by Paul Larsen
Paul Larsen, Vestas Sailrocket 2 project leader and pilot, discusses slow speed sailing action.
Vestas Sailrocket 2
If there is something to 'blog' about I will. Unfortunately we have had a long run of very flat weather and it looks set to continue. We are working through odds and ends but basically we need to keep doing runs to follow a process of elimination. We need to see what is stopping us from getting through the mid-low 50's. We doubt it is lack of power. We think it has more to do with an excess of drag.
Once most of the priority jobs were done, we took the opportunity to take a couple of days off. The days can be very long and relentless when the wind machine is on so you have to take these opportunities to get away from it all when you can. Namibia is an awesome country and it is always a pleasure just to load the car and disappear out back.
They are filming the new Mad Max 4 film 'Fury Road' out here at the moment. We often get members of the crew coming down to check out the boat so it was a real pleasure to have the team invited to check out their workshops. It is mind blowing what they do... and the cars... holy s**t!
The Australian petrol heads are going to explode when they see these things. The cars will be the stars. As we drove out towards Brandberg Mountain we drove right through the set and saw all the 'beastly' cars. In the landscape they were designed for... it was pretty impressive. So we camped and braii'd and hiked and stumbled across two bull elephants down a riverbed and basically enjoyed this beautiful part of the world.
Late that night I sat outside the tent reading under a bulb. Everyone was in bed and the campsite was pretty deserted. the sky was clear and a half moon was up. I noticed two low shadows about 20 meters away. It took me a while to realise what I was looking at.
Nothing else moves like large cats. They were highly on edge and I couldn't move an inch or they would clock it. They walked around the perimeter of the light and down a dry river bed. I stood up and they melted into the bush. We checked the tracks in the morning and worked out they must have been cheetahs.
So we came back to Walvis Bay as I always have the fear that we are missing out on something. The forecast was very flat but we moved into standby mode just in case. This basically involves still doing jobs but being ready to sail on short notice in the afternoon if the wind goes against the forecast. It did this yesterday. We got winds over 20 knots at the container so headed across to speed-spot.
The wind over there was gusty between 14 and 24 knots. We tried a run but didn't really expect to get going. I was surprised that we nearly did. It's a real trick at the best of times. We were close yesterday on a number of occasions but 'close' doesn't get the rabbit.
So we are on standby again today. It's already past 2p.m. here and we have very little wind. The rest of the week looks terrible. It is pretty unusual for this time of the year... and hence pretty frustrating.
What It Means....
Well, it means that we have had to book the WSSRC without actually seeing if we can break the outright record. We have to roll the dice. For a program on a modest budget like this one is...
We try not to gamble too much. We have always hoped that we could demonstrate to ourselves definite record breaking runs before we call in the officials. I think you would all agree that it would be a pretty nice position for a project to be in. For a start, you could actually plan for it media-wise.
Now if we do set records, we will all be seeing it for the first time before the WSSRC. It will be the real deal. We had to book the WSSRC well before now but we didn't have to book flights and all the extras yet. That time has now passed and we are committed all round. The record period will commence from the 1-3rd of November and run throughout.
Even now we are hoping to do some big runs before this period... but the forecast looks unlikely. It can change of course. We will be ready.
I have been reading and giving lengthy replies to all your comments on this blog-spot. There was a glitch there as we sorted out a spamming issue but I'm onto it now. There is a bunch of info in those replies for those of you who are into the details.
Enjoy; Cheers for now.
Vestas Sailrocket website