Kiteboard eater

James Boyd Photography /
We look at Paul Larsen's incredible Mark 2 version of Vestas SailRocket
Looking back through thedailysail archive the SailRocket speed sailer was first shown to us when Paul Larsen and designer Malcolm Barnsley revealed their blue model at London Boat Show all the way back in 2002 (see this here). Over subsequent years Larsen and Barnsley, with the help of their team, notably capable Swede Helena Darvelid, built their black speedster and campaigned it over the World Sailing Speed Record Council’s 500m course predominantly in Walvis Bay, Namibia. They broke the boat on numerous occasions, often in dramatic fashion, including one backflip (see the video here), but always they have dogmatically jumped back, repairing SailRocket and got underway again. Latterly, with support from their sponsor Vestas, in 2009 they ultimately scored their best run at an average speed of 49.38 knots and a top peak speed of 52.78 knots. Unfortunately at the time the outright world speed record for the 500m course had been claimed by L’Hydroptère (51.36 knots) and has since been bettered by the pesky kiteboarders, who upped the ante when American Rob Douglas managed a 55.65 knot run at the Luderitz Speed Challenge (also in Namibia) last October. Nonetheless SailRocket’s concept had been proved and she is currently holder of the B-Class record for the 500m course. With the secrecy of an America’s Cup campaign, over the last 16 months the Vestas SailRocket team have been beavering away at the hangar at East Cowes’ Venture Quays (appropriately the former Saunders Roe factory where they once built seaplanes and the first hovercraft) on a Mark 2 version - the orange and carbon fibre black marvel that was unveiled to the public for the first time yesterday. The concept revisited Before getting into the nuts and bolts of the new boat, we need to recover some ground. The SailRocket concept comes from US naval