Speed, Cup dreams and the Vendee—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond

Paul Larsen and his Vestas Sailrocket 2 team celebrate their latest record
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.

Larsen is now the official holder of the WSSRC’s 'Outright World and World 'B' Division Sailing Speed Record', but Douglas has already let it be known that he plans to try to recapture his title at this year’s Luderitz Speed Challenge (December 3-16 for kiteboarders). Get the scoop on Larsen’s latest record, and stay tuned for more, as it unfurls.

20120805 Copyright onEdition 2012© Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition Ben Ainslie (GBR), who won the Gold Medal today, 05.08.12, in the Medal Race Men's One Person Dinghy - heavy (Finn) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition runs from 29 July to 12 August and brings together 380 of the world's best sailors to race on Weymouth Bay. Sailing made its Olympic debut in 1900 and has appeared at every Olympic Games since 1

Meanwhile, in Olympic sailing circles, Team Great Britain’s Ben Ainslie-the storied winner of four Gold and one Silver Olympic Sailing medals-formally announced his retirement from Olympic sailing. 'When I look back there are so many special memories; from that first medal in Atlanta 16 years ago to carrying the flag at the closing ceremony in London 2012,' reported Ainslie. 'London was an incredibly special Olympics, competing on home waters and in front of a home crowd, I don’t think anything will be able to top that experience. But you have to move forwards and it is time to move onto the next challenge in my career.'

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, driving one of the team’s two AC72s in pre-Cup training.

Team J.P. Morgan BAR racing in San Francisco, CA
© Jon Nash / J.P.Morgan BAR

'The America’s Cup has always been a goal for me,' said Ainslie, who has high and long-term ambitions for his BAR team. 'With the new format of the America’s Cup World Series and the increased commercialization of the event, I feel confident that we can continue to build towards creating a commercially viable team, with the ultimate goal of challenging for the 35th America’s Cup.' More, inside.

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. Don’t miss the full multi-media Vendee Globe report, inside this issue.

Also inside, get the latest previews of the World Match Racing Tour’s upcoming Monsoon Cup, learn about the 49erFX’s World Cup debut at this year’s Sail Melbourne, and find out why Syd Fischer, 85, is particularly excited to sail in this year’s Sydney-Hobart Race (his 44th).

May the four winds blow you safely home,