Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Isotak Ocean

Wot Rocket crash test drama shaken but not stirred

by Lisa Ratcliff on 8 May 2008
Wot Rocket being pulled from the water with the Perspex covers visibly cracked from the impact Genevieve White http://occ.net.au/
The Quest for the Magic 50 knots - Lessons learnt from Wot Rocket's crash test

Today was the day Wot Rocket creator Sean Langman was dreading. Having to exit Wot Rocket's pod as it quickly filled with salt water was proving nightmare material and when the pod was dropped almost three metres into the water off Woolwich Dock to test its strength as well as that of its crew, Langman was out the door within seconds.

Kitted out with breathing apparatus, safety harnesses and crash helmets, the Wot Rocket crew of pilot Sean Langman and co-pilot Martin Thompson completed a successful emergency evacuation simulation today at Woolwich Dock while principle sponsor Graeme Wood looked on.



However the force of the impact revealed a weakness that could have proven disastrous had it not been discovered.

The Perspex covers didn't withstand the impact of the drop and shattered in a number of places which means less flexible polycarbonate canopies will be installed before next Tuesday's first test sail on Botany Bay.

'Better that it happened here than while smashing across Kurnell doing 50 knots,' declared Thompson once he and Langman were ashore, the latter with minor cuts from the cracked shield and both a little shaken but still smiling.

When asked what he remembered from the impact, Langman recounted, 'I remember hearing the crack of Perspex, the sound of rushing water and my own heart pumping'.

The first safety drill involved the crew sitting in the pod while it was lowered into the water using a crane. The pod tipped on its side then began filling slowly with water as the crew evacuated successfully.

Then came the more spectacular hoist and drop of the Wot Rocket pod into Sydney Harbour.



'I'm glad we got this out of the way, now the next chapter begins,' said Langman who four years ago dreamt up the design for Wot Rocket while in the shower. For he and other daredevil sailors, this all-Australian attempt on the current world speed record of 49.09 knots and the 'holy grail' of 50 knots is akin to the four minute mile or breaking the sound barrier.

Wot Rocket's nine metre rigid sail, transverse beam and canoe shaped hull will be trucked down from Newcastle this weekend and on Monday 12 May, 2008, the half sail boat/sail plane will be assembled at Kurnell for the first time with its new components, including a brand new wing which was only finished today. All the electronics still have to be installed in the pod including GPS and wind and speed instruments to measure Wot Rocket's speed as its skimming along Botany Bay up on its foils.

Langman and Thompson plan to test the design in a controlled manner next week and will be happy if they can squeeze 20 knots of speed out of it.

'It will be like driving a Ferrari through a school zone,' laughed Thompson today.

Langman sympathises, 'Next week is about testing the systems and taking it slowly but if the breeze reaches 20 knots it's going to be hard to hold it back'.

Once testing is complete, the project team will dismantle Wot Rocket to check for any structural weaknesses before an official attempt on the world speed sailing record begins in the winter months.

With a handful of teams around the world aiming to be the first to knock French sail boarder Antoine Albeau off the top of the World Sailing Speed Record Council's list for the fastest time over 500 metres, Langman today declared '2008 the year of the speed record'.




upffront 660x82NaiadBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

RS Aerocup - Another magic day at Lake Garda - Day 2
Per Christian continued his domination with a string of firsts showing magical downwind speed through the waves. Per Christian of Norway continued his domination with a string of firsts showing magical downwind speed through the waves.
Posted on 25 Sep
2016 Star Sailors League Finals – Count down to Nassau
The reigning Star World Champion, Miami's Augie Diaz (USA) will be competing in Nassau but is yet to announce his crew. As always the top 12 skippers in the SSL Ranking for the year are invited to challenge and join 13 VIPs sailors selected for the successes achieved in their sailing career.
Posted on 22 Sep
Southern Spars en route to Monaco – Stand QSE2
It’s been another big year for the NZ based company, there's lots of exciting things to talk about the Monaco Yacht Show It’s been another big year for the New Zealand based company, giving us lots of exciting things to talk about at the 2016 Monaco Yacht Show like our two big projects Adix and Aquijo. Adix, the three-masted 65-metre Dykstra schooner, has been transformed by a rig refit by Southern Spars and Future Fibres.
Posted on 22 Sep
America's Cup - Ken Read reflects on the recent World Series - Toulon
Commentator Ken Read on the recently completed round of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Toulon, France. North Sails President, Ken Read, doubles as a live commentator for the official TV feed from the America's Cup World Series. Here's his thoughts, from his blog on the North Sails website on the recently completed round of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Toulon, France. Read also looks ahead to the final round of the America's Cup World Series is Fukuoka, Japan and the strategies
Posted on 22 Sep
North Sails pays tribute to former owner Terry Kohler
Terry Kohler’s vision, leadership, and generosity will be felt within North Sails, and the sport for many years to come The North Sails Group is deeply saddened by the passing of Terry Kohler, owner of North Sails from 1984-2014. North Sails and all of its employees around the world would like to pass their condolences to the family Terry leaves behind, especially his wife Mary. Terry Kohler’s vision, leadership, and generosity will be felt within North Sails, and the sport for many years to come.
Posted on 22 Sep
America's Cup - CNN Mainsail goes inside the teams in Bermuda and UK
CNN goes inside four of the America's Cup teams in Bermuda and Portsmouth, UK for an insight into the design processes Double Olympic Gold medallist and presenter of the outstanding CNN Mainsail series, Shirley Robertson, goes inside four of the America's Cup teams in Bermuda and Portsmouth, UK for an insight into the design processes and angles being pursued by the teams. Then she goes on the water and sees the design teams and sailing teams working together.
Posted on 20 Sep
WIM Series moves on to the US
Next week will see the WIM Series midway event, the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA. Next week will see the Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) midway event, the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA.
Posted on 19 Sep
52fter Worlds - Another level of excellence
Quantum Racing kept up their amazingly high level of consistency to extend their overall lead to 13 points From a difficult, and at times confusing second day of racing at the 52 World Championship 2016 on the beautiful waters off Menorca, Quantum Racing kept up their amazingly high level of consistency to extend their overall lead to 13 points at the top of the high calibre 12-boat fleet.
Posted on 16 Sep
New Sailing World Cup strategy snub to Southern Hemisphere
Australian Sailing expressed its disappointment in elements of World Sailing’s new strategy/format for Sailing World Cup Australian Sailing has expressed its disappointment in elements of World Sailing’s new strategy and format for the Sailing World Cup released earlier this week.
Posted on 16 Sep
2016 Rolex Big Boat Series begins tomorrow
A record fleet of 127 boats has registered for the 52nd edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series. A record fleet of 127 boats has registered for the 52nd edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series. The regatta begins tomorrow and is hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club on San Francisco Bay.
Posted on 15 Sep