sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Sailrocket 2 - Getting used to 50 knots

Sailrocket 2 - Getting used to 50 knots

'Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots'    Vestas Sailrocket - copyright

The team behind the Vestas Sailrocket 2 program are in Walvis Bay in Namibia to continue their quest to set the outright world speed sailing record.

Paul Larsen:


Well yesterday turned into a pretty wild day. The way the morning was unfolding we knew the wind was going to outperform the forecast.

Sailrocket 2 had up to now done four runs within a knot of 50 knots. Two over and two under. We weren’t sure if we had hit some sort of flow phenomena relating to the radical new foil around this speed. The team here in Namibia had been hurriedly collating all the data from onboard the boat and the shore to send it to the ‘brains trust’ back in the UK. As no two runs are the same we wanted to get a solid understanding of where we should be performance wise and what our areas of weakness are. As it stands, we feel we should be hitting peak speeds around 60 knots. The ‘brains trust’ aren’t that emotional... they just want good data and the understanding it generates.

As is often the case, the weather comes before the understanding and you just have to ‘wing’ it and get out there. We decided we wouldn’t change anything major and that we should simply try and get more information that would better define developing trends. It would be my job to simply do more clean runs down the course to generate more points on the graph.

When we got over to ‘speed-spot’ we noted that the wind was still very West. This means we get a small swell rolling down the course along with the wind chop. It also gives us a TWA of around 120 degrees which is a bit too downwind for us. When the wind started gusting over 26 knots I decided to do a shakedown run anyway. As The support RIB lowered me out onto the course I noted that I was actually pointing backwards up the course due to the offset fuselage angle of the boat. Nonetheless, Sailrocket 2 took off and I bore away down the course. She went well but lacked the big accelerating lunges that we were looking for. At the end of the course I only had to bear away a little for the speed to drop off rapidly. Obviously the TWA was too deep and the wing had been on the edge of stall. The team asked how fast it had been but I didn’t even think it was worth mentioning. It turns out we had once again hit 50 knots! I’m getting used to it now.

We towed VSR2 back up to the timing hut and decided to wait for the wind to settle further South. The day was building but it was very unsettled. We were getting wind ranges from 21 to 31 knots and swinging through 20 degrees. This wasn’t good for generating steady data. Nick had arrived back from the UK. He had landed in Walvis, caught a taxi to the Yacht Club, climbed into a Musto drysuit and was RIB’d across the lagoon to speed-spot still spinning. We waited for the wind to settle for an hour. It was improving marginally.

I decided that it would be a good opportunity to try out the back seat in Vestas Sailrocket 2. Adam from Wired magazine USA had been put in contact with us and wanted to come and see us try and break through the cavitations barrier. He has been living with us for the past month and watched our steady, solid progress. The actual 'Barrier' was proving very hard to define. Adam was leaving the next day so I figured it was the perfect time to try out the back seat. He seemed pretty keen. As we had never tried to sail the boat two up, I made no promises as to how it would go.

It was obviously windy at the top of the course. I really liked having someone else on board to share the sensation. I could feel the extra weight on the front float and knew this was the problem area.

With all the drag on the front float of VSR2, it resisted sliding sideways to help me bear away onto the course. I struggled to get the nose to bear away and every time I sheeted out to get the flow attached to the wing, VSR2 just turned more into the wind. I was now sailing back into the shore and running out of room. I way over sheeted the wing to windward to stall it and perhaps force the nose of the boat to bear away. With all the drag it stubbornly refused.

Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots -  Vestas Sailrocket?nid=89841_- copyright

I got Adam to release a small control line in the back cockpit which allowed me to over sheet some more. I also told him that it doesn’t look like it’s going to work. He reluctantly acknowledged this and already said thanks for trying. Slowly the boat began to respond and bear away. I told him to hold his horses as we might be on to a winner. Sure enough we managed to bear away and slowly slide sideways away from the beach. When I was happy that we were in a good position I eased the wing out to about 20 degrees and began the start up trajectory that allows me to straighten out the small front mounted rudder. This gets rid of a lot of drag and the acceleration begins. There was a lot more spray as the nose began to lift but already I knew we were going to get a run in. This was great. Someone else was going to join me for a wild ride down what was left of the magical mile that is ‘speed-spot’. My big concern was that we had already used up 800 meters trying to get started. This meant we only had about 800 meters left before we were into the shallows at the end of the course. There wasn’t enough depth for me to sail through these shallows with the foil down.

