Speed, 49er FX, Cup dreams and Vendee—Sailing News from Oz and Beyond

VESTAS Sailrocket 2 at the end of the run, slowing down
It’s official-the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) has ratified Australian Paul Larsen’s speed run over a 500-meter span of water as the world’s fastest run of this length. Larsen was 'sailing' aboard his wingsail and hydrofoil-powered Vestas Sailrocket 2 on Namibia’s Walvis Bay when he set the stunning average pace of 59.23 knots over this span, thus nudging out American kiteboarder Rob Douglas as the fastest man afloat.

Larson is now the official holder of the WSSRC’s 'Outright World and World 'B' Division Sailing Speed Record. But there is more to come after the Aussie showed the blistering potential of the Sailrocket, spiking at 68.01 knots in his runs.

In only five days’ time, Melbourne will welcome the Olympic sailing world for the first ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta of the 2012-2013 series. The 49erFX will be seen on the world stage for the first time at a major international regatta and with seven entries, five from Australia, one from Norway and one from New Zealand, it marks the start of the road to Rio

Australia - 49er FX
Australia’s Haylee Outteridge is arguably one of the most experienced female skiff sailors in the fleet having sailed the 29er for many years. And with a 49er Olympic gold medallist brother, Nathan, she knows how hard the journey can be.

'Nathan is a great role model to have,' said Outteridge, 'and one day I would love to bring a gold medal home as well. I see how much hard work he and Goobs [Iain Jensen] put in and know it’s not going to come easily.’ Outteridge will team up with former Laser Radial sailor Alison Dale for ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne.

Beijing 2008 470 Olympic gold medallist Tessa Parkinson teams up with Kate Lathouras and London 2012 Women’s Match Racing silver medallist Olivia Price makes the transition from keelboat to skiff. Further Australian partnerships include Anna Kendall and Michelle Muller and Ella Giudice and Caitlin Elks.

Action in Asia next week with the Phuket King’s Cup kicking off on Monday. The Sail-World team will be once again reporting from Phuket.

The 2012 Monsoon Cup is just a few days away, a lot of interest in the Australian father and son battle between veteran Peter Gilmour and son David Gilmour. The third Aussie in the roster is fellow West Australian Keith Swinton.
The field is stacked too with Kiwis with former world champion Adam Minoprio, Phil Robertson and Laurie Jury. Half of the overall list for these two countries, with Britain’s Ian Williams expected to figure strongly at the end.

Next up will be the ION SB20 World Championships at Hamilton Island, the first ever class titles in the southern hemisphere.

ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Trophy Ben Ainslie (GBR) Finn - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist and 2012 World Champion Mathew Belcher & Malcolm Page (AUS) Men’s 470 - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists, 2011 & 2012 World Champions and 2011-12 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champions Nathan Outteridge & Iain Jensen (AUS) 49er - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists and 2011 & 2012 World Champions Loïck Peyron (FRA) Outright Around the World Record Tom Slingsby (AUS) Laser - London 2012 Oly
Meanwhile, in Olympic sailing circles, Team Great Britain’s Ben Ainslie, winner of four Gold and one Silver Olympic Sailing medals-formally announced his retirement from Olympic sailing.

For Ainslie, this next challenge is America’s Cup World Series 2012/2013, where he is skipper of J.P. Morgan-backed Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) team, and the build-up to the 34th America’s Cup as he gets ready to work with Oracle Racing next year.

Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss - 2012 Vendee Globe
And in offshore-sailing circles, Alex Thomson (GBR) has rocketed into second place in the singlehanded, nonstop-and-unassisted-around-the-world Vendee Globe Race. While happy to see his place advance on the thirteen-strong fleet, Thomson was quick to acknowledge that this fortune could prove short-lived, depending on how the leading pack of IMOCA 60s enters the Roaring 40s, en route to the first of the three great capes.

And finally This week 78 year old Sydney yachtsman Warren Johns sailed on. His red 50 footer Heaven Can Wait and Johnsie’s attitude to life had been an inspiration to many. Fair winds.

2011 Zhik SB20 Worlds Day 1 credit Brian Carlin Cube Images
© Brian Carlin | Cube Images