Paul Larsen's Sailrocket project relocated to Namibia for world speed record attempt 12/3/07

Paul Larsen’s Sailrocket project has taken a huge step forward over the last couple of weeks. Not only has Sailrocket – the craft in which Larsen hopes to break the world sailing, speed record – been relocated to Namibia ready for her record attempt but the Sailrocket project has signed a major sponsorship deal with Hometrack – UK-based housing information business.

The decision to move the craft to Namibia came about as a result of inconsistent conditions in the UK. Although Sailrocket managed to hit 30 knots with its new solid-wing sail last December, further ideal conditions never materialised and after six weeks on standby a frustrated Larsen flew out to Namibia to assess the location.

Reporting back from the Walvis Bay speed strip in Namibia Larsen said the location is better than they could have hoped for. “The place is incredible and the infrastructure already in place? I sat out on the course for two days taking wind and tide measurements and it looked fantastic. On the third day I hired some windsurfing gear and did some runs down the mile long strip. At the end of my first run I had been faster on a board than ever before. I pulled into the beach and sat on the sand looking back. We know that in order to hit the speeds that the computer models suggest, we need to get computer like conditions.”

According to Larsen, Malcolm Barnsley (Sailrocket’s British designer) has had all his performance predictions and real world data independently scrutinized with the VPP (Velocity Prediction Program) showing the craft has a capability to sail (in smooth water ) at around 2.6 times wind speed in 20 knots of wind assuming the foil keeps the water flow attached.

Larsen says that in theory this means Sailrocket should be able to break the existing word record of 48.7 knots in a little over 19 knots of wind. “It is our challenge to convert this theory into reality.”