Vestas Sailrocket 2 accelerated a little more slowly... but then she hooked in. I was heading straight at the Timing hut and bore away onto the course. It was fast.

Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots -  Vestas Sailrocket?nid=89841_- copyright  

Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots -  Vestas Sailrocket?nid=89841_- copyright  

Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots -  Vestas Sailrocket?nid=89841_- copyright  

I was stoked that Adam was going to get a good ride. The leeward pod was already flying quite high as we shot past the hut at around 48-50 knots.

Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots -  Vestas Sailrocket?nid=89841_- copyright  

Then we bisected another couple of punchy gusts and VSR2 shot forward. I forgot about the passenger and focused on the situation rapidly unfolding before me. I don't think Adam had expected me to go flat out with him onboard. He was probably expecting a somewhat watered down ride. So whilst I'm going faster than I've ever been before, he's in the back doing this...

Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots -  Vestas Sailrocket?nid=89841_- copyright  

Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots -  Vestas Sailrocket?nid=89841_- copyright  

Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots -  Vestas Sailrocket?nid=89841_- copyright  

Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots -  Vestas Sailrocket?nid=89841_- copyright  

The boat was smoking and I wanted to ride the gust to get the 500 meter average. Things were coming up quick. I eased the wing and bore away but VSR2 hardly slowed down. I was now out of runway and had to take evasive action so as not to hit the shallows at speed. At around 45 knots I swung into a hard right hand turn into the beach and wind. It was a long hard turn that the boat actually accelerated into as she smoked through her own ‘power window’. I knew I was in shallow water and started to try and release the main foil pin before we settled down to allow it to kick up but we slowed too quick. I felt the foil start to plough the thick mud and shell bottom. Not nice when the leading edge is a thin sharp edge as it is on this foil. We slowed quickly and stuck. I knew the situation wasn’t yet under control and could even escalate from here. VSR2 was floating and only the main foil tip was stuck. The grounding hadn’t been very hard so I doubted any serious damage. The RIB took ages to get to us as I tried to free the foil. I looked back at Adam and he was just wide eyed and looking at me for my response as to what had just happened. He had seen the GPS just in front of him. I was still concerned about the boat. As I tried to get things sorted I could sense Adam trying to draw my attention to the GPS. He wanted to know what the 53 number meant. I kept focusing on the boat but he persisted wanting to know what had just happened... how fast was that. 'What had I just witnessed'? Eventually I jumped in the back cockpit and checked it out. 53.92 knots and a 50.05 500 meter average (54.4 on the processing and 50 even for the 500). It quickly dawned on me what had just happened. I told Adam that I had spent a great part of my life trying to sail on the fastest boats in the world... and in one ride he had been as fast as I had ever been. He was stoked. He had seen speed sailing at its best. He really hadn’t expected me to go that hard with him in the back. Neither had I really... but when your gust comes along... what are you going to do?

That was our first ever 50 knot average run... and it was all pretty easy. I had a 75kg passenger sitting up in the back waving and none of the extra aero aids onboard. The wing wasn’t fully sheeted in as the pod was already flying high and that would just make it go higher. I could easily see where another 5-8 knots would come from. VSR2 had beaten VSR1’s best ever run and she is still getting warmed up. I know now that we have a real contender. The kitesurfers are no longer the undisputed kings. They are the hunted. I know we haven’t done it yet but with every run our confidence grows. We were all buzzing as the thrill of a big run and what it represented began to sink in. The foil damage was only cosmetic. It’s one tough boat. Adam came to the breakfast table still smiling and was still buzzing as he got on the plane later today. He couldn’t have hoped for a better experience... short of going 60 of course.

Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots -  Vestas Sailrocket?nid=89841_- copyright

So, what does this mean for where we are at now performance wise?

The wind was between 24 and 29 knots on that run as you will clearly see on a video Helena is putting together now. The extra speed probably came due to a strong gust around 29 knots. I think we are still underperforming but not by a huge margin. We can only improve on this with refinement. Like I said, there were some easy gains to be had there.

We built VSR 2 to be a tough and rugged boat up to the job of sailing in 30 knots of wind. She is doing this admirably. Refinement takes time and sometimes you don’t have it... but you do have lots of wind. If we can bludgeon a world record out of a top-end windy day just using brute force then so be it. The final speed is what counts. We are already demonstrating that we can sail hard on top end days. It’s the apparent wind speed that will ultimately count, not the true wind speed. So, from this point I believe we can beat the current world record. I know we will continue to progress and that 60 knots isn’t that far away. We believe that the new foil will keep delivering the goods at speeds where conventional foils will get marginal. We do still have the conventional foil and are looking forward to seeing just how far it can be pushed. We will do that soon.

