Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Dinghy Wetsuits

Sailrocket 2 suffers damage in crash + high speed run video

by Paul Larsen on 27 Oct 2011
Vestas Sailrocket 2 damaged in crash Vestas Sailrocket - copyright http://www.sailrocket.com
The Vestas Sailrocket team is in Walvis Bay, Namibia attempting to break the World Sailing Speed record.

After a few good, high speed runs disaster has struck! Vestas Sailrocket 2's main beam failed in a non sailing handling error.

Paul Larsen explains:


Zero. Normally the number that precedes all others... but in this game it still seems to come immediately after 'hero'!

We just managed to drag our bird back in with a broken wing... well 'beam' anyway (wings fine).

We went out to speed-spot in 20-25 knots of wind with the more traditional sub-cavitating foil on. We wanted to see how hard we could push it. A few of the general boat settings need to be modified as this foil changes the overall balance as compared to the new ventilating foil.

We managed to launch Vestas Sailrocket 2 just fine but up ahead of me there was a flock of cormorants working a school of something or other. VSR2 began to accelerate but I had to slow down to let the cormorants get out the way. I once sailed through a flock on a windsurfer expecting them to get out the way. It got messy as they are waterlogged and take a while to get going. VSR2 at pace would have been like some sort of GD harvester.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]
So I waited until I cleared them before accelerating. This didn't leave much room to the beach. VSR2 accelerated but I had to bear away quickly. She didn't quite have the speed to carry the apparent wind around with her and stalled.

We had used up a lot of the course and I was reluctant to do another run that would have me down in the shallows at the end of the course. I stopped just past the timing hut and called the RIB alongside.

I raised the foil and we tried to see if we could slowly slide VSR2 sideways back up the course as we had done before. By changing a control line I had restricted the ability of the wing to fully feather so we stopped the idea and made for the shore. It was here that the RIB yanked the nose the wrong way and the wing loaded from the wrong side. It gave a forward pitching moment which puts huge compression on the strut. The beam folded between the strut and the leeward pod and the wing pitched nose down into the water.

S**, s***, s***. I've been here before only not with this boat.

Now to sort out the order of things before any other damage takes place. Quite often, especially with wings, you can do more damage after the accident than by the original mishandling. I jumped out of the cockpit and grabbed the forestay to stop the wing from flying up. Alex slowly motored into the shore. I swore a bit... but not that much. Sort of one long, loud one rather than an extended volley.

Once we got into the shallows we began picking it all apart. I was happy to see that the damage was quite localised and that virtually no other pieces had been damaged. The wing was miraculously undamaged. The strut, the Harken track and car, the leeward pod brackets were also all without damage. It was only a section of beam which, in the big picture, is relatively easy to repair.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]
So the new wing will spend its first night in the shed over on speed-spot. Hopefully its last. We managed to get the rest of the platform back safely and have already begun on the repair.

Overall I feel kind of lucky. It could have been much worse. These things happen. It was a handling mistake that we shouldn't, in hindsight, have exposed ourselves to. I didn't think it would play out like that... rather I thought that the boat would have slipped sideways. Well it didn't and here we are. You simply don't get it right all the time. Personally I'm pretty happy to have made it this far with such a radical boat. The carnage we had with the first boat taught me to incorporate some flexibility into the joints for just such a situation and these prevented a lot more damage today.

I reckon it will take us a week or less to be back in action.

So that's it. I can't say I'm happy about it... but I'm not going to overdramatise it either. These incidents are part of the scenery and we always get over it and comeback smarter and faster.

We just mounted a wing-top camera too... Caught it all beautifully... but I'll leave you with the fast run for now.

Cheers, Paul



Vestas Sailrockt 2 website
Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Barz Optics - Melanin LensesProtector - 660 x 82

Related Articles

RORC Caribbean 600 - Maserati Multi70 in a fight for lead with Phaedo3
After 24-hours of racing in RORC Caribbean 600 Race Maserati Multi70 trimaran is locked in a fierce struggle for lead After 24-hours of racing in the RORC Caribbean 600 Race the Maserati Multi70 trimaran skippered by Italian ocean racer Giovanni Soldini is locked in a fierce struggle for the lead with the race record holder Phaedo3.
Posted today at 5:09 am
3rd line honours in a row for Phaedo^3 in the RORC Caribbean 600
After an epic battle with their MOD70 sistership Maserati, Phaedo^3 took multihull line honours in RORC Caribbean 600. After an epic battle with their MOD70 sistership Maserati, Phaedo^3 took multihull line honours in the RORC Caribbean 600.
Posted today at 4:04 am
Phaedo^3 side by side with Maserati South of Guadeloupe
It was a Gybe for Gybe competition for the two MOD70’s in a Monsoon like storm South of Guadeloupe. It was a Gybe for Gybe competition for the two MOD70’s in a Monsoon like storm South of Guadeloupe. Phaedo^3 has now managed to pull away on the leg up to next mark off Barbuda.
Posted today at 4:01 am
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman talks about a finish on Friday night
The dismasted, now jury rigged entry in the Vendee Globe, Foresight Natural Energy, skippered by Conrad Colman (NZL/USA/ The dismasted, now jury rigged entry in the Vendee Globe, Foresight Natural Energy, skippered by Conrad Colman (NZL/USA/FRA) is making slow progress towards the finish line at Les Sables dÓlonne on the west coast of France. Although he is showing modest speed on the water his progress is still painful
Posted on 21 Feb
Newport Shipyard prepares for busy season, announces major events
Newport Shipyard will once again prove its prowess as New England’s “yachting hub” when a rush of superyachts head north Newport Shipyard will once again prove its prowess as New England’s “yachting hub” when a rush of superyachts head north to the famous “City by the Sea” after the America’s Cup in Bermuda this June.
Posted on 21 Feb
50th anniversary year for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda
Founded in 1967, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) this year celebrates its first 50 years of existence. Founded in 1967, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) this year celebrates its first 50 years of existence. This morning during a press conference held in Milan at the Riccardo Catella Foundation, an association dedicated to the research and promotion of sustainable local development since 2007, the YCCS presented a programme of social and sporting events to mark the occasion.
Posted on 21 Feb
New gunboat class to join race and festivities at BVI Spring Regatta
With six Gunboats confirmed to race, the competition dial has been notched up for one of the best Caribbean racing With six Gunboats confirmed to race, the competition dial has been seriously notched up for one of the best Caribbean racing events under the sun.
Posted on 21 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 – Day 2 – More Argyll than Antigua
After a champagne start to the race there was a huge change in weather conditions by the end of the first day. After a champagne start to the race there was a huge change in weather conditions by the end of the first day. The low pressure system emanating from the north arrived earlier than anticipated, extinguishing the trade winds to provide a windless night for many competitors.
Posted on 21 Feb
Vendée Globe – Rich Wilson takes thirteenth place
Wilson, at 66 years old the oldest skipper in the race, completes the pinnacle solo ocean racing event for second time. Wilson, at 66 years old the oldest skipper in the race, successfully completes the pinnacle solo ocean racing event for the second time.
Posted on 21 Feb
Vendee Globe - Rich Wilson closing the finish line, due after midday
Rich Wilson is at just over 50 miles to the finish line of his second Vendée Globe and was making just over eight knots Rich Wilson is at just over 50 miles to the finish line of his second Vendée Globe and was making just over eight knots in a direct course for Les Sables d'Olonne. He should cross the line in 13th place in the early afternoon and has until 1530hrs local time to get into the channel.
Posted on 21 Feb