SAILROCKET – THE FASTEST SAILBOAT IN THE WORLD

Walvis Bay, Namibia – 2008 has proven to be a fast year, with sailing records made and shattered all over the world.  |

 

 

Walvis Bay, Namibia – 2008 has proven to be a fast year, with sailing records made and shattered all over the world.  And now, with the exciting news from Namibia this week, it looks like we have a new speed record. The interesting and minimalist looking sailing boat Vestas SailRocket appears to be the fastest sailboat in the world (pending ratification), clocking an amazing 47.35 knots over 500 meters for the record, and later reaching a burst of over 52 knots before lifting off for a spectacular in-the-air wipeout.

Previous record-holder for the world’s fastest sailboat over 500 meters was the boatl’Hydroptère, which was skippered by Alain Thebault in France at a whooping 46.88 knots last month. Both l’Hydroptère and SailRocket have been aiming to break the 50 knot barrier, and become the fastest craft of any kind under sail, hands-down, with no controversy.  What controversy?  Well, there are divisions based on sail area that generally prescribe the need for what we would call “boats,” and then an “extra” division where the lines are blurred.

sailrocket sailboat

Kite-boarder Alexandre Caizergues’ current speed sailing record of 50.57 knots is the latest absolute speed record, though kite-boards are not apparently recognized for the overall 500 meter sailing record by the WSSRC, whereas sailboards are.  Curious, as the rules state “a division for Sailboard with kite sails” among the others.  So, Windsurfer Antoine Albeau at 49.09 kts has the “World Sailing Speed Record,” while the “current fastest speed recorded by the WSSR Council” belongs to Cazergues and his 50.57 knots.  Thus SailRocket’s time is for the fastest “boat” which includes all of the classes defined by sail area, as well as its own division. 

So, while everyone has their sites set on the overall speed of 50.57, they’re earning division records along the way.  Paul Larsen, project leader for SailRocket and the craft’s pilot, said after his own record run: “I was determined to bag a record. I knew our wonderful boat had it in her to do something special and that at the top of the course… it was up to me to make sure she was allowed to do it. I had had enough practice… and this was no longer practice. This was a proper world record attempt. This was the dream. [...] Things looked perfect. The boat was perfect. It was time.”

SailRocket sailing for a world record

Larsen describes the whole experience of that run from the start: “We were off. I was quick to sheet in and get on the main flap whilst simultaneously switching from foot to hand steering. A real one man band affair. Vestas SailRocket was going hard and I had tunnel vision. We had made an adjustment to the rig to stand it up a couple of degrees so as to hold the nose down and it seemed to make the boat ride flatter. Control was excellent. At one stage a gust pulled the nose away and I brought it gently back up. The main flap was in but I noticed that the wing angle was still a little eased. It was too late to change. The boat was smoking… but balanced.”

“I held onto it until I was certain that a solid 500 meter average was recorded… and then dumped the flap and eased the wing. No more big bear-aways to slow down. I pulled on the leading edge bridle to slow her down by feathering the wing and it worked a treat. Hiskia caught the boat on the shore. I was pretty surprised by the data on the GPS. It read a top speed of 48.90 knots and an average of 47.35! I told the team over the VHF that they were now looking at the fastest boat in the world [pending WSSRC ratification] and congratulated Malcolm on designing it,” said Paul Larsen, before adding, “there was no supernova of emotion, no tears… just huge smiles and a sense of arrival.”

Something about the design – the long lines (sleek leverage), the cockpit, the all-out speed in one direction, the quarter-mile sprint, even the lift-off and crash – that reminds one of a top fuel dragster.  It is completely different from the flying hydrofoil trimaranl’Hydroptère, whose glider-like elegance is in direct contrast to SailRocket‘s minimalist raw power.  We’ll enjoy watching closely as these two continue to battle it out for the world’s fastest sailboat, and compete against the designs currently on drawing boards and in boatsheds around the world. Competition breeds innovation, and as these very different sailboats so clearly demonstrate, after thousands of years under sail, the human race is still learning to harness the wind.

 

K. Hampton exclusively for YachtPals.com

 

Sail Rocket Sailing

 

Read more about SailRocket and Sailing Records:

 

 

 

 

New 24-hour Sailing Record – Thomas Coville and Sodeb’O

07 Dec

Southern Oceans – Seems to be a week for record-breaking, as Thomas Coville has made a new 24-hour sailing record* on the trimaran Sodeb’O.  620.8 miles in 24 hours, for an average speed of 25.87 knots.  The run was between the Cape of Good Hope and the Kerguelen Islands.  Since it was Thomas’ own record which fell (January ’08), it’s a matter of raising the bar for the next contender.  Of course, Sodeb’O is still screaming along in 22-26 of building beam winds, so the bar may be raised higher still.  

 

Sodebo sets a new speed record

SailRocket – The Fastest Sailboat in the World

07 Dec

Walvis Bay, Namibia – 2008 has proven to be a fast year, with sailing records made and shattered all over the world.  And now, with the exciting news from Namibia this week, it looks like we have a new speed record. The interesting and minimalist looking sailing boat Vestas SailRocket appears to be the fastest sailboat in the world (pending ratification), clocking an amazing

SailRocket - Sail Rocket sets a new world sailing record

Sailing Photo of the Week – Houston, We Have a Problem!

05 Dec

Namibia – Nothing like strapping yourself to a rocket – including the SailRocket.  This photo-series shows how things can go wrong in a hurry, especially when you’re pushing the limits.  No great losses here, though.  In fact, quite the opposite:  When the team checked the “Black Box” (GPS), they were floored to find they’d crossed the 50kt line, clocking a top speed of 52.22 knots! 

 

sailrocket flip after world sailing record

Thomas Coville sets out to Conquer the World on Sodeb’O

19 Nov

Eastern Atlantic – The maxi trimarans Sodeb’O and IDECappear to be playing leapfrog across the high seas, and in the record books.  Mere weeks after Francis Joyon took the sailing record for the Discovery Route from Coville andSodeb’O, and Coville has set out to take the ’round the world record from Joyon.  Casting off from Brest yesterday just before 1400 GMT, Sodeb’O is currently ahead of IDEC’s reference tim

Coville sets out to break the world sailing record on Sodeb'O

Francis Joyon Sets New World Sailing Record on IDEC

07 Nov

San Salvador, Bahamas – Francis Joyon of France has made land, and set a new world sailing record* for the Discovery Route from Cadiz, Spain.  With a time of 9 days, 20 hours, and 35 minutes, IDEC has beat the previous record set byThomas Coville, and added yet another feat to Joyon’s collection (Joyon also holds the ’round the world solo record).  This route is an approximation of the course that Columbus took in 1492 when it is often said he “discovered” the new world (though the Americas were already populated, and ha

Francis Joyon Sets New World Sailing Record on Trimaran IDEC

Sailing Photo of the Week – l’Hydroptère Flying all Hulls

31 Oct

Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, France – While 50 knots remains elusive to anything but two kite-sailors, the massive hydrofoil trimaran l’Hydroptère has just established two new sailing records while they attempt to break the 50kt barrier over 500 meters:

 

This entry was posted in Global, News. Bookmark the permalink.
You may also like...