Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

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
NaiadBakewell-White Yacht DesignNorth Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

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 today at 7:40 am
An awe inspiring start to the RORC Caribbean 600
The ninth edition started in magnificent conditions with the largest ever offshore fleet assembled in the Caribbean The ninth edition started in magnificent conditions with the largest ever offshore fleet assembled in the Caribbean enjoying sparkling conditions. A southeasterly breeze, occasionally gusting up to 15 knots and a relatively calm sea state provided conditions for the perfect start with some close battles on the water.
Posted on 20 Feb
Maserati Multi70 trimaran starts RORC Caribbean 600 Race in Antigua
High-tech ocean racing trimaran Maserati Multi70 skippered by Giovanni Soldini crossed the start line off Fort Charlotte The high-tech Italian ocean racing trimaran, Maserati Multi70, skippered by Giovanni Soldini crossed the start line off Fort Charlotte on the south side of the island in 10-knot westerly breeze at 11.40 local time (15.40 in Europe).
Posted on 20 Feb
Vendée Globe – Alan Roura in his own words
Alan Roura, the youngest skipper ever to compete, finished in Les Sables d'Olonne this morning in twelfth place. Alan Roura, the youngest skipper ever to compete, finished in Les Sables d'Olonne this morning in twelfth place. In spite of not sleeping for four days because of the shipping in the Bay of Biscay and the light winds, he was ready to answer questions from the many journalists present on the pontoon an at a press conference.
Posted on 20 Feb
Phaedo^3 starts RORC Caribbean 600 – images by Rachel Fallon-Langdon
Phaedo^3 stars the RORC Caribbean 600 with close competition Maserati by their side Phaedo^3 stars the RORC Caribbean 600 with close competition Maserati by their side
Posted on 20 Feb
Phaedo^3 starts RORC C600 with Maserati by their side
In what is to be predicted and lighter wind race that the norm, Phaedo^3 stated at 11.40am local Antigua time. In what is to be predicted and lighter wind race that the norm, Phaedo^3 stated at 11.40am local Antigua time. With a strong competitor Giovanni Soldini’s MOD70 Maserati close by their side, it will be a chase to the end.
Posted on 20 Feb
Vendée Globe – Conrad Colman speaks about his dismasting and battle
New Zealand skipper Conrad Colman is fighting an incredible battle to finish the race after the mast crashed down Tenacious New Zealand skipper Conrad Colman is fighting an incredible battle to finish the race after the mast of his Foresight Natural Energy crashed down on the night of Friday 10th February.
Posted on 20 Feb
EFG Bank Monaco wins Leg 3 of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour
Reigning champions EFG Bank Monaco tightened their grip on the overall lead with a victory in the third offshore leg Reigning EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour champions EFG Bank Monaco (MON) today tightened their grip on the overall lead with a victory in the third offshore leg of the race around the Arabian Gulf.
Posted on 20 Feb
Abnormal weather for the RORC Caribbean 600
This year the weather is dominated by a front that extends very far south reaching the race course. Wouter has competed in the Barcelona World Race, the Volvo Ocean Race on numerous occasions and is Head of Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics.
Posted on 20 Feb
Vendée Globe – Alan Roura takes twelfth place
Race rookie Roura’s elapsed time for the 27,700 mile course is 105 days, 20 hours 10 mins and 32 seconds. Roura’s finish reflects his exceptional drive and tenacity and belies the very tight budget which the young sailor ran his programme on.
Posted on 20 Feb