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21 November 2006, 10:44 am
Winged Wonder Emerges
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WSSRC Record Attempt

The SAILROCKET project has recommenced sailing activities with its new solid wing sail. The wing is the culmination of an 18 month design, build and finance programme and the aim of the project remains the same, to set the outright world speed sailing record and break through the 50 knot mark.
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The craft now sitting in full standby mode in Weymouth, Great Britain is the product of all the teams' knowledge and passions regarding wind and water.

To date, the wing has met all of its weight and strength targets. According to the team's VPP (velocity prediction programme) SAILROCKET should be capable of hitting 55 knots of boat speed in 22 knots of wind assuming ideal conditions.

The wing was designed by team member and director of AEROTROPE, Christopher Hornzee JONES using a COMPOTECH carbon spar, FIBREFUSION water jet cut ribs, SP GURIT composite materials and all metal work supplied by EKSPAN. The SAILROCKET build team were helped throughout the build in Southampton with floor space generously offered by VESTAS BLADES and DESIGNCRAFT.

Trial Runs

SAILROCKET has already completed 58 runs down the Portland Harbour speed sailing course using the Mk1 DOYLES/COMPOTECH soft sail without mishap. The top speed with this rig was 31 knots as the rig struggled to hold shape when SAILROCKET's unique concept began to work in earnest. The value of these trials relating to such a radical craft is immeasurable. Many of the lessons learnt were incorporated into the design of the new solid sail.

The new wing is a highly efficient, practical and robust piece of engineering that has already been sailed twice. The whole craft can be rigged for sailing by two people and handled on the water by three. The new wing is 16 sq m, weights 50 kg and has a working load of approximately 1 tonne.

The team do not expect an easy ride to 50 knots. A whole host of new issues are bound to accompany the much higher speeds and small mistakes will be compounded. It remains to be seen if Portland Harbour can return to its former glory as a world record setting venue.

In Search Of Title Sponsor

It is no small feat that the project has got to this stage unfunded. It has taken longer but thanks to a dedicated team and a host of product supporters, quality has not been compromised. Without the financial support of a sponsor, the risks are now very high. The door remains wide open for a title sponsor who can help the team consolidate the huge amount of work already done. Innovation, speed and efficieny are the qualities that underlie our endeavour.

As soon as SAILROCKET demonstrates consistent record breaking potential the team will start the haul beginning with the British and women's outright records. Looking for a moment's perfection is a dedicated hunt that involves a lot of patience.

The team is on full-time standby. Every sailing opportunity that comes along needs to be utilized as the radical craft continues its refinement process. The weather windows are short and sharp at this time of year in Britain. will remain the project site with the most current activities updated on the blog spot.

The Record To Beat

Record: Outright Speed Sailing Record
Name: Finian MAYNARD (IVB)
Dates: April 2005
Venue: Saintes Maries, France
Speed: 48.70 knots

Paul Larsen (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Testing the new wing on SAILROCKET:© Mark Lloyd
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