One November 16th in Walvis Bay, Namibia, Paul Larsen set the Outright Word and World “B” Division Sailing Speed Record with a run of 59.24 knots of 500 meters aboard Vestas SailRocket II. A later run reported to be in the range of 65 knots with a peak speed of 68 over one second is still being reviewed by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, but is expected to confirmed as the new standard for speed sailing in the next few days. ClarkSail reporter Willy Clark caught up with Larso to get a take on the action in his own words and response to the earlier ClarkSail article
ClarkSail: Hey Paul, just pressed a story about your big day. Hope we got everything more or less right.
Paul Larsen: Hi Willy, good one. Yeah these day just keep getting dragged away now. We have now done two photo shoots over on ‘speed spot’ with the boat which should be pretty cool. Trouble is that I haven’t even finished the new blog post about what actually happened.
Update: Paul’s full take on the 65+ knot run can now be found at SailRocket.com.
I think one of the things that most people have underestimated hugely about our project is the engineering that has gone on behind the scenes. Certain people came in when they were really needed and this lifted the project to new levels. They only came in once they saw how determined we were. They knew their input wasn’t going to fall on deaf ears.
The second boat was no accident. Yes VESTAS did back it well financially, but they backed the exact same team that had cut their teeth on the first boat. That first boat should never have gone as fast as it did. It was flawed. It was like trying to sail an arrow backward and not many people know how difficult an engineering problem it was to make that boat work. However by the time were were done with that one we had everything we needed to make a quantum leap forward in performance.
When I sat down with the design team to discuss the new boat I simply said it must do 65 knots in this much wind and satisfy certain stability criteria i.e. full foil failure at top speed. A lot of our ideas were drawn up on a white board that day, but the final boat we are sailing now looks like none of them. It’s really a hybrid of a few of them. In the end it really designed itself. Yeah there was a rather large dose of determination, but this was also backed by some pretty clever people. We all worked extremely well together too. It has been a pleasure.
The video (see below) and blog should be up tomorrow. You’re going to like this one.
ClarkSail: Thanks Paul. This is all great stuff. I hope our take was relatively accurate. I’m not half as clever as the people involved with the project to it was my best interpretation.
Paul Larsen: I would say it’s a fair perspective. I liked it. Unless we present all the facts then people watching can only give their perspective. As long as it is fair it’s fine. There is a lot to this project. Imagine spending three years of your life sitting on this boat’s potential, watching the kites and L’Hydroptere and knowing in your bones that your new boat has this in it….for starters.
ClarSail: Chomping at the bit would be an appropriate phrase?
Paul Larsen: We sure were. I was pretty keen to do what it took to drag this potential to the surface. We weren’t overly optimistic about the numbers we put in our VPP. I think that shows in our last result. I only wanted to work with real numbers that we knew we could deliver.
Anyway it’s Malcolm’s last night so I’m off to have a beer with the old guru.
ClarkSail: Well thanks for this Paul. When do you think the 65 knot run will go official?
Paul Larsen: The first outright record got approved today. They should start coming in thick and fast now. Next the mile and the second outright, then the sweet one.
ClarkSail: Congratulations Paul, and thanks again, everyone wants news on this.
Paul Larsen: No problems. Happy to help