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.
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.
This year the UK International Moth Class Association stand at the RYA Dinghy show looks set to be as busy as ever with an exciting 2012 racing season fast approaching. As usual there will be an enthusiastic group of ‘mothies’ manning the stand ready to answer any questions you might have about the boat. These could range from questions about getting started in the class to more technical questions on setup, technique & construction – there will be a cross section of sailors more than happy to help.
This year there will be two leading designs on display in the form of the National & European Championship winning Ninja by Aardvark Technologies in Bristol and the World Championship winning Mach 2 design from Australia. As ever throughout the winter innovation has continued and some of the latest enhancements such as the latest iteration KA & fibrepath Hyde Sails will also be on display.
Mike will be at the show both Days to answer questions about the Ninja – you’ll probably find him on the Moth or Cherub stand or looking for good tea… Bring cake!
Congratulations to Ninja sailor Chris Rashley who fought a tight battle with Simon Payne down at Paignton over the weekend to secure the open and the Grand Prix series for 2011. This tops off a fantastic first year for Chris and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in 2012!
It’s been a good season for Aardvark so far, with Cookie winning the Moth winter series in “Ninja Turtle”, followed by the UK Dinghy sailing show at Alexandra Palace where the Aardvark built E6 Cherub won the Spitfire concours award, beating the Mach2 and several timber tubs.
The Moth circuit has seen the Ninja Death squad starting to get their act together, with Chris Rashley winning the Inlands at Queen Mary and the first 2011 Ninja Donatello winning a race in it’s first outing.
Rashers and Jason Belben gave Si Payne a run for his money at Parkstone, pushing him all the way and there was only 1 point in it at the end. Again, Donatello showed what she is capable of, taking the first race.
Hayling saw the local black boat fleet on top, but Jason was looking pretty fast in his first outing on the 2011 foils and kept them on their toes, leading races and taking 3rd overall.
Thorpe Bay saw biblical conditions, with only Chris Rashley able to get around in the only race on the Saturday and showing the way around on a more sensible Sunday, making that his second open win in his first season.
The Nationals at Stokes Bay are now upon us and with the entry now topping 50 boats it’s going to be excellent. The Ninja is the strongest it’s ever been with several people capable of winning races and the event will be a good indicator for the Europeans a few weeks later.
On an equipment side, the new foils are proving themselves to be stiff and fast while losing none of the light airs performance the Ninja is known for.
Rudders are available as upgrades for the Mach2, Bladerider and Prowler and mainfoils will fit the above although due to the pushrod direction some control modifications would be required. Mike has been experimenting with a new stiff mast designed to work with the KA10 which has shown much promise and we can accomodate any bend requirements.
Mike Cooke from Bristol has set a new UK speed record of 28.8 knots. This is now the fastest recorded time in the UK and has surely opened the door to the elusive 30 knot club.
Mike Cooke tells us how it was done….
“Well conditions were pretty hostile to be honest, but with my wingman badger egging me on we decided to take to the skies. Some pretty big blasts down the lake saw Badger going into a 5g inverted dive that ended in a big ball of spray, his black box was later recovered recording 27.5 knots. I barely got away with my wings in a 30 knot puff but was rewarded with a big score at 28.8.
Conditions were starting to get really wild after that so we retired to the hard deck for a nice cuppa”
Kevin Ellway, the designer of the Ninja and Ninja foils said “The foil design is the culmination of hundreds of hours of 2D and 3D CFD modelling combined with 3 degree of freedom dynamic system modelling. This should provide a foil system which can win around the racecourse over the wide range of sailing conditions we experience in the UK and Europe.
The foils have performed as predicted during initial sailing trials and performance looks very promising. As ever, however, the proof of the pudding is around the racetrack, so it will be interesting to see how the season unfolds.”
Mike Cooke sailed his Ninja to 10th place at the 2011 Bloody Mary, making him top foiler on the day. Alex Adams was next in line, in 25th, also using Ninja foils.
2011 is shaping up to be a good year already!