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28 November 2012, 03:30 pm
Vestas Sail Rocket 2 Takes Speed To A New Level
Front row seat to 65.45 knots
Front row seat to 65.45 knots

500-Metre Record
Walvis Bay, Namibia

Subject to World Speed Sailing Record Council ratification Vestas Sail Rocket 2 has gone and broken the 500 metre record for the second consecutive time.
With an average speed of 65.45 knots over the 500-metre course in Walvis Bay, Namibia, Paul Larsen took Vestas Sail Rocket 2 to a record speed 9.8 knots quicker than the previous kiteboard record of Rob Douglas (USA).

On his record breaking run Larsen said, on the Vestas Sail Rocket 2 website, "VSR2 slowly swung into the wind whilst I muttered under my breath. The minute the wind attaches to the inclined rig she starts generating lift. The core stability concept kicks in and the leeward pod rips up nice and high on the water.

"I had heard a 'pop' out there and figured that something was broken and the run was going to have to be abandoned. When the wing attached we accelerated pretty cleanly. I checked and double checked for damage, I expected things to be hanging in the water. They weren't. Tough boat.

"I had severed the outboard flap control line before this run in order to back it off as much as I could. This was an effort to get the leeward side of the boat down onto the water to reduce the heeling and increase the thrust. Sort of the reverse of flying a catamaran hull too high. The flap was just bouncing around as the pod jumped off the chop. We were actually pretty well placed course-wise and the rudder had attached flow. I sheeted in hard. Back into it then. The rear skeg was kicked up hard. It locks into a wedge but is not cleated. I turned onto the course in good shape.

"VESTAS Sailrocket 2 was alive and baring her base ventilated claws. We were in close and conditions were perfect. After 11 years, all the plates were spinning. The boat gave a hard kick in towards the beach that I had to steer into. I later found out that the rear skeg had dropped down and was dragging behind giving a fixed steering input. The boat settled into a new balance. I thought it was something else related to the messy start up. I still thought something might be broken... but stuff it.

"I couldn't see it and whatever it was it wasn't slowing us down. We were hitting new highs. The timing hut was gone in an instant. I was vaguely aware of Malcolm and George standing on the shore in the shallows. It was just solid, hard speed now. I felt like the boat had forgotten about me and was now just showing itself what it could do. I was a passenger. The leeward pod continued to climb and climb.

"Sheeting on wouldn't put it down any more as it just generated speed and hence more apparent. I had no option but to sheet out and bring it all back under control. I ended up way down the end of the beach in the shallows. We survived. That had to be it... that was hard core fast."

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