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50+ Knots Hull Speed With No Engine

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22.12.2011

Over 50 Knots Hull Speed Achieved By Paul Larsen In ‘Vestas Sailrocket 2’

Over 50 knots hull speed with no engine has now become reality. Paul Larsen is working on a new world speed sailing record with the radical craft ‘Vestas Sailrocket 2’ in Walvis Bay, Namibia where conditions are considered ideal for setting records.

At this level extreme sailing craft designers can exchange knowledge with high speed powerboat designers. Foils can be used to generate lift, reduce drag and add control in modern high speed craft. Composite boat building techniques have been pioneered for high performance sailing craft and utilised by powerboat builders to increase strength and reduce weight. Speed sailing is the ultimate testing ground for lightweight materials with craft built down to weight using the minimum of components.

Larsen and his team are aiming to break the outright world speed sailing record of 55.65 knots, set in October by kite surfer Rob Douglas. The record is defined as the best average time over a 500 metre course and there is an ongoing battle of speed between sailors and kite surfers.

Larsen said, ‘She is a powerful beast of a boat. But the trouble is that the underwater foils we need to use to go extremely fast create a lot of drag. Every time we go for a run we create an enormous tug of war between the wind and the water. The secret will be to reduce the drag, not increase the power. We have to keep experimenting.’

Vestas Sailrocket 2, designed and built in the UK, reaches high speeds using a unique stabilising concept. The sail and keel elements are positioned so there is virtually no overturning moment and no net vertical lift. As a result the only significant response to wind gusts is an increase in speed. She has already hit speeds of over 54 knots (60 miles per hour) during trials. The team is eventually hoping to reach speeds of over 60 knots.

Good luck in the challenge to the Vestas Sailrocket team. Photo copyright Paul Larsen.

See Video of Sail Rocket here Click on ‘Onboard at 100kmh’

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