New record hopes for Malcolm Barnsley

Sporting new carbon planning surfaces and rig optimization from Doyle Sailmakers, Sailrocket is gearing up for a run at the 50-knot speedsailing barrier in Weymouth.

Sailrocket is a sailboat specifically designed to set a new world speed sailing record. Designer, Malcolm Barnsley, and pilot, Paul Larsen, aim to break the world speed sailing record and achieve 50 knots, timed over a 500 metre dash.

The sail needs to hold optimum shape in apparent wind strengths of over 50 knots, be light and easy to handle, yet withstand heavy loads. A custom designed carbon spar acts as the backbone to the sail, taking all the bending loads while making the wing structurally robust. To achieve stability, the sail is set up on one side and is balanced by a underwater foil on the other side. Scale model testing has revealed that the boat should be capable of speeds in excess of 50 knots in 22 knots of breeze. In early trials the “rocket” hit 28.1 knots in 18 knots of wind – and the next spring gale promises to deliver the right conditions for a serious run at the record.