Rig collapses seconds into Walvis Bay Speed strip run

Paul Larsen and hisSailrocketteam’s hopes of breaking the world speed sailing record have been delayed during a crash on their first speed trial run in Namibia last week. It’s all been repaired now, and as the conditions have been superb over the past few days, the team are hoping to go for a record run today if the weather pattern continues. Here is Larsen’s report of the incident:

‘So we copped a bit of a kicking in Round 1 against the amazing Walvis Bay Speed strip when our rig came crashing down seconds into our first run. It’s all been repaired now and we are ready to re-enter the arena. Conditions have been superb over the past few days and we don’t expect them to stop. If tomorrow is good then we will go for it.

Sailrocket’s designer Malcolm Barnsley arrived from the UK a few days and quickly got into the swing of things. Malc’s calc’s are the backbone of the project and often determine our path forward. We have made modifications to the steering system and worked out a sailing profile that should makeSailrocketa bit safer to handle.

On Malcolm’s second day here we took him over to the speed strip and showed him what all the fuss was about. Conditions were a bit above what we are after but he clearly got the idea about the quality of the location and my concerns about any tendency for the boat to round up. The fact is that you can sail so close to the shore that turning into the wind is just not possible for a second. It spells disaster. We have designed a sailing profile where I oversheet early and then ease into the power zone. This will give the boat more of a tendency to turn away from the beach should I have a steerage issue.

We have full remodelled the steering system and it feels much better from my perspective. The crash harness has also gone in.

I must say that I’m a little nervous as it has taken us a long time to get back to this stage of the game. I don’t want to break the boat again. It puts too much strain on our small team. Trouble is that I also want to go very fast! We will be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to rigSailrocketin the calm morning air and make sure that everything is just as it should be before we head across the lagoon. If we have a good first run then we will head back up the course for another.

I hope that tomorrow is a big day for all the right reasons.

Stay tuned, Paul.’

see www.sailrocket.com for more on the Sailrocket project.