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Two days after finally smashing the Outright world speed sailing record, the Vestas Sailrocket 2 team decide to tackle the 'Nautical Mile' world record which was held by the mighty 'Hydroptere'. It was always going to be an interesting challenge for the VSR2 team as the speed course that they sail on in Walvis Bay, Namibia is defined by a beach which is exactly 1.04 miles long. This requires them to launch the boat out in more exposed waters and try and get up to as high a speed as they dare in rough water before they hit the start of the mile. At the end of the course they also fire out into rough water and have to bring the boat to a stop. It's hard on the boat. The beach is not straight but has a slight curve in it .

The mile is measured by TRIMBLE GPS equipment in a straight line so pilot Paul Larsen needs to balance between sailing in close to the beach for the flat water... and sailing the straightest and hence shortest distance between A and B. In this run, with winds that averaged just under 25 knots, The team smashed not only the nautical mile record* by over 5 knots averaging over 55.3 knots... but also raised their own 'Outright speed' record* to 59.38 knots over 500 meters hitting a peak speed of 64.78 knots (74.55 mph, 120 kph).

For Larsen it was the perfect payback for 10 years chasing 'the perfect reach'. Speed sailing had paid him back in full and a dream was realised.

VSR2 performed exactly as predicted by the Sailrocket design team of Malcolm Barnsley and Chris Hornzee Jones at AEROTROPE. The spec for the boat was to be able to hit 65 knots in 26 knots of wind in order to average around 60 knots.

From the Vestas Sailrocket 2 team in Namibia on Saturday:

Well the big forecast is playing out. It's 1017 here and the wind is already in. Our little corner of the Walvis Bay Yacht Club is buzzing as we prepare for the big day that we know lies ahead.

This is the first big wind day we have had in over 6 weeks now.

Today we focus purely on taking the outright record over 60 knots.

The project has been going on a big up for some time now and we want it to continue that way. Things can easily go the other way. The day is going to pump. We used to try and use that power to punch through our glass ceilings but now we have shown that we don't need it. We are operating at around 2.4-2.5 times windspeed and a few more knots makes a big difference. The thing is that whilst we know we will have a lot more power if it's gusting up to 30... what we don't know is what the nature of our drag curve is up ahead. Is it gradual or is it another 'brick wall'. On paper we expect cavitation to happen just over 65 knots. That's on paper. How it manifests itself is yet to be seen.

This boat is damned powerful and in 30 knots, sheeted in hard with around 65-70 knots of apparent wind it's going to be one hell of a tug of war between the wing and the foil. VSR2 is being optimised for a big number. The pitch of the main foil has been reduced by 0.25 degrees, fairings have been added to the front of the stub beam (which holds the foil) and the outboard flap that controls the height of the leeward float has had its negative pitch range increased to help me keep it all on the level.

Later that day: Fresh off the TRIMBLE... 68.01 over 1 second, 65.45 over 500 meters.

And on Sunday: On the GT-31 gps 67.74 and an average 500m 65.37! Yihaaaaaaaaaa...

(Records subject to WSSRC Ratification)

sailrocket.com

Published in News Update
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