Yeah, I'm still here

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!

Dinghy Show this weekend

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!

Rocket Moth on display at the RYA Dinghy Show

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.

Rocket Launch

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!

Rocket Launcher

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!






Fresh start

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….

Ninja 3767 (NOW SOLD)

Ninja 3767 up for sale. She’s a 2010 Ninja that I’ve had back to fully pimp out. All the control systems are now current, current spec mast and a set of prototype cut down foils. I’ve been sailing the boat since Garda and she’s been going very well indeed.

Recently refinished in metallic purple
Good condition MSL13 sail (not the one in the sailing pic, that’s my knackered MSL10!)
Custom Aardspar skinny mast with only 6 months use
Southern Boom
Cut down foils (maybe not suited for heavyweights) recently refurbished
Oligroglio adjustable wand
Adjustable pushrod
Adjustable rudder
Foil bags
Top cover
Launching trolley

In theory there is an unconventional boatbox which should be good for a trip across Europe. If you are overseas and looking for a boat I can arrange shipping. I’ll warranty the boat in the UK for 3 months, but would need to agree some terms for overseas buyers.


Weymouth Moth open

The first GP event of the new 2012/13 season kicked off over the weekend down at Weymouth. Foiltown put on it’s usual mix of conditions for us which resulted in one beautiful days sailing followed by something truly biblical which meant we only got one days sailing in.

Gareth Davies was Mr consistent over the 4 races on the Saturday, always making sure he was there or thereabouts leaving it to the rest of us to try to lose it, which we all succeeded in doing to some degree with failed tacks, missed mark roundings and all sorts of shenanigins. Tom Offer continued his good form with a 1,2,4 to take second. Special Agent Barton took third with a 2,3,3 and I took fourth with a 1,3,5. Overall results here
It was a bit of a shame the turnout was so down, but it’s still pretty soon after Garda and a lot of people are between boats so I’ve got high hopes for the end of season event at HISC in a few weeks time. Helen and the folks at Castle Cove put on a great event for us and I reckon the Nationals here next year will be THE event to be at.

After seeing off Lord Shredder at Garda, my current steed is a 2 year old Ninja which I’ve been refurbishing and bringing up to current spec when I’ve had some spare time and is now fitted with a set of prototype Elite foils from a year or so ago which have been heavily modified since – The set up of which was a complete shot in the dark and was actually surprisingly good!

While none of the ropes were quite right, the toestraps started long and got progressively longer as the day went on and I ran out of rudder adjustment early on, the “Evil Midnight Bomber” put on a fine show and by the time I’d figured everything out she was going pretty quickly – taking the win in the last race by a good few hundred yards, despite massive cramp from the toestraps meaning my tacking had descended into ‘shove the tiller and pray’ rather than any meaningful technique! I’m planning on hanging onto the boat until after HISC open but she’ll be up for sale soon after to make way for the first of the Rockets.

Speaking of which, I’m posting on the Aardvark Facebook page as I’m going along with Rocket development so if you want to keep up to date with whats happening thats the place to do it.

Standby for launch

After several good years with the Ninja design it’s time to move things on at Aardvark HQ. We’ve had some ideas as to where we’d like to take the Moth to move it forward and after some successful experiments this season we are launching a new design over the winter.
The Rocket will be an evolved version of the long-footprint Ninja that Giovanni Galeotti has been trialling over this season with a new hull shape and improvements all round with the aim of improving reliability and repeatability of setups. The hull plug is being machined in the next couple of weeks along with some new prototype foils and the Rocket will take to the skies in the Autumn….

Post match analysis

I had high hopes for blogging/facebooking while out in Italy, but had some connectivity issues at the Univela. Probably a good thing as it probably prevented grumpy old Mike outbursts from reaching the internet!
I had planned on this worlds being a bit of a last swansong for the Ninja. I’ve got a list of things as long as my arm that basically mean a wholesale re-evalution of the boat, so I really wanted me and Shredder to go out with a bang, rather than a whimper!
I had good pace the whole time, but really struggled to understand the venue, as the tactics really seemed to shift around while the breeze was establishing. My lack of practice really showed on the big Wednesday and when Friday came around with more of the same, I decided to call it a day and let Ole Frey (Shredders’ new keeper) take her away without me launching myself into various parts for the morning.
When things went right I could get in the top 10 and stay there (2nd in the practice race and another in the Q series) but I couldn’t get myself there often enough. Fitness wasn’t an issue for me for the first time in a while, but if I’m to compete at this level I’m going to need to focus my sailing a bit more and find someone to train with. Bit of a problem when your only local competition is contemplating sailing something else (shame on you Offer!) and you can cross your local lake in a couple of minutes at 20 knots!
The rest of team Ninja did me proud though and scored some pretty tidy results in a fleet dominated by full time sailors.
The next month or so is tooling time. I’ve been taking on feedback from the Ninja Co-Operative and think I can improve most bits on the boat in some way to improve reliability and repeatability of settings. I’ve also got a couple of very experienced aero/hydro folk looking at foil sections and planforms and will have some prototype foils on the water with my new boat. The plan is for the bells and whistles versions to roll out in the spring.
The ‘Rocket’ is preparing for launch.