Paul Larsen's Sailrocket project is up and running again, this time with a solid sail 20/11/06

Paul Larsen’s Sailrocket project has recommenced sailing activities with the completion of its new solid wing sail. The wing is the culmination of an 18-month design, build and finance programme and the boat is now in full standby mode in Weymouth.

According to Larsen the aim of the project remains the same, to set the Outright world speed sailing record and break through the 50 knot mark.

Commenting on the progress Larsen said: “To date, the wing has met all of its weight and strength targets. According to our VPP (velocity prediction programme) Sailrocket should be capable of hitting 55 knots of boat speed in 22 knots of wind assuming ideal conditions.”

Sailrocket has already completed 58 runs down the Portland Harbour speed sailing course using the Mk1 Doyles/Compotech soft sail without mishap. The top speed with this rig was 31 knots as the rig struggled to hold shape when her unique concept began to work in earnest. The value of these trials relating to such a radical craft is immeasurable. Many of the lessons learnt were incorporated into the design of the new solid sail.

The new wing, designed by team member and director of Aerotrope, Christopher Hornzee Jones, is a highly efficient, practical and robust piece of engineering that has already been sailed twice. The whole craft can be rigged for sailing by two people and handled on the water by three.

Larsen says that the team do not expect an easy ride to 50 knots. “A whole host of new issues are bound to accompany the much higher speeds and small mistakes will be compounded. It remains to be seen if Portland Harbour can return to its former glory as a World record setting venue.

“As soon as Sailrocket demonstrates consistent record breaking potential we will start the haul beginning with the UK and women’s outright records. We know it will not be an automatic process. Looking for a moment’s perfection is a dedicated hunt that involves a lot of patience.”