder while fixing/dismantling Rocket Raccoon and have a long list of rebuild to crack on with. Better make the most – will be sailing again by Paignton GP!
So Emma just reminded me that I do have a website and it looks like I fell off a cliff years ago.
Things have been going along quite nicely really – Dylan bagged the Rocket a top 10 at the Hayling worlds while I’ve been busy playing with Rocket Raccoon, which is now onto version 2. I won’t bore people with the hows and the why’s here, but suffice to say it’s been a very interesting project and I’m really pleased with how it’s all turned out! Theres some pics over on my Facebook page if you don’t know what I’m on about…
I’m just putting the final bits of paint and hardware on, before handing the Raccoon over to Dylan for a few months for testing while I build the second one which will be his actual boat. Hopefully with a bit of time on the water we can put a half decent showing at the Euro’s and see what this badboy is capable of.
Ciao for now
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 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.
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!)
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.
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!