The rate of progress has been staggering. We barely have time to collate and assess the data before we have moved on a substantial amount and generated a whole new pile of data. We believe that our performance is directly attributed to the unknown performance of the foil. We will continue to work on ways to make it perform better and it is entirely possible that we can make it perform a lot better. Simply put, in our crudest form sailing at our design maximum wind speed, we are already in the ball park. It’s an exciting prospect. I personally want to see at least a 65 at some stage of the game.

Sailrocket 2 - getting used to 50 knots -  Vestas Sailrocket?nid=89841_- copyright

Ratified World Record attempt coming
So we have begun discussion with the WSSRC and it looks like we will start our attempt on the 17th of next month... maybe sooner (The price has gone up by £500... probably for some ISAF party absolutely essential to speed sailing). This will be immediately after the kite surfers record attempt down in Luderitz. It seems like an odd event. Why aren’t Rob Douglas and the other guns invited? Oh well, hopefully we can bring the Outright record a few hundred kilometres further North. Either way it’s going to be a big couple of months for speed sailing in Namibia and one way or the other the record will stay here.

The next weather window looks to be around next Tuesday. The wing skins had split in places indicating that they were perishing from the UV. If you can give the skins a hard flick and they split/shatter… it’s time to change them. We have taken the wing off again and will give it a serious makeover. We will also work on all the seals between the sections to reduce any pressure leakage. Some of the aero fittings will start going on and more weight will be taken off as redundant systems are removed. Piece by piece we will build a record.

Cheers, Paul

Vestas Sailrocket 2 website




by Paul Larsen

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=89841

10:44 AM Fri 21 Oct 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


News - USA and the World

Zhik’s range of Isotak® Ocean foul weather gear will be protecting two rising stars in the Class 40 fleet in the 2014 Route du Rhum, the most famous and most demanding of all the transatlantic races. Bertrand Delesne and Arnaud Boissières, who gained their colours in the Mini 650 and Figaro fleets respectively, have both chosen Zhik’s Isotak® Ocean range for their Route du Rhum campaigns, which ... [more]  

Team Alvimedica's OBR Amory Ross reports on the crew's progress as they continue to head south in the Volvo Ocean Race. The last week of sailing has been full of tactical decisions as the team decide when to head south and when to turn east towards Cape Town. ... [more]  

Nandor Fa and Marcell Goszleth are the first Hungarian duo to take part in this renowned double handed non-stop sprint around the world. The Barcelona World Race will be the very first real race for Spirit of Hungary, which has been designed and partly built? by Nandor Fa himself. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team SCA OBR Corinna Halloran reports on day 20 for the crew. Wow; A bit of a monumental day—both literally and figuratively. Three weeks ago it was the eve of the start my friends took me for one last ice cream and I couldn’t figure out if I was nervous or not nervous. ... [more]  

Talent, passion, ability, success. All qualities that spring to mind with regard to Luke Patience, the 28 year old 470 Class silver medallist from London 2012. SSL is delighted to announce that Luke has now accepted the Star Sailors League invitation to participate in our 2014 Finals, becoming the second UK special guest star, alongside newly-crowned Finn World Champion Giles Scott. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Like in the old English tale of Robin Hood, it’s a case of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. That is what we have been seeing over the last few days. More wind just behind the leaders has allowed the middle, poorer pack to catch the rich leaders. ... [more]  

American Windsurfing Tour Severne Starboard Aloha Classic 2014 - Today we have all been treated to an incredible spectacle of windsurfing, on the second day of competition at the AWT pro bracket of the Severne Starboard Aloha Classic. ... [more]  

The International Kiteboarding Association’s (IKA) annual general meeting next Tuesday (Nov 4) is likely to debate measures put forward by the Polish Kiteboarding Association (PKA) that would effectively outlaw ram-air kites from the beginning of next year. ... [more]  

