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.
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.
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!
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….