The Fastest Sailing Run Ever

28 Nov

We got the news of SailRocket's mindblowing new outright speed record of 65.45 knots over the weekend.

Now we get the video and analysis from Paul Larsen.

First, the video, in which you can see what real speed (and joy) looks like. (Props to whoever got those shots from a remote control helicopter).

And here is some of what Paul Larsen had to say (his full account is here):

We were using all the course this time. We hit it hard and the acceleration was rapid. We went straight into the 60's. The pod was instantly high and I sheeted in as hard as I could to try and get it down. I was now adding a pre-fix to "fast". It was now "This is f*****g fast". That word is there for moments like this. I believe it ceases to be swearing.

VESTAS Sailrocket 2 was alive and baring her base ventilated claws. We were in close and conditions were perfect. After 11 years, all the plates were spinning. The boat gave a hard kick in towards the beach that I had to steer into. I later found out that the rear skeg had dropped down and was dragging behind giving a fixed steering input. the boat settled into a new balance. I thought it was something else related to the messy start up. I still thought something might be broken… but stuff it. I couldn't see it and whatever it was it wasn't slowing us down. We were hitting new highs. The timing hut was gone in an instant. I was vaguely aware of Malcolm and George standing on the shore in the shallows. It was just solid, hard speed now. I felt like the boat had forgotten about me and was now just showing itself what it could do. I was a passenger. The leeward pod continued to climb and climb.

Sheeting on wouldn't put it down any more as it just generated speed and hence more apparent. I had no option but to sheet out and bring it all back under control. I ended up way down the end of the beach in the shallows. We survived. That had to be it… that was hard core fast.

One thing that stands out is that Larsen was doing some serious sailing–sheeting and steering–to manage SailRocket2 to max speeds. It's easy to forget that when you see the thing rocketing down the course.

Put that sort of sailing skill together with the endless and persistent technical refinement and what do you get?

An outright sailing speed record that will truly test the kiteboarders if they want the title back. Nice.

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