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13 December 2005, 11:16 am
Outright Record Hopes Dashed
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WSSRC Record Attempt
Sandy Point, Victoria, Australia

A spectacular structural failure is not deterring the team from Macquarie Innovation pursuing its dream of smashing the elusive 50 knot mark and sailing's ouright speed record. The team's latest bid ended prematurely when the aerofoil rig of its asymmetrical trimaran disintegrated during a fast paced run at Sandy Point, near Wilsons Promontory, in Victoria, Australia on 10 December.
Sailors Tim DADDO and Simon MCKEON (AUS), along with designer Lindsay CUNNINGHAM, will be back at Sandy Point in March in another bid to beat the World Record of 48.70 knots achieved by Finian MAYNARD (IVB).

DADDO and MCKEON had held the speed record of 46.52 knots for more than eleven years until MAYNARD's broke that speed at the 'French Trench' at Saintes Maries de la Mer in France in April. And now the Aussies, despite their mishap, are determined more than ever to get their record back.

'It is with some frustration, and yet a high degree of expectation, that I have to report that we have been unsuccessful in our attempt on 50 knots in 2005,' DADDO said.

'Unfortunately, we have had to close our campaign one week early as a result of a structural failure in the main wing. Macquarie Innovation was 30 metres into its run already doing 45.9 knots in 22 knots of wind on our least favoured course under the lee of the sand hills.

'We were understandably looking forward to giving 50 knots a very solid shake. Our previous full runs had shown the maximum speed not occurring until around the 350 metre mark and consequently, hopes were high.

'But we never had the opportunity as the wing essentially exploded underneath us. It appears that the initial failure was in the trailing edge, which then resulted in the rest of the cloth and foam shapes becoming totally unsupported.

'The cause was particularly low-tech and will be relatively easily rectified. Prior to this, we had achieved 45 plus knots in 18 knot winds and the boat feels more solid and responsive than ever before. To this extent, we are currently planning to return to Sandy Point early next year with a new and stronger main wing.

'Other than that, we see no need to alter things as all the signs point to us being able to achieve our goals even with a bit left in the tank. So while initially being rather disappointing and somewhat frustrating, all the repairs and design work that were invested in last year's rebuilding programme, appear to have us well poised to finally reach our goals.

'The wing will be repaired and we will return in a very confident frame of mind. It is all before us and based on the evidence to hand, well within our reach.'

Ronstan will continue to back the Macquarie Innovation team by being the exclusive supplier of marine hardware, fittings and wet weather clothing for its bid.

'We use equipment from small blocks to ratchets made by Ronstan, but it is their research and development that has really given us the edge over our competition,' DADDO said in 2005. 'One of Ronstan's innovations has been the development of carbon stays. And Ronstan has been instrumental in giving us comparative data in relation to other products.

'Last year Macquarie Innovations weighed about 210 kg with the stainless steel rigging contributing about 7 kg of that weight. With the carbon rigging, it is now 1.1 kg and with a few other changes we're now under 200kg. That three per cent weight difference computes to a lot more speed.

'We've had a long history with Ronstan of close to 20 years and our partnership has worked out so well. Ronstan is willing to go that extra mile to develop equipment for us to stay one step ahead of the competition. We're very lucky to have a company like Ronstan with their outstanding vision.'

Kylie Wilson (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Macquarie Innovation's record attempt comes to a dramatic end:© Steb Fisher
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