Dreams of sailing the fastest boat on the planet worked their way through Paul Larsen's mind when he set out on his journey in 2002. Years of designing, testing and perfecting came to a climax in Walvis Bay, Namibia when sailing Vestas Sailrocket 2; Larsen broke the 500 metre speed record three times, obliterating it on his final run. 59.23 knots was followed by 59.37 knots before Larsen broke the 60 knot barrier to sail the course at 65.45 knots, 10 knots faster than the previous record of 55.65 knots set by Kiteboarder Rob Douglas in 2010.
Achievements between 31 September 2012 and 31 August 2013
Outright speed record - 65.45 knots
What inspired you to take up sailing?
A simple fascination of watching things in motion in natural environments and I was rubbish at football and cricket.
What was the first boat you ever sailed and how old were you?
A scow moth. About 9-10 years old
Name your first sailing club
Carrum Sailing Club at Port Phillip Bay
What was the first event you competed in and in what year?
I crewed for Paul Pascoe on a Hobie 16 at Carrum when I was 13.
What are you personal sailing career highlights?
First World Record with Bruno Peyron (Trans-Pacific 1998)
Being involved with Pete Goss for Team Philips Project
24-hour record as watch leader on Maiden 2 (2002) Obviously Sailrockets 2 weeks of glory :)
What are your future sailing goals?
To continue to develop sailing craft to show what is possible with the forces of wind and water. To take what we have learned and make it practical.
Who has had the greatest impact on your sailing and career and why?
I find both the people who support you and those who try and hold you back equally motivating. Meeting and getting to know Pete Goss was something I will always treasure. He believed I was worth the effort.
Who is your sailing hero?
The whole Australia II team and Pete Goss.
What other sports do you enjoy?
What does being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards mean to you and how would you feel if you were voted the winner?
With speed sailing... and particularly our 'take' on it we have had the feeling that we are out on the outer edges of the sport. We have spent so long living in containers in a sandy town on the west African coast chasing this. You only get credit if you win and conventional yachting fades away. You stop being supported by it. It would be nice to be recognised by our sports governing body for what we have achieved and the sacrifice made. Something special happened down there.