Australia’s Paul Larsen sails at 68 knots!!

VESTAS Sailrocket 2 at the end of the run, slowing down - Vestas Sailrocket 2
For anyone who is happy crossing oceans at six knots, it's hard to get your head around the idea of sailing at 68 knots, but that is what Australian Paul Larsen has just done on his Vestas Sailrocket 2, breaking and then re-breaking his own newly established speed records on Namibia’s Walvis Bay.

The latest reports are staggering, with Larsen tagging an outright top speed of 68.01 knots over a one-second interval and a jaw-dropping 65.45 knots over 500 meters, proving that his bold half-boat, half-plane design concept works exceptionally well.


'On paper we expect cavitation to happen just over 65 knots,' reported the Australian speedster before his fastest run to date. 'That's on paper. How it manifests itself is yet to be seen. This boat is damned powerful and in 30 knots, sheeted in hard with around 65-70 knots of apparent wind it's going to be one hell of a tug of war between the wing and the foil. [The boat] is being optimized for a big [boatspeed] number.'

But here's the report on a minute by minute and second by second basis as told as it happened by the man who has just become the fastest sailor in the world:

Well the big forecast is playing out. It's 1017 here and the wind is already in. Our little corner of the Walvis Bay Yacht Club is buzzing as we prepare for the big day that we know lies ahead.

This is the first big wind day we have had in over 6 weeks now.

Today we focus purely on taking the outright record over 60 knots.

The project has been going on a big up for some time now and we want it to continue that way. Things can easily go the other way. The day is going to pump. We used to try and use that power to punch through our glass ceilings but now we have shown that we don't need it. We are operating at around 2.4-2.5 times windspeed and a few more knots makes a big difference. The thing is that whilst we know we will have a lot more power if it's gusting up to 30... what we don't know is what the nature of our drag curve is up ahead. Is it gradual or is it another 'brick wall'. On paper we expect cavitation to happen just over 65 knots. That's on paper. How it manifests itself is yet to be seen.

This boat is damned powerful and in 30 knots, sheeted in hard with around 65-70 knots of apparent wind it's going to be one hell of a tug of war between the wing and the foil. VSR2 is being optimised for a big number. The pitch of the main foil has been reduced by 0.25 degrees, fairings have been added to the front of the stub beam (which holds the foil) and the outboard flap that controls the height of the leeward float has had its negative pitch range increased to help me keep it all on the level.

Later that day: Fresh off the TRIMBLE... 68.01 over 1 second, 65.45 over 500 meters.

And on Sunday: On the GT-31 gps 67.74 and an average 500m 65.37! Yihaaaaaaaaaa...


(Records subject to WSSRC Ratification)