Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

Vestas Sailrocket 2 returns to hunt the 'limit'

by Paul Larsen on 8 Sep 2011
Vestas Sailrocket 2 Paul Larsen
The team behind the Vestas Sailrocket 2 program are returning to Walvis Bay in Namibia to continue their quest to set the outright world speed sailing record.

The months of September through to December typically provide the best winds for speed sailing and the team have been keeping their powder dry in anticipation.

The current world record is held by American kite surfer, Rob Douglas. It was set in Luderitz, Namibia late last year and stands at 55.65 knots (64 mph/103 kmh). The kite surfers are expected to return to Namibia in October this year in an effort to take the record even higher.

Vestas Sailrocket 2 is a bold step beyond their Mk1 boat which still holds the 'B' class world record and hit peak speeds over 52 knots (60 mph) on a number of occasions. The outright record eluded the Mk1 so the team focused all their energy into Vestas Sailrocket 2 which was designed and built from the outset to be a breakthrough boat with a view to overcoming the limiting factors rather than just the current record itself. They liken their challenge to the time in aviation where the focus moved to breaking the sound barrier itself rather than the speed records that preceded it and were limited by it. If they are successful, then the outright record will simply come with the territory and a path will be made into a whole new world of high speed potential.

Conventional high speed foils (i.e. rudders) begin to have 'issues' as they reach high speed and these become unavoidable around 60 knots. Liquid water turns to vapour due to the low pressure on one side of the foil. The phenomenon is called cavitation and this causes a lot of drag and quite often loss of stability with dramatic consequence. Vestas Sailrocket 2 is designed to not only remain stable if the conventional foils fail at high speed but be capable of employing special foils that will be immune to this problem and take her beyond normal limits.

Vestas Sailrocket 2 was launched in April this year in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK. She was promptly shipped to Namibia where initial trials were carried out over six weeks. This comprised of system checks and low to medium speed sailing up to speeds of 40 knots. The team were very happy with how this radical and highly unconventional boat performed her most basic but essential tasks. They have no illusions about her single minded purpose however. Outright speed is the goal and despite all their efforts to date, this challenge is still just beginning. With this much innovation, they aren't expecting an easy ride. Windows for success are notoriously fragile.

The aim for this session is to initially gain a better understanding of Vestas Sailrocket 2 and how to best sail her to release the potential of the new technologies she incorporates. If things go well then a ratified world record attempt will be made as soon as possible.

Pilot/Project leader Paul Larsen- 'This is a step into the unknown and it's hard to predict exactly what the scale of the issues might be. With this much innovation, some times you have to 'unlearn' aspects of what you know so that you can be open to the new ways that will ultimately take you forward. Before it was all about the record itself. In a way we have moved beyond that and are trying to break through the very physics of the sport itself.

We romantically look at boats as craft that can take us on adventures over far horizons to new and wondrous places. Whilst Vestas Sailrocket 2 may challenge many conventions in her pursuit of outright speed and efficiency, with respect to discovery and adventure, she is still every bit a sailing boat. New lands await and our eyes will be wide open. The journey will continue to be fascinating.'




Vestas Sailrocket 2 website

Wildwind 2016 660x82Newport Boat Show 2016 660x82T Clewring J-class

Related Articles

Leccese sets new Ronstan Bridge to Bridge course record
Rikki Leccese set a new Ronstan Bridge to Bridge record of 10:31, shattering Johnny Heineken’s existing 12:00 record. They say records are made to be broken, and for kiters on San Francisco Bay, that continues to be true. On Thursday, August 25, in 18 knots of breeze and a ripping 2.5-knot flood tide, Italian foil boarder Rikki Leccese set a new Ronstan Bridge to Bridge record of 10:31, shattering Johnny Heineken’s existing 12:00 record. Leccese’s average speed was 33 knots over the 5.8-nautical-mile racecourse.
Posted on 27 Aug
Hydrofoil ProTour San Francisco – On progress...
Progress, it doesn't come easy or fast but when you least expect it. Sometimes it doesn't seem to come at all. Progress, it doesn't come easy or fast but when you least expect it. Sometimes it doesn't seem to come at all despite everything you'd hoped for. The important thing, is to keep moving forward.
Posted on 25 Aug
Ladkin and Hauser crowned Pacasmayo Classic Champions!
On Friday evening, riders and spectators gathered by the pool at the El Faro Adventure Resorts for the awards ceremony. On Friday evening as the sun set over the pacific, riders and spectators gathered by the pool at the El Faro Adventure Resorts for the awards ceremony.
Posted on 22 Aug
Hydrofoil Pro Tour Mauritius – Final day – Parlier wins two in a row
The idyllic island paradise in the Indian Ocean was a must see for sailors and their loved ones who made the journey. From recent events you have Axel Mazella who sailed a convincing victory at the European Championship in July. Johnny Heineken is always a threat for the top spot with piercing hot streak abilities. Maxime Nocher the 2015 World Tour champ and perennial podium threat….
Posted on 21 Aug
Top contenders extend their lead on Day 3 of the HydroFoil Pro Tour
Another five races have been completed in picture perfect conditions on the island paradise of Mauritius. Another five races have been completed in picture perfect conditions on the island paradise of Mauritius, bringing the race-count to fourteen thus far. The competitors with true grit will find themselves at the top.
Posted on 20 Aug
HydroFoil Pro Tour Mauritius – Day 2
To succeed in such a long series of races it takes strength and stamina but Parlier seems to possess something greater. Parlier continues his streak of perfect scores. Four more races are in the books marking the halfway point at this highlight event in the Indian Ocean. Another day of strong breeze and clear waters was the perfect setting for this global hydrofoiling circuit.
Posted on 20 Aug
Day 5 - Epic conditions for final day in Pacasmayo
Stellar conditions continued for Day 5 of the Pacasmayo Classic to wrap up the remaining heats in Womens 2016 Pacasmayo Classic - Stellar conditions continued for Day 5 of the Pacasmayo Classic to wrap up the remaining heats in Womens, Masters, GrandMasters, Youths, and the Pro Final.
Posted on 20 Aug
Park's pride as Brits leave Rio Olympic Sailing as top nation
With 17 countries claiming the 30 medals from 10 events between them, Park thinks Rio lived up to its reputation With 17 countries claiming the 30 medals from 10 events between them, Park thinks Rio lived up to its reputation as one of the most difficult places in the world to sail. At London 2012 the same numbers of medals was spread between 15 countries.
Posted on 19 Aug
Great Britain is the top performing nation at Rio Olympic Sailing
After yesterday’s postponement for lack of breeze, an eighth in double points Medal Race ensured they were the champions Two golds for Giles Scott (Finn) and Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (470 Women) plus Nick Dempsey’s RS:X windsurfing silver ensured Britain has topped the best sailing nation table for four of the last five Olympics.
Posted on 19 Aug
HydroFoil Pro Tour Mauritius – Day 1
Parlier comes out swinging the day one in the lagoon of Pointe d’Esny was what some might identify as champagne sailing. Racers were treated with fifteen to twenty knot winds, flat water, blue skies, and the beautiful backdrop of Isle Mauritius in view. For Frenchman Nico Parlier today’s performance probably has him pondering certain thoughts of champagne. After coming off a regatta victory in San Francisco and then winning all five of today’s races Parlier looks to be the top gun on the tour at the moment.
Posted on 18 Aug