Today was the top performance day of the 2014 Chris Benz Lüderitz World Record Chase with 50+Knots performances recorded, as well as many PBs and four country records falling. Strong 25-35 knot winds were forecast for today and this proved true, however, the angle of the wind only allowed for optimal performances towards the end of the day’s racing. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Still tight at front as Roaring Forties beckon *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
According to the routing function of Predictwind, the three boats are covered by just 10 miles in terms of distance to be sailed to the finish on their optimum course, more telling is that on the same basis just seven minutes would cover the first and third boats to finish. Sail-World interviewed Team Vestas skipper, Chris Nicholson this morning - he comments in this report. ... [more]  

The Aloha Classic is the longest existing windsurfing wave event (together with Sylt in Germany). 2014 marks 30 years since the very first event and the 25th edition of the Aloha Classic. Let me rewind back to when I was a young journalist, following the evolution of windsurfing, back then windsurfing was called ‘the fastest growing sport’… ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica heads south by Amory Ross, Team Alvimedica
OBR Amory Ross reports on Team Alvimedica’s progress in the Volvo Ocean Race. It’s wild that after six days of sailing down the coast of South America we finally found ourselves pointed directly at Cape Town (going 16 knots) but all the routing indicates we’re not far enough to the south so down we go! ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team SCA coach Brad Jackson gives his thoughts on Leg 1. 'We very much understand what the girls are trying to do and who they are competing against and if they do things well they are right up there in the mix. ... [more]  

Little Traverse Yacht Club (Harbor Springs, Michigan) won the Yacht Club Challenge in the 106th Running of the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. ... [more]  

Want to see 40 great sailing champions in action in stunning Nassau in the Bahamas? The Star Sailors League, an emerging international circuit, is offering the chance to win a four-day holiday for two people with accommodation at the luxury Atlantis resort and water park. ... [more]  

Bidding is now open in the auction to join the Volvo Ocean Race as a part of Team Alvimedica and support heart charities around the world! Team Alvimedica supporters have the unique chance to bid on two experiences that will take place at each stopover throughout the race. ... [more]  

The seventh edition of the St Barth Cata Cup is set to be thrilling. Sixty teams will go head to head aboard the last generation of F18 boats: Hobbie Wild Cat, Nacra Infusion MKII, Cirrus R, Phantom and C2. It is a high-speed, tactical, technical and spectacular discipline! ... [more]  

AWT Severne Starboard Aloha Classic 2014 - The day started early with a traditional Hawaiian blessing, welcoming everyone to the beach and setting the wheels in motion for a fantastic contest. As the ceremony continued the wind started to blow and straight after the skipper's meeting it was straight on with the pro men competition. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - After 19 days of Leg one, the leaders are still within sight of each other, something we don’t think we’ve ever seen at such a stage between Alicante and Cape Town. It’s the ultimate inshore race, staged hundreds of miles offshore. Abu Dhabi, Team Brunel and Team Vestas Wind are locked against each other with Dongfeng Race Team just 17NM further adrift. ... [more]  

The Taiwan 2014 Kitesurfing Open & Green Tourism Miaoli proved to be an interesting event for the Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) to get involved with at the Longfong Fish Harbour beach front in Jhunan. As the KTA had been wanting for some time to bring an event to the renowned high wind shores of Taiwan, which is famous for its windy conditions 300 days a year. ... [more]  

Best possible conditions are expected when 2014 World Championships in ISAF-class Kona One is about to start in Islamorada, Florida on Saturday, November 1. A total of 115 sailors from five continents will line up making it the largest Kona event ever. The outcome is very open with a number of high-profiled sailors with multiple international championship wins in different windsurfing classes. ... [more]  

2015 U.S. Youth Sailing Championships - The dates for the 2015 U.S. Youth Championships, hosted by Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass., have been changed to July 6-10 from the traditional second week in August ... [more]  

'It is no less important to the Commodore as air or water,' said Staff Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club Chuck Nichols. The Lipton Cup is arguably one of the most iconic regattas in the sailing community. This three-day regatta is an invitation-only event where the best sailors from around the country compete to represent their yacht clubs. ... [more]  

Year in and year out, the U.S. Disabled Championships is one of the most fascinating sailing events in the world. A strong collection of the top sailors in the country are in Galveston, Texas preparing for this week’s three-day championship, which begins Thursday, October 30 and concludes Saturday, November 1. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas back-slams both race leaders *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
The Chris Nicholson skippered Team Vestas Wind, has made a big gain in the last 12 hours in the Volvo Ocean Race, and is now positioned between the two lead boats. The Danish flagged entry had been positioned to the west of the leaders, who were in the fringe of the St Helena High. ... [more]  

