Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik ZKG

Vestas Sailrocket 2 project returns to Namibia

by Paul Larsen on 14 Sep 2012
Vestas Sailrocket 2 © Helena Darvelid/VestasSailrocket http://www.sailrocket.com/
This September the Vestas Sailrocket 2 project will be returning to the waters of Walvis Bay in Namibia with a new hydrofoil package which they hope will bring them an outright world speed sailing record.

The record currently stands at 55.65 knots (64 mph) and is held by American Kite Surfer Rob Douglas. Vestas Sailrocket 2 was built in the Vestas R+D facilities on the Isle of Wight and launched in the Medina River in March 2011. The project then relocated to Namibia where ideal conditions occur on a regular basis.

From its launch in the UK, Vestas Sailrocket 2 rapidly progressed up the speed sailing ladder and after only 23 runs, hit speeds over 50 knots down the magical mile long course at Walvis Bay's 'Speed-spot'. The team then made continual improvements to the boat and tried a number of underwater foil configurations but seemed to be hitting a 'glass ceiling' in performance in the low 50 knot speed range regardless of which foil options they tried or how much wind they sailed in.

Chris Hornzee-Jones - Aerotrope/VSR2 designer. Once you start going through the water over 50 knots you are going to start encountering a phenomenon called cavitation. This can be likened to the hydrodynamic equivalent of the 'Sound Barrier'. The property of the water changes as it turns from liquid to vapour on certain parts of the foil. This requires a very different approach to how you design them. The problem gets even more complicated as air from the surface also tries to get sucked down onto the foil and cause it to lose grip. This mixture of air, vapour and very high-speed water is all very dynamic and extremely hard to model by computer or even in high-speed flow tanks. Most projects to date have simply pushed conventional foil theory to the limits and that's why speed sailing is stuck at the current speeds in the low 50's. Vestas Sailrocket 2 was designed from the outset to be a breakthrough boat. It is designed to be an ideal testing platform for trialling new foil concepts which will allow us to break through this 'glass ceiling' and perform at speeds well over 60 knots.

Paul Larsen - Australian project manager/pilot of VSR2. This is the second craft we have developed for this record. We saw the potential of the concept revealed with our first boat but this version is aiming to use that potential to knock down some of sailings biggest physical barriers. If we can do that then the world records will come with the territory. From my perspective in the cockpit, this version of the boat is a delight to sail. It is much less traumatic than the first boat. VSR2 is just ambling down the course at 50 knots in a very stable manner. Hopefully these new foils we have designed will allow her to really show her potential. I'm sure she won't feel so docile over 60 knots. I think she's patiently waiting for us to gain the understanding to release her from all the drag and give her free rein.'


Vestas Sailrocket 2 is indeed a radical craft. It looks perhaps more like a plane than a boat because a lot of attention has been focused on the aerodynamic efficiency and stability of the craft however, she still relies very much on the hydrodynamics to allow her to carve across the wind. It is based on a concept where all the overturning forces typically associated with sailing craft are removed. This allows the boat to use the wind created by its own speed to generate a lot of its ultimate power without actually getting overpowered. Whilst VSR2 might actually be sailing in only 25 knots of real wind, at full speed the lightweight, carbon fibre boat and its rigid wing sail feels like it is sailing in over 60 knots of wind and yet doesn't require traditional systems of weights and levers to remain stable.

Malcolm Barnsley - Vestas test engineer/VSR2 design team. We are delighted with the way the boat has developed to date. It has been pushed very hard by the sailing team and has shown time and again that it is a great platform for taking new foil designs to their limit in the 'real' world. We have learnt an immense amount already with this boat. Even though our first version of very high speed foils was shown not to be the answer, they also showed us certain aspects that were right. With the new foils we have incorporated these aspects and hopefully used our understanding to design out the parts that were holding us back. We are heading into new territory here. It's a dark alley and of course it is hard to be certain of what lies ahead until you illuminate it with your own knowledge. We have followed a path that seems logical and have chosen what we also hope is the safer, reliable option rather than the extreme one. The potential of this boat is enormous but if these foils allow us just to reveal a portion of that potential... then world records should fall'.

