Over 50 knots powered by wind alone
The world’s fastest sailing boat has clocked up an astonishing 51.76 knots. British speed sailing craft Vestas Sailrocket piloted by Australian Paul Larsen attained an average speed over the 500 metre record course of 47.4 knots.
On the following run whilst on target for the outright world record the boat literally took off and flew through the air upside down for 30 feet.
On the third of December in winds averaging only 22 knots Vestas Sailrocket attained peak speeds of 51.76 knots during the run down the Walvis Bay speed-strip in Namibia. The speed is enough to give the team the ‘B’ class world record and Larsen the Australian National record. Most importantly to the team it gives them the unofficial title of worlds fastest ‘boat’. This leaves only the windsurfers and kite boarders to beat.
Pilot Paul Larsen- ” Conditions were perfect and I was hungry to begin the record haul. After seven years of testing and refining this wonderful concept craft, I calmly felt that if it was going to happen… it would be today. Vestas Sailrocket flew down the course in perfect control. I sat at about 90-5% power and concentrated on sailing a good straight course close to the beach where the flat water was. I knew it was fast but was pretty surprised at the end at how fast it was… especially as I knew there was more to come. Malcolm’s design had performed just as he predicted. Of course I was pretty happy but the possibility of breaking the outright record was right before us so we turned the boat around and headed back up the magic mile for another crack at the record. At that stage I was unaware that we had punched a big hole through 50 knots. I didn’t want to just rattle the oppositions cage… I wanted to crush it”
On the second run Larsen sheeted the solid wing in hard to get full power. Vestas Sailrocket accelerated like never before pulling 0.35 G’s up to a speed of 52 knots before taking off from the water like an airplane at the end of the runway.