Sailrocket hits new peaks during the team's latest trials and sees 46knots on the clock
The team at VESTAS SAILROCKET have been working flat out down in Walvis Bay, Namibia to try and unleash the potential of their unique speed sailing craft. The effort began to pay off on Run 66 down the remote, magical mile when VESTAS SAILROCKET averaged 44.29 knots over a linear 500m course and peaked at around 46 knots in 22 knots of wind (average)*.
Runs like this will justify the team to call in the WSSRC to ratify further runs. Only two ‘boats’ have posted faster averages than this with the board riders now clearly at the top of the speed sailing ladder.
Pilot/project leader Paul Larsen comments- ” It was a very satisfying run in that the boat locked into a course and just felt right at ease. It was a lot less intimidating than other lesser runs. We have been putting all our efforts into a completely new and unique steering/control package and it seems to be paying off. This game is all about control. At these speeds, in prototype craft, you are always walking a fine line and I hope that this system will allow us to stay on the right side of it. I feel that I am becoming more familiar with the environment and some of the tricks required to sail this particular boat at speed in top-end conditions. Run 66 was just a taste of what we are capable of… albeit a sweet one. It’s highly addictive.”
Recently, a few hundred kilometres south of the VESTAS SAILROCKET base, the kite-surfers showed that 50 knots was no barrier at all. The Outright world speed sailing record hurdle was raised to just over 50.7 knots. The day after 50 knots was broken by Sebastian Cattalan, The French Hydroptere team took their wonderful boat to a peak of 52.8 knots (conspicuously no 500m average went with it). Nice big round numbers like ’50’ are great for the media and public to get a handle on this sport but the truth is, all that matters is to be purely the fastest whatever big ugly number that is.
VESTAS SAILROCKET Designer Malcolm Barnsley comments- “It’s fantastic to see the concept begin to reveal itself… and it is only beginning. We have been focusing so hard on control issues, it would be nice to think we can start to focus on the details of real high speed sailing. Although the hurdle we need to jump has been raised recently, I still believe we can clear it. We have a number of areas where we can make significant easy gains but then it is a humbling game. We are by no means out of the woods and I’m sure there are a few wolves waiting ahead. Getting high quality data off the boat is paramount as it allows us to refine the simulation and from that predict… hopefully where the wolves will be.”
On Sunday the 2nd of November the team took VESTAS SAILROCKET out in strong conditions above what is needed.(25 knots avg.). It was the ultimate test of structure and control. A new peak speed of 46.75 knots was recorded in perfect control. The ride was very rough and the boat was not sailed anywhere near full throttle. The average was 43.66 knots. Paul-“The way VESTAS SAILROCKET behaved instantly reminded me of the 1:5th scale model all those years ago. It was a wild ride but I had her in the palm of my hand. I can’t tell you how good that feels after the trials we have been through. This is something I can work with. We might have tamed the beast… for now anyway. We don’t need that much wind to break records but if that is what Mother Nature gives us with the WSSRC watching, we should be ready to use it.”
The team will continue sailing throughout November and if all goes well try and squeeze in an officially ratified World Record attempt.