Sailrocket, the 140kg carbonfibre flying machine will make her debut at Southampton Boatshow

Sailrocket, the 30ft carbonfibre, Malcolm Barnsley-designed flying machine in which Paul Larsen hopes to break the world speed sailing record is in the final stages of build at the NEG-MICON yard in Woolston, Southampton.

This wacky-looking speed machine, which weighs just 140kg (similar to a Hobie 16) and costs a total of £200,000 to design and build, is according to Larsen, nearly complete and ready to make her debut at the Southampton Boatshow, two weeks today. “We did the last bit of build and preparation which included painting and assembling yesterday,” said Larsen. “Everything is coming together now. The Doyle sails have arrived from Australia and are being assembled by Doyle UK in Shamrock Quay, and the carbon spars should arrive from the Czech Republic any day now.

“I went to see foils at Design Craft yesterday. They’ve been built of unidirectional carbonfibre from CNC (Computer Numerical Control) designed moulds and look really great.”

Interestingly although Sailrocket will look complete and ready for action at the show, her hull will, in fact, be the plug. According to Larsen, they didn’t want to rush the hull before the show, so they’ve finished off the plug so it looks identical to the real thing. Larsen continued: “Once the show’s over, we’ll crack on with the real thing. All the design work is done, we’ll just have to build here and put all the bits on.”

Although the main focus has been on the build and completion of Sailrocket before the show, Larsen’s next task is finding a suitable venue for the world record attempt to take place. Larsen concluded: “Once we found a spot, which could be Australia at Sandy Point, we’ll concentrate on timings. If all goes well, we’re looking at late November/December, although if we go to Australia, it will be more like January or February.”

Sailrocket will be at the show on display at the Adventure Zone. Larsen will be running lectures throughout the show and will be there on a daily basis ready to answer questions about the campaign.