Gaining Momentum—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
Vestas Sailrocket 2 Sailrocket
For fans of speed-sailing records, these are heady times. American Rob Douglas—a kiteboarder—currently holds the outright record, a mind-boggling 55.65 knots, but other takers such as Paul Larsen and his Vestas Sailrocket 2 project are a serious threat. Larsen and his team are currently in Walvis Bay, Namibia, working up their new 'yacht' (it's half plane, half boat), which the team recently unveiled. The plan is to gradually get the boat up to pace with a series of pre-determined speed goals/benchmarks, one of which the team just recently achieved, namely the 30-knot club. Accordingly, Larsen and company uncorked a special bottle of celebratory champagne. 'Nice,' reported Larsen about the day's sailing and the boat's first performance. 'I'm not going to even try and dramatize it as it felt so cruisy and natural... The ride was clean, spray free... almost majestic compared to our first boat. I used to get hammered by spray at 30 knots but not in this boat. I knew we were over 30 knots and finished the run early as it was low tide and the shallows at the end of the course beckoned.' Check out the report inside for more info on Larsen's project and Vestas Sailrocket 2's work-up.
At the Delta Lloyd Regatta, currently taking place in Holland, day one proved to be a windy affair that rewarded those with great heavy-air skills. 'I know I have a good speed in the breeze but I have started well both times,' said Milan Vujasinovic (CRO), who took two bullets in the 120-boat Laser class and is currently sitting in first. 'It was also a matter to be patient and wait for the right shift. The rest was not an issue.' 2010 Laser World Champion Tom Slingsy (AUS) is in second place, with Dutchman Roelof Bouwmeester rounding out the top three in this hyper-competitive class. More about this event and other classes, inside.
Meanwhile, in the Med, the first edition of the Rolex Volcano Race, which starts in Gaeta, Italy and sails past some of Europe's prettiest coastline and scenery, has begun. 'Classic sea-breeze conditions are developing,' said Andrea Casale, tactician on the Swan 90, DSK Pioneer Investments just prior to the start. 'It is something that Italian sailors are very used to. We expect to have good wind nearly all the way to Ponza and we expect to be there well before dusk. Our weather models are showing that the wind will continue through the night. We could be passing Capri by midnight.' Not a bad way to pass an evening... Stay tuned for more from this event.
And in the Velux 5 Oceans Race, Brad Van Liew is leading the pack, as he has for every leg of this around-the-world event. That's the god news for Van Liew. The less god news is that current conditions of the final 1,000 miles of the final leg, from Charlestown, South Carolina, to La Rochelle, France, are a bit bumpy. 'This low-pressure area I'm in is quite a barn-burner,' reported Van Liew. 'I've had up to 47 knots this morning with lots of squalls. The seas have got really gnarly too – not huge but really short and steep. Right now I'm just trying to take care of the boat – I've got three reefs in the main and no jib at all. I wanted to stay north to get the stronger breeze but it has got pretty serious. I should probably have a storm job up but I don't think I'm going to have these winds for too much longer, plus I'm sailing pretty deep downwind. Everything is under control and I have made some really good miles over the last few position reports. I'm just trying to keep my promise to Le Pingouin to push hard and do well but not break anything and get her there in one piece.' Read the full report inside this issue.
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