by Paul Larsen
Vestas Sailrocket 2, the radical speed sailing craft, started its first 28 day world record period today, 18th November 2011. It is aiming to break the outright world speed sailing record which involves setting the best average time over a 500 meter course.
VESTAS Sailrocket 2
The team will be under the watchful eye of the WSSRC (the sports ratifying body) and have a 28 day period where they will remain on standby waiting for ideal weather conditions.
The current outright world speed sailing record stands at 55.65 knots and is held by American kite-surfer, Rob Douglas. It was set in October last year in Luderitz, Namibia.
Vestas Sailrocket 2 was designed and built on the Isle of Wight in the UK. She was built in the Vestas R+D facilities by the Sailrocket team and launched on March 8th this year. Shortly afterwards the whole project was shipped to Walvis Bay in Namibia where conditions are considered ideal for setting world records. The team learnt a lot from their first boat and Vestas Sailrocket 2 is a much more refined product. Her progress has been impressive as she has already hit peak speeds over 54 knots (100kmh) during trials. A passenger even came along for the ride!
Vestas Sailrocket 2 is designed to be a breakthrough boat. It is designed to confront the problems affecting high speed sailing craft head on and break through to a whole new level of performance. Speeds of over 60 knots (69mph, 111kmh) are targeted.
'Overall the boat is performing exceptionally well' says Paul Larsen (Australian project leader/pilot). 'She is a powerful beast of a boat but the trouble is that the underwater foils we need to use to go extremely fast with create a lot of drag. Every time we go for a run we create an enormous tug of war between the wind and the water. The secret will be to reduce the drag, not increase the power. We have to keep experimenting. We were hoping to be setting world record breaking speeds before our actual record attempt started but this has not been the case. Any big breakthroughs we make will be done for the first time before the record officials. It’s very exciting as we are deep in the speed sailing ‘laboratory’ here and we have all the ingredients to make a big, shiny, new world record. I personally feel that I’m close to achieving a lifetime dream. We have a solid team and first class support from Vestas to open up a new frontier. It's a fascinating project. I’m nervous, excited and confident... I’m ready for this.'
Full project details and updates will be posted online throughout the attempt.
Vestas Sailrock 2 website