Speed machine becomes airborne
Paul Larsen describes the experience. ‘On the first run I had the wing sheeted in to 15-18 degrees. On the second fateful run I focused on bringing it in to the optimal 10 degrees. The wind had built by a knot or so and although the mean average was around 23 knots… that means gusts to 25. We have taken the B G wind sensors off the back for record runs so I can only guess that a gust like this and having the wing in hard is what caused VESTAS SAILROCKET to accelerate so hard to the point of overloading. Perhaps I should have been more cautious but after the stability and control of the first run and previous runs in even stronger conditions I simply thought that this was not the time to hold back. It is an ‘outright world speed sailing record’ attempt after all. In the end it was no doubt a combination of effects brought on by the newfound speed and high apparent wind speeds that come with it. VESTAS SAILROCKET would have turned that 23 knot breeze into a 50 knot apparent wind gail coming from around 26 degrees off the bow.
As you could imagine, we did do some substantial damage to the wing. You don’t get away with a crash like that lightly. Thanks to the brilliant design by AEROTROPE… it has survived and it is fixable by us here in Walvis Bay. We are already well into it and hope to be back on the water for more runs in the near future.”