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Vestas SailRocket 2 arrives in Africa

by Paul Larsen on 16 Apr 2011
Arrival in Walvis 2011 - Vestas SailRocket 2 in Africa Vestas Sailrocket - copyright http://www.sailrocket.com
On Tuesday March 8th the SailRocket Team launched its second-generation speed sailing boat from East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Vestas SailRocket 2 is designed to be significantly faster than its predecessor, with the ultimate aim of breaking the ‘Outright World Speed Sailing Record’.

After a short delay the boat has finally made it to Walvis Bay Yacht Club in Africa.


From Paul Larsen:

Today was a great day. A special day. Today was the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people who care about the adventure that is to follow.


Yesterday the 'Amber Lagoon' finally made it into Walvis Bay with our precious cargo onboard. Whilst things were being unloaded we re-arranged the container space at the Walvis Bay Yacht Club in anticipation of creating the space required for the new boat.

Right now, at this stage of the game, I'm pretty happy about where we are at. With that comes awareness and appreciation of every little achievement. Just seeing the ship come into port with VSR2 on it is a cool thing, seeing the truck come around the corner with the new boat is a cool thing... and opening the container doors and seeing nothing broken is a very, very cool thing. I guess it stems from knowing what we have had to do to reach this stage of witnessing the evolution of a new boat. This location is the same and yet here we are with a new boat crafted from everything we have learnt before. This new boat should be the solution to all our previous problems. That's the vision... the dream... yet just less than a kilometer away is speed-spot. A perfect example of cold, hard, emotionless, reality. I tell myself that this is all just a question of physics but it is hard to separate the emotion that is a part of, almost a requirement of such an effort. To deny the emotion would be to deny your humanity. So, at times like this I embrace it. Later on when we get right down to business it will be controlled and the emphasis will go back to physics.

So the doors came open and everything arrived in perfect order. Helena left shortly after to pick up the rest of the team who had also just arrived at Walvis Bay Airport. Hiskia and I began burrowing into the heaped container and were well into it when Ben, Jonny and Jeffro arrived fresh of a long flight. Here we all were with a great adventure ahead. Happy days.

Well we did a quick catch up and then ripped into the job at hand. The old tent went up as it has so many times before. After the boat itself and perhaps the support RIB, this would be the next most important piece of equipment in the project. It protects the boat and wing from the punishing winds and weather of Walvis Bay night and day. If it is neglected and comes apart then its flapping destruction will probably take the wing with it whilst we sleep at night. This one is getting tired. We will see how it fares with the shapes of the new boat and make a decision as to its future.

Of course it was a joy to get the new boat out. I still think fondly of the old one and what a magnificent job it did... but now it's time to pour everything into the new one. It's time for its story to unfold.

I was pretty happy at how much we got done today. It's such a luxury for us to have a good solid team around us who are all as keen as we are to see this thing work. Ben has been part of the build of this boat from the very beginning, he knows every part intimately. Hiskia has been with us from our first run with VSR1 and every run thereafter. He helped us withe the scale model tests for this new boat 18 months ago and we brought him to England to see the build a year ago. He knows where this boat came from and what it has to do.

This is Jeff's second time down here and he helped us on our last record attempt when we pushed VSR1 to the limits. He has also followed the build of VSR2 closely. For Jonny this is his first time down at the coal-face. We have been neighbours throughout the build but friends for a far longer time. It will be fun to welcome him into a side of sailing that he has never experienced before.

At the end of today, everything was thrown together in an organised manner. The ice was broken and tomorrow we will begin on a long job list that focuses purely on safe sailing. I am in no hurry to get to the scene of our first wipe-out. We have a clever boat here but it will need some care before it can reveal just how clever it is.

VSR2 will spend her first night outside and that first night will be under the Southern Cross. She will have to become acquainted with Africa as we hope that together they will do great things.

A nice feed and a few beers were had as we introduced the 'new guys' to The Raft. Now that's a great pub!
Tomorrow, we really get into it.

A big thank you must go to both Peters and May (especially Sarah) for... well, for just doing the job they say they can do. It is appreciated. Also to Eddie from Transworld here in Namibia who also just made s**t happen the minute the ship hit the port. To make this all happen so smoothly takes 'do'ers'. Too many companies just take and don't care. It's a pleasure to see some real, heartfelt effort.

After a day like today you realise how many people it has taken to make this happen... to just get us here. This has not been a story of cash changing hands. I love it when people get involved because they realise it's a real challenge and adventure and that they don't have to sit on the fence and watch it pass by.

I promise we'll make it worth it.

Cheers, Paul

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http://www.sailrocket.com

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