Two days after finally smashing the Outright world speed sailing record, the Vestas Sailrocket 2 team decide to tackle the 'Nautical Mile' world record which was held by the mighty 'Hydroptere'. It was always going to be an interesting challenge for the VSR2 team as the speed course that they sail on in Walvis Bay, Namibia is defined by a beach which is exactly 1.04 miles long. This requires them to launch the boat out in more exposed waters and try and get up to as high a speed as they dare in rough water before they hit the start of the mile. At the end of the course they also fire out into rough water and have to bring the boat to a stop. It's hard on the boat. The beach is not straight but has a slight curve in it . The mile is measured by TRIMBLE GPS equipment in a straight line so pilot Paul Larsen needs to balance between sailing in close to the beach for the flat water... and sailing the straightest and hence shortest distance between A and B. In this run, with winds that averaged just under 25 knots, The team smashed not only the nautical mile record* by over 5 knots averaging over 55.3 knots... but also raised their own 'Outright speed' record* to 59.38 knots over 500 meters hitting a peak speed of 64.78 knots (74.55 mph, 120 kph). For Larsen it was the perfect payback for 10 years chasing 'the perfect reach'. Speed sailing had paid him back in full and a dream was realised.
VSR2 performed exactly as predicted by the Sailrocket design team of Malcolm Barnsley and Chris Hornzee Jones at AEROTROPE. The spec for the boat was to be able to hit 65 knots in 26 knots of wind in order to average around 60 knots.
* All records subject to WSSRC ratification
Directed, filmed and edited by Ben Holder.