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
Zhik ZKG 660x82Southern Spars - 100Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Michael Marshall triumphs at J/22 World Championship
With a second place finish in Thursday’s only race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are the champions. Heading into the 10th and final race, Marshall and Chris Doyle were tied on points at 30. As the 41 teams arrived at CORK in the morning, the after effects of an overnight storm left breeze in the mid-20s, so the Race Committee postponed on shore.
Posted today at 8:10 pm
Best pictures of the first 4 Acts of the Extreme Sailing Series™
An influx of fresh talent have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40. An influx of fresh talent, new venues and a revised race format have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40 by a smaller, faster catamaran: the flying GC32.
Posted today at 1:34 pm
Return to Russia for the Extreme Sailing Series™
Joining the fleet as the season heads into its second half is Gazprom Team Russia, led by WMRT champion, Phil Robertson. With one week to go, the fleet returns to St Petersburg for the fifth Act of the season, presented by SAP, 35 of the world’s best sailors are getting their heads in the game and preparing for the one of the trickiest venues of the season so far.
Posted today at 12:58 pm
Marshall and Doyle tied on points at J/22 World Championship
By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points with Chris Doyle, Will Harris and Adam Burns. Jeff Todd is still in the hunt in third place with 35 points.
Posted on 24 Aug
Debriefing the 2016 Rio Olympics—Sailing news North America and beyond
Editorial Editorial
Posted on 23 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
A magnificent fleet gathers in Cowes for Etchells World Championship
58 teams from all over the world have entered the championship, hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club. Twenty teams are from Great Britain and a dozen each from Australia and the United States of America. Four entries are from Hong Kong and as far afield as: Bermuda, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Posted on 22 Aug
FAST40+ Class to be the first to have honour of racing for One Ton Cup
14 FAST40+ racing yachts are expected, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the USA 14 high performance FAST40+ racing yachts are expected for the One Ton Cup, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the United States of America. The crew, of which only five can be professionals, come from countries all over the world.
Posted on 22 Aug
Noroton Yacht Club dominates Hinman Trophy Team Race
Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. 2016 Hinman Trophy Team Race - Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. This was the case for Noroton Yacht Club as they won the Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy for the second straight year, though maybe not in the way you’d expect.
Posted on 22 Aug
Drama Queen - Goransson wins Melges 32 National Championship
Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship - After a weekend of challenging, moderate conditions in Newport, RI, Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship hosted by Sail Newport. Capping a weekend full of tight racing with lead changes around the track, it was fitting that the final race had three teams fighting for the regatta win
Posted on 22 Aug