10 knot jump in world sailing speed record in 10 days

Helena Darvelid / www.vestassailrocket.com
Paul Larsen describes how he took Vestas SailRocket to the unimaginable speed of 65 knots...average
Do we have any superlatives left? Possibly not. If taking the World Speed Sailing Record over a 500m course up from 55.65 to 59.23 knots Friday before last was not a big enough leap in the record, Paul Larsen and his Vestas SailRocket this Saturday launched the record into outer space when they clocked a unimaginable 65.45 knot average speed off the beach at Walvis Bay, Namibia. These records have yet to be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, but given that this record has typically gone up in knot or half knot increments over the last decades, to have packed almost 10 knots on to kiteboarder Rob Douglas’ previous record over the last 10 days represents the most groundbreaking moment we’ve ever witnessed in our rather long career in yachting journalism. For Larsen, sailing’s own Chuck Yeager (the first man to go supersonic), it is a case of ‘job done’, although he reckons there is still fuel in the tank. While he managed a peak speed of 67.76 knots on ‘the run’ on Saturday, he believes a 70 knot peak speed still to be possible. But on Saturday Larsen exceeded even his own demanding expectations: “I was hoping for a 62. I thought that would have been good,” he admits. While their previous 59 knot record occurred in one take, Saturday’s took considerably more effort and only happened after two runs that were in the ballpark, but not quite good enough. Larsen explains: “The first run we were aiming for 60 knots and it was a 63 knot peak and a 58 average, but it sagged off a bit in the middle, so it was still fast but it didn’t string the average together.” On the second run he came close to totalling Vestas SailRocket before he’d even started. “That was pretty