The new foil is currently being manufactured in Bristol. Team members will shortly head down to Namibia where Vestas Sailrocket 2 is currently located. They will assemble the boat and base in preparation for the arrival of the rest of the team and the new foil. The focus will be on developing the new foil and some of its 'add-ons' to see if it truly is the missing piece of the puzzle that will allow the team to realise their dream. The team is still looking for answers and they know that nothing is certain until proven beyond doubt in the real world. If the new foils do what they are supposed to do, a World record attempt will be booked with the WSSRC (governing body) in the October-December period this year. Vestas Sailrocket website

T Clewring AC72Barz Optics - Melanin Lensesupffront 660x82

Related Articles

Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge - Race 13 arrivals complete
Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, arrivals are now complete following arrival of IchorCoal at 2300 local time As Visit Seattle, PSP Logistics and Da Nang – Viet Nam celebrated their podium finishes in race 13, the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, arrivals are now complete following the arrival of IchorCoal at 2300 local time this evening.
Posted today at 7:48 am
Vic-Maui Yacht Race - Kraken one, Darby no score
In real race, not artificial ones that sailboats make up between themselves, Kraken beat Mother Nature’s child – Darby 2016 Vic-Maui Yacht Race - In a real race, not the artificial ones that sailboats make up between themselves, Kraken has beat Mother Nature’s child – Darby. Mark and Annette Malacek’s Beneteau First 40.7 from West Vancouver Yacht Club crossed the finish line around 1:45 pm local time. It was great relief to the many family and fans that greeted Kraken's arrival.
Posted today at 7:20 am
2016 Pacific Cup - Friday finishers action-shots by Lauren Easley
Photographer Lauren Easley was in air at 2016 Pacific Cup and provided this gallery of images from Friday action. Photographer Lauren Easley was in air at 2016 Pacific Cup and provided this gallery of images from Friday action.
Posted today at 6:38 am
France Blue, Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup favourite?
Calling form on Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is hard, as for team to be successful all three of its boats must perform Calling form on the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is hard, as for a team to be successful, all three of its boats must perform. This, plus the event's week-long duration and diverse race format, make the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial championship for Corinthian crews one of the pinnacle racing events internationally held under a rating rule.
Posted today at 5:24 am
ORC Worlds - Three new ORC World Champions crowned in Copenhagen
A light southerly arose just in time to get one last race in for all three classes on concluding day of 2016 ORC Worlds 2016 ORC Worlds - After an initial delay this morning due to no wind that threatened to keep everyone ashore like yesterday, a light southerly arose just in time to get one last race in for all three classes on the concluding day of the 2016 ORC World Championship, hosted by the Royal Danish YC and Egaa Sailing Club.
Posted today at 4:45 am
Transat Québec Saint-Malo – Class40s sail into Saint-Malo
Twelve of the nineteen Class40s racing in the ninth edition of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo 2016 Transat Québec Saint-Malo - Twelve of the nineteen Class40s racing in the ninth edition of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo presented in collaboration with the City of Lévis are now safely moored at the Quai Duguay-Trouin wharf in Saint-Malo at the foot of the ramparts as the sun prepares to go down over the Corsair City.
Posted today at 3:09 am
LVACWS Portsmouth 2016 – standing room only.
There are no half measures where English weather is concerned. There are no half measures where English weather is concerned. Happily, that means that when it’s good it very, very good. Blue skies, sunshine, 23 deg C, clean air, and the whole place looks as if has put on a party frock and got lit up. Wonderful.
Posted on 23 Jul
America’s Cup World Series 2016 – More Day 1 images by Carlo Borlenghi
Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from race day one Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from race day one
Posted on 23 Jul
America’s Cup World Series 2016 – Race Day 1 images by Carlo Borlenghi
Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from race day one Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from race day one
Posted on 23 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – Sir Ben jumps into the lead in Portsmouth
Hot, sunny conditions and thousands of fans lining the Portsmouth seafront was the backdrop to crowd-pleasing action. The home team, Land Rover BAR, led by skipper Sir Ben Ainslie, recovered from a poor first race result to win the second two contests and complete the day at the top of the leaderboard, much to the delight of the tens of thousands of cheering fans lining the shorefront.
Posted on 23 Jul