Speed records and Vendee news—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond

Vestas Sailrocket 2 at the end of the course
The speed-sailing world is spinning with the news that Paul Larsen’s Vestas Sailrocket 2 has achieved a new high-tide mark in the speed-sailing Aussie’s quest to remain the fastest sailor afloat. Larsen has been sailing in Namibia this fall aboard his truly funky looking, 'half boat, half plane', and his efforts have been paying huge dividends, especially in the past week.


'Just in after the most incredible run,' reported Larsen in a field dispatch. 'A whole nautical mile dipping well into the 60's on each gust. We peaked near or over 64 knots and beat our previous 500-meter average. I don't think we cracked 60 knots as a 500-meter average though. But anyway... we smashed the nautical mile record. The Trimble file is big but on the small GT31 we averaged over 55.5 knots.'


Soon afterward, Larsen reported that the trimble data had returned, yielding a pace of 55.32 knots for the mile and 59.38 knots over a 500-meter stretch (both still subject to ratification from the World Sailing Speed Record Council), and a one-second peak speed burst of 63.98 knots.


'Damn that was good ride,' continued Larsen. 'I had the time to look around and just enjoy the sensation that that awesome piece of kit delivers. She was on the edge there a few times.' Get the full report, inside.


VESTAS Sailrocket 2 Speeding passed the hut



And in Americas Cup news, Artemis Racing, the Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup, has been logging some valuable training miles aboard their newly launched AC72 wingsail-powered catamaran. Be sure to check out the video and multimedia report of the team’s first sail, which took place on San Francisco Bay, inside.


Meanwhile, a rigging accident in Luna Rossa’s Auckland, New Zealand camp sent shore team member Fred Gastinet to the hospital with a compound fracture of in his shinbone. The incident also damaged the top 'luff' section of the team’s wingsail, precluding what could have proven to be the first time that two AC72s would have met on the water to speed test, as it was rumored that the Italian-flagged team was going to join Emirates Team New Zealand.


SAILING - PRE-VENDEE GLOBE 2012-2013 - LORIENT (FRA) - 25/08/2012 - PHOTO JEAN MARIE LIOT / DPPI / VENDEE GLOBE - AERIAL VIEW - MAITRE COQ / SKIPPER JEREMY BEYOU (FRA)



And in offshore news, the Vendee Globe continues to be a war of attrition as boats break, collide with fishing vessels, or otherwise succumb to problems. Some, like those experienced by skipper Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowski, were solvable, but others, such as Louis Burton’s mishap with a fishing vessel, Samantha Davies’ dismasting, or Jérémie Beyou hydraulic problems, spelled the end of a dream.


At the time of this writing, skipper Armel Cléac’h was leading the fast-and-furious pack of 16 IMOCA 60s, followed in hot pursuit by Francois Gabart and Jean-Pierre Dick. To date, four skippers have retired (the three mentioned, plus Marc Guillemot)—twenty percent of the November 10 starting line—once again underscoring the massively difficult nature of this singlehanded, around-the-world-unassisted yacht race. Get the full scoop, inside.


Also inside, get the latest news from the O’pen Bic World Cup, where 11-year old Kristen Wadley took top honors; the U.S. Multihull Championship, where skipper Sarah Newberry and crewmember Kenny Pierce won big, and the J/24 North Americans, where John Mollicone’s '11th Hour Racing Team' took top honors on the waters just off of Jacksonville, Florida.


May the four winds blow you safely home,