Vestas SailRocket 2 to be unveiled soon

Quietly in Cowes, the latest iteration of Paul Larsen's new speed sailer has been taking shape

Thursday February 17th 2011, Author: Paul Larsen, Location: United Kingdom

The Sailrocket team will launch its second-generation speed sailing boat from the Isle of Wight on 8 March, 2011. Vestas Sailrocket 2 is designed to be significantly faster than its predecessor, with the ultimate aim of breaking the outright World Speed Sailing Record for a 500m course.

During the last 15 months, the Sailrocket team has been focused on building a better, safer and – above all – faster boat in Vestas Technology R&D’s facilities on the Isle of Wight. Now Vestas Sailrocket 2 will be launched to the public for the first time.

“Since we started pursuing the Outright World Speed Sailing Record 9 years ago, the record has been raised by exactly 9 knots. The current record holders, the kite surfers, have taken it out of the reach of all the previous contenders and it is going to take a very special boat to get it back. Vestas Sailrocket 2 is a boat that aims high. The only satisfactory outcome for us is the outright record,” says Paul Larsen, pilot and project leader from the Sailrocket 2 team.

With the record raised to the current level, the ambitious team behind Sailrocket is even more eager to develop a boat to break the Outright World Speed Sailing Record. In order to do that, conventional design has been left behind and everything is pushed to the limit.

“Many lessons have been learned since the first Sailrocket was launched in 2004. The first boat shows the scars of the many learning processes we have been through over the years. In the end it performed as predicted; although she briefly emerged as the fastest boat in the world, she never achieved the Outright record title. The record was like a mirage: as we got faster, so did the record,” Paul Larsen says.

“We learnt a lot with the first boat. The recent performance of the kite surfers vindicated our decision to build a new boat. I’m confident that Sailrocket 2 has the potential to take the record to new levels.”

Main Sailrocket sponsor Finn Strøm Madsen, President of Vestas Technology R&D, emphasises the Sailrocket team’s efforts in bringing knowledge about wind, design and sailing together in order to be the fastest in the world.

“Vestas has a deep interest in the Sailrocket project. By using innovation and technological breakthroughs you can harvest the power of wind with ever-improving efficiency. That is the key for both Vestas and Sailrocket. I look forward to seeing the new Vestas Sailrocket 2 push the boundaries of wind driven performance in the search of speed,” says Finn Strøm Madsen.

Vestas Sailrocket has continuously pushed the limits for speed sailing and currently holds the B class world record for speed sailing. Vestas SailRocket 2 is a development of the first boat but retains the fundamental concept of having the sail and keel elements positioned so that there is virtually no overturning moment and no net vertical lift. As a result, the only significant response to wind gusts is a change inspeed.

For Paul Larsen and Malcolm Barnsley, design team member from Vestas, the Vestas Sailrocket 2 project is a realisation of their ultimate dream to design and sail the fastest boat on the planet. At present the outright record stands at 55.65 knots (64 mph, 104 km/h) set by American Kite surfer Rob Douglas in late October 2010 in Luderitz, Namibia. In a month-long session the kite surfers took the record off the French hydro-foiler L'Hydroptere and raised the record by over 4 knots. They are expected to go faster still in the coming year.


Latest Comments

  • 137157 17/02/2011 - 21:44

    Hear hear, from Cairns, Far North Queensland. Martin Hadley
  • nthomas 17/02/2011 - 12:09

    I'd like to publicly wish Paul and the Vestas Sailrocket team the very best of luck with Vestas Sailrocket 2. I've met and spoken with Paul a few times, whilst working on Team Phillips at Totnes and whilst testing the first Sailrocket at Portland and I have to say Paul is wonderfully open and perpetually upbeat about his plans, the boats, etc. and is happy to talk to whoever stops by He is always enthusiastic (even when things don't go to plan) and is utterly dedicated to speed sailing as a whole and to his desire to take this record. I shall be following Sailrocket 2 with avid interest and encourage others to do so too. Good Luck Paul and Vestas Sailrocket 2. Neil Thomas

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