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Peak speeds and a Vendee retiree—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 26 Nov 2012
VESTAS Sailrocket 2 at the end of the run, slowing down - Vestas Sailrocket 2 © Helena Darvelid/VestasSailrocket http://www.sailrocket.com/
For speed-sailing fans, these are exciting days. Australian Paul Larsen has been on a tear with his Vestas Sailrocket 2, breaking and then re-breaking his own newly established speed records on Namibia’s Walvis Bay. The latest reports are staggering, with Larsen tagging an outright top speed of 68.01 knots over a one-second interval and a jaw-dropping 65.45 knots over 500 meters, proving that his bold half-boat, half-plane design concept works exceptionally well.






'On paper we expect cavitation to happen just over 65 knots,' reported Larsen before his fastest run to date. 'That's on paper. How it manifests itself is yet to be seen. This boat is damned powerful and in 30 knots, sheeted in hard with around 65-70 knots of apparent wind it's going to be one hell of a tug of war between the wing and the foil. [The boat] is being optimized for a big [boatspeed] number.' Get the full story, inside this issue.


Meanwhile, in the non-stop and unassisted, around-the-world-alone Vendee Globe Race, skipper Vincent Riou (FRA), the winner of the 2004/2005 edition of the race, has retired from racing due to the damage that he sustained from a collision with a floating metal buoy. Riou spent some 48 hours trying to DIY a solution, including patching up a gaping gash in the side of his vessel, but, ultimately, damage to some outrigger-mounted standing rigging caused him to drop out.





'I thought really hard before making the decision,' said Riou. 'I wanted to make sure there was no other possibility for me to be able to continue in the race. But at one point you have to be resigned, I just couldn’t continue with a boat in that state. No matter how much energy you spend, it’s just not possible sometimes.'





Riou’s resignation raises the attrition rate to seven boats having retired from action, out of a starting fleet of 20 IMOCA 60s. As of this writing, Armel Le Cleac’h was leading the pack, followed by Francois Gabart and Jean-Pierre Dick; interestingly, Alex Thomson has now leapfrogged into fourth place, after having to contend with some serious issues of his own in the past few days. Get the full Vendee Globe report, inside this issue.


Also inside, be sure to get the latest scoop from the America’s Cup, where the International Jury has ruled against Artemis Racing’s appeal over an earlier (and critical) decision pertaining to daggerboard/hydrofoil measurement; get the latest from the Volvo Ocean Race as to what the new class of boat’s built-in media infrastructure will mean for the race, and, finally, be sure to check out what Cup sailors can learn from the venerable C Class of catamarans. Enjoy!


May the four winds blow you safely home,

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