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Wind too mcuh for Sean Langman's Wot Rocket speed sailer

Wednesday July 2nd 2008, Author: Lisa Ratcliff, Location: United Kingdom
Today was the day Wot Rocket pilot Sean Langman and wing man Martin Thompson were going to ‘fly’ but the opportunity was blown out of the water following a delay getting off the beach at Kurnell in Sydney’s southeast.

With 30 knot nor’westerly gusts hurtling across Botany Bay and a building sea, the support team had plenty on trying to hold the 9m sail boat/plane head to wind as it bucked and reared, the breeze under the hull lifting the whole thing skywards.

Earlier, as the wind hovered at the 22-25 knot mark, Langman and Thompson decided to give it a crack but as the media gathered for the much anticipated first shot of Wot Rocket up on its hydrofoils, the breeze hit the high 20s and the test sail was abandoned.

With his father Peter down from Queensland, son, Peter junior, support team and a handful of die hard spectators braving the windswept beach, it was a disappointing end to the day for Langman but he’s ever philosophical: “we all want the thrill but it’s not a setback, it’s all about inching closer toward the goal”.

Wot Rocket’s notice of intention to make an attempt on the 500m world speed sailing record has now been lodged with the World Sailing Speed Record Council in the UK.

The Aussie mavericks are hoping the Council will approve the use of a Trimble GPS receiver, which will record their speed, by the end of the week and once they have the green light, two Speed Council representatives will be on standby for 28 days, the window allocated for an official attempt, to check the GPS’s calibration and ratify the time should Wot Rocket smash through the current record of 49.09 knots.

Thanks to a diet of “emotional stress” Langman has intentionally dropped three kilos. Other luxuries like water bottle holders have also been removed from Wot Rocket’s pod, shaving precious grams off the overall weight.

With Wot Rocket heading back to the workshop for further modifications, including additional bulkheads, the next test sail, which may become the first official attempt depending on the Council’s advice, is scheduled for next week.

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