Larson hurt in spill

Sailrocket pilot Paul Larson suffered problems with his speed machine when something failed structurally during his latest record attempt in Walvis Bay, Namibia and the boat collapsed and turned over very quickly. Larson suffered lacerations and was badly concussed.

‘Obviously the last couple of days have been pretty strange from my perspective. One moment I’m going 47 knots with the glorious Walvis Bay ‘speed-spot’ stretched out before me and ready for the taking… the next I’m on a hospital Gurney sort of aware that I’m asking the same question over and over… “what happened”?

‘I won’t go into too much detail here until we are certain of all the factors. I went straight back to the container once out of hospital and had a look at all the onboard and shore footage of the incident. It appears that a lashing on the stay that holds the main beam forward failed and the beam swung aft. The huge side loads on the main foil then levered the hull to beam frame out of the heavy carbon forks which they attach to on the beam and allowed the main hull to rotate as if it was attached to an industrial lathe. The free inboard end of the beam then shot back towards the cockpit. It was all over in milliseconds…

‘I do recall jamming the control full aft as she began to roundup… but that was it and now I know why.

‘Poor Vestas Sailrocket has been extensively damaged in altogether new and creative ways. Never mind… we’ve been here before. We probably have the best boat building team we have had on site and now it’s their time to shine.’

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