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
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.
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….