Last night all the American Windsurfing Tour riders, and some of the top PWA sailors, enjoyed a fantastic opening party and registration for the Aloha Classic at Adventure Sports Maui. Food, drinks, photos and lots of chat was the order of the evening, and this morning all with gather again at 9am for the official opening blessing. ... [more]  

Many know Bill Erkelens as a former rigger, team manager for the Maxi Sayonara and subsequently Campaign manager for Oracle Racing during the IACC efforts and a really good sailor with a solid Rolodex of connections in the yacht racing world. When the opportunity to manage a Volvo team arose, Bill did not hesitate, and in late 2013, the Bay Area Native accepted the roles as COO for Team Alvimedica ... [more]  

Team Alvimedica OBR Amory Ross reports on the crew’s progress in the Volvo Ocean Race. Even in the 'straight-line' sailing that has dominated the last portion of the race, the dynamic of our fleet position has been in a state of constant change. ... [more]  

Team SCA OBR Corinna Halloran reports on day 18 for the crew in the Volvo Ocean Race. We are fighting. We are determined. We are focused. Yes, today was not easy, but we did not allow ourselves to slow down-- we sailed with the conditions given and sailed at 100% performance. ... [more]  

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) published its 2015 Anti-Doping Code on Wednesday (29 October), which will apply to all Member organisations, Paralympic Games and IPC recognised International Federations, from 1 January 2015. ... [more]  

Sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston hopes to inspire greater French participation in ocean racing through his entry in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. 'France is a nation of sailors with excellent role models; legends in their own right,' said Sir Robin. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - The big news of yesterday was the introduction of an ice gate by Race Director Jack Lloyd. Designed to take away the temptation for the teams to dive deep south in the search for better pressure and a better angle to Cape Town. The Ice Gate is placed at 42 deg South between 20W and 10W, seen on the screenshot below. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Up until now the comment from the boats to the east has been that Team Vestas Wind had made a bad move by digging west. But now, with the high pressure to the east expanding, perhaps Wouter on the Danish boat has read the future a little better and has set his team up for a comeback. ... [more]  

Optimist World Championship 2014 - Strong winds for the second stage
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Brunel snatch lead for now
Volvo Ocean Race: Ice Gate laid in Southern Ocean on Leg 1 *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race - Reality for Team Vestas Wind
Volvo Ocean Race: Straight-line progress continues for Team Alvimedica
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA entering the Southern Ocean + Video
Comanche ocean trials in Newport + Video
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - Title race thrown wide open
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards one week away
Clipper Race - Is this the toughest job on the ocean?
PIC Coastal Classic Roundup: Almost 30 minutes slashed off record
America's Cup: Artemis Racing signs seventh Olympic Gold medalist
Pieces in place for the 2015 GC32 Racing Tour
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Behind the numbers
Volvo Ocean Race: Front runners open gap for Cape Town *Feature
AWT - PWA Finale 2014: Severne Starboard Aloha Classic - One day to go
2014 International Masters Regatta - Augie Diaz takes the trophy
Volvo Ocean Race - Supreme sailing for Team Alvimedica
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA, united by one
A big shift for Pumpkin Pursuit in Richmond
ISAF Annual Conference to take place in Palma de Mallorca, Spain   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15: Latest position report: October 27, 1700 UTC   
Oakcliff Ocean Racing Team to race RORC Transatlantic Race   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - The search for skippers is on   
China Cup Int'l Regatta - Windier weather brings victory for Vanke   
Argo Group Gold Cup - Stena Sailing Team wins in Bermuda   
GC 32 Foiling Cat Argo sets Mount Gay Rum Around Jamestown Record   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15: Latest position report, October 27, 0630 UTC   
2014 RS:X Youth Worlds - Going out with a bang! + Video   
2015 Flying Dutchman World Championships - Winners will be Grinners!   
RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup - Denmark’s Christian Spodsberg wins   
Argo Group Gold Cup 2014 - Berntsson joins sailing’s elite   
Sand Flies versus Foiling Moths - Moth World Championship 2015 *Feature   
2015 International 14 World Championship - Frasch leads German team   
Ian Williams and GAC Pindar set up an exciting AWMRT finale   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 Leg one – South Atlantic tactics   
Volvo Ocean Race: Steady run to the finish at Cape Town   
18ft Skiffs: Club Championship - Race one   
2014 Optimist World Championship - Race started with a clear day   
2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - Fernando de Noronha   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT