Vestas SailRocket update
The UK based Vestas SailRocket team are to return to Walvis Bay in Namibia for one more assault on the outright speed sailing record. The 28 day record period will commence on 2 October.
This will be the final record attempt for this wonderful boat. It has endured a long and eventful life to reach its current level of performance and its structure bears the scars of many a hard earned lesson. This is truly a unique and significant craft which has shown the potential of a radical concept for achieving both stability and efficiency in high speed sailing craft. The team, together with the sponsors and supporters have shared a fascinating journey but their ultimate objective, to be the outright fastest in the world, remains. The journey will only end when this objective is reached, one way or the other.
Already, since committing to this final attempt, the bar has been raised by the mighty French L'Hydroptere. In fact the outright record has been broken six or seven times by three (and nearly four) wildly different craft since Sailrocket was first launched in 2004. Vestas Sailrocket has already beaten the record as it was when she was launched, but now she needs to go almost exactly 4 knots faster again to achieve the new outright record of 51.38 knots*.
Pilot/Project Manager, Paul Larsen comments: "Firstly - congratulations to the L'Hydroptere team. Perseverence pays. Sure we’ve got some work to do... but we wouldn’t be in this game if we didn’t like a challenge. Whilst it has been great to race the other true ‘boats’, it is the outright record we all strive for. This means that ultimately we have to beat the board riders as well. The MI (Macquarie Innovations) boys showed that they were within reach, now thanks to Hydroptere, the boat record IS the outright speed sailing record. Soon it’s going to be our shot to see if we can turn it up some more.
"Nothing focuses the mind like competition. The record hasn’t fallen so many times recently by chance. Sometimes the limits are as much psychological as they are physical. When the level you need to attain gets so high that your current best isn’t enough then your options become limited and in some respect the job gets easier. You simply have to change your sights and find another gear. In this case it is ‘all or nothing’. We will no longer focus on the mile record as the Walvis Bay course is a little too short to challenge the new benchmark. We will go down there with our eyes firmly on the outright prize. 50 knots is last year’s story... we simply have to go well over that now. I look forward to taking this wonderful boat out to do battle one more time. There’s a final chapter to be written and I’m sure she still has a few knots up her sleeve. It will take one hell of a ‘suck-it and-see’ ride on the ragged edge that’s for sure!"
Vestas Sailrocket Designer, Malcolm Barnsley adds: "Now, in order to achieve our ultimate aim, we need to go almost exactly 4 knots quicker. We have learnt so much since we started. Through constant development we have managed to solve most of the relatively minor issues surrounding a new concept and allowed the real potential to begin to shine through. All of the boat projects have shown that when it all comes together, there are still large performance jumps that can be made at the top end. On paper, the 500m record is definitely within reach but everything has to be just right and if we do make it... I doubt it will be by a big margin. Even in a place like Walvis Bay, which provides fantastic conditions on a regular basis, it will take a special day. Let’s hope we get those perfect conditions to make chasing down those four knots as easy as possible!
The team will be on full standby at Walvis Bay Yacht Club throughout the whole record period. Regular updates and live feeds will be streamed from the new website www.vestassailrocket.com throughout the attempt.
*as of writing this, Hydroptere’s records are still subject to WSSRC ratification.