Sailing’s Outright World Speed Record is an intensely contested subset of sailing, that, unlike other most avenues of competitive sailing, relies on an accepting, 'run-what-ya-brung' mentality towards eligible craft. American kiteborder Rob Douglas is the current record holder after establishing a mind-numbing pace of 55.65 knots during the 2010 Luderitz Speed Challenge, but other serious contenders include a 'flying' trimaran (L’Hydroptere
), as well as a strange-looking new craft that her skippers refer to as '50-50 plane and boat'. Paul Larsen’s newly commissioned Vestas Sailrocket 2
(VSR2), the successor to Larsen’s seriously quick Vestas Sailrocket,
uses a wingsail as well as foils, and is anything but a seaworthy craft, requiring flat protected water. But, give her enough wind, and the limits are anything but established. Larsen, the VSR2 and his team are currently assembled in Walvis Bay, Namibia, where they are slowly working the boat up to pace in an ideal flat-water setting. Thus far, light winds and prudent caution have meant very limited sea trials and slow sailing, but, according to Larsen, 'she looked bloody fantastic and gave me confidence. I know that in these mild conditions that this sense of confidence can be false... but once again, we learned a lot, will improve the boat and come back out again.' Check out Larsen’s full report, in this issue, for more information.
In Olympic sailing news, ISAF has confirmed ten events for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. The announcement came at the 2011 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting, which took place in St Petersburg, Russia. As was heavily rumored, the 2016 games will include the Men’s Board and/or Kiteboard, Women’s Board and/or Kiteboard, Men's One Person Dinghy (Laser), Women's One Person Dinghy, Men's second One Person Dinghy (Finn), Men's Skiff, Women's Skiff, Men's Two Person Dinghy, Women's Two Person Dinghy events, as well as the new Mixed Two Person Multihull event. Glaringly absent from this list, of course, is the venerable Star, as well as Women’s Match Racing. (If you’re wondering why there are two one-man dinghy events, yet no Star sailing, you’re on the right track…) According to reports, the atmosphere at the Mid-Year Meeting was tense to say the least; be sure to check out all of the reports from this meeting in this issue, and stay tuned for more about this momentous decision, as it becomes known.
And in AC circles, the sailing and media circus that was the America's Cup Media Trials has now wrapped up in Auckland, New Zealand, and teams are debriefing and decamping. 'It was a real open book,' said ORACLE Racing’s skipper, Jimmy Spithill. 'Everyone is trying to achieve the same goal, so all the competitors worked together as well as one group, so the more we do that, the more chance we've got of making a polished product. I think we're leaving here with a couple of great systems.' While this means a pause in AC45 racing action, it also means that the first event of the America’s Cup World Series, to be held in Cascais, Portugal from July 6-16, is now on the near horizon. As for what’s next, Artemis Racing’s Santi Lange summed it up well: 'We will do a training camp in Valencia and then we're on to Cascais for the first America’s Cup World Series. So there's plenty on, and right now.' Stay tuned for more on the America’s Cup World Series and the AC45 class, as it becomes known.
May the four winds blow you safely home,