Getting in the man from the WSSRC

The time has come...Paul Larsen's Vestas SailRocket to make her official attempt on the world sailing speed record

Monday November 17th 2008, Author: Paul Larsen, Location: United Kingdom
Vestas SailRocket will make its first WSSRC ratified attempt on the outright world speed sailing record for a 28 day period commencing on 23 November.

The radical UK-designed and built boat is currently based in Walvis Bay, Namibia and will use the steady local winds and flat seas to make her attempt.

After over four years of development and evolution, the team behind the Vestas SailRocket project feel that the time is right to step in the ring against the official clock in the form of a WSSRC ratified world record attempt.

Project manager/pilot Paul Larsen said: “We have only called in the WSSRC because we feel we are ready. I feel that we are beginning to tame the beast... to get her under control. Real speed will only come with control. Only now do we feel that we have the boat we specified quite a few years ago. It’s been one hell of a battle to get her to the stage where she is ready to go toe to toe with the best that have ever been. The last few runs we made have really boosted our confidence in the boat and what she can deliver. Going up against the official clock will focus the mind like nothing else. If the wind is right and Vestas SailRocket is ready... I know what my job will involve. Personally I am more excited than nervous about the possibilities of what the next month or so may hold.”

Vestas SailRocket has fought through a long and often cruel development process to reach this stage. It will be the first serious attempt on the Outright record by a UK boat since the legendary Crossbow’s I and II set the pace from 1972-86.

Vestas SailRocket designer, Malcolm Barnsley commented: “Reaching this stage has been a stressful experience from a design perspective. This boat represents our first stab at a unique concept of stability in sailing and we aren’t just going out there to see it work... but rather to make this Mk I better than anything that has been. There were times when we thought the task would overwhelm us... but here we are. Sometimes, in many disciplines, just making it to the start-line is a huge achievement in its own right. In the context of this record, that’s where we are now. I chose to pursue this design many years ago because I believed that it had the right ingredients to live in the knife-edge world of very high speed sailing. We shall soon see if it has what it takes to be the fastest ever. I don’t expect it to be easy!”

Finn Strom Madsen, President Vestas tecnology R&D added: "We are on track and very pleased to be making this first record attempt. The team has worked hard to go this far. Now we look forward to having the fastest sailing boat on the planet"

The record attempt will take place out of Walvis Bay yacht Club in Namibia from 23 November-20 December. The team will be on permanent standby to make the most of any weather windows that come their way. A successful 500m run required to break the outright record will only take around 19.5 seconds.

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