One of the most exciting exhibits at the Southampton Boat Show has got to be Paul Larsen's SailRocket which made its debut today

Crowds have been pouring in all day to the Southampton International Boat Show which opened at 1000 this morning. And with the forecast of continuing superb weather throughout the weekend, the show could see record visitor attendance.

One of the most exciting exhibits at the show has got to be Paul Larsen’s SailRocket which made its debut today. This craft, designed by Michael Barnsley, is set to break the outright world speed record over a 500m course, later this year (see previous report at And she weighs in at 155kg all-up, which is 15kg lighter than a Formula 18 and 15kg lighter than a Hobie 16.

The design is based around a unique concept where there is no heeling moment. Larsen commented: “This is achieved by setting the rig off to one side and angling it so the force of the sail pulls directly on the opposing force of the underwater foil, not above it.”

Not surprisingly, Larsen was full of enthusiasm about his ‘new baby’ adding: “I think it’s going to be the daddy of all things fast. And when the reality of it comes, doing 50 knots is not something to be taken lightly. I think the first time it takes off we are probably going to want to slow her down, but sooner or later we’ve just got to keep the hammers on.”

At full-on speed, the leeward hull will skim a few inches out of the water, so she’ll be riding on the planning surfaces (the size of a paperback books) on the main hull only. The flap on the trailing edge of the main beam, similar to that of an aeroplane wing, is there for control of the lift of the beam.

While Larsen has yet to sail the boat, everything else is under going to plan with a possible official launch at the London Boat Show at Excel. By this time Larsen also hopes to announce the major campaign sponsor and have details about a possible speed sailing site. The latest idea is a venue based in the Middle East, although Larsen didn’t want to give too many details away at this early stage.