Helena Darvelid / Vestas SailRocket

Vestas SailRocket 2 record period begins

One month to better 55.65 knots for Paul Larsen's team

Friday November 18th 2011, Author: Paul Larsen, Location: Namibia

Vestas Sailrocket 2 commenced its first 28 day world record period today. It is aiming to break the outright world speed sailing record which involves setting the best average time over a 500m course. The team will be under the watchful eye of the WSSRC, speed sailing's ratifying body, and have a 28 day period where they will remain on standby waiting for ideal weather conditions.

The current Outright world speed sailing record stands at 55.65 knots and is held by American kite-surfer, Rob Douglas, set in October last year in Luderitz, Namibia.

Vestas Sailrocket 2 was designed and built On the Isle of Wight in the UK. She was built in the Vestas R+D facilities by the Sailrocket team and launched on 8 March this year. Shortly afterwards the whole project was shipped to Walvis Bay in Namibia where conditions are considered ideal for setting world sailing speedrecords. The team learnt a lot from their first boat and Vestas Sailrocket 2 is a much more refined product. Her progress has been impressive as she has already hit peak speeds over 54 knots (100kmh) during trials. A passenger even came along for the ride!

Vestas Sailrocket 2 is designed to be a breakthrough boat, to confront the problems affecting high speed sailing craft head on and break through to a whole new level of performance. Speeds of over 60 knots (69mph, 111kmh) are targeted.

“Overall the boat is performing exceptionally well” says Paul Larsen (Australian project leader/pilot). “She is a powerful beast of a boat but the trouble is that the underwater foils we need to use to go extremely fast with create a lot of drag. Every time we go for a run we create an enormous tug of war between the wind and the water. The secret will be to reduce the drag, not increase the power. We have to keep experimenting. We were hoping to be setting world record breaking speeds before our actual record attempt started but this has not been the case. Any big breakthroughs we make will be done for the first time before the record officials. It’s very exciting as we are deep in the speed sailing ‘laboratory’ here and we have all the ingredients to make a big, shiny, new world record. I personally feel that I’m close to achieving a lifetime dream. We have a solid team and first class support from VESTAS to open up a new frontier. It's a fascinating project. I’m nervous, excited and confident... I’m ready for this.”

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