Please select your home edition
A+T Instruments 2024 Leaderboard

SailRocket relocates to Namibia & attracts major sponsor

by Paul Larsen 12 Mar 2007 07:49 GMT
The radical UK backed SailRocket team relocate to the incredible Walvis Bay speed-strip in Namibia © SailRocket

The radical UK backed SailRocket project has added two huge pieces to the puzzle in its quest to be the fastest sailing boat in the world.

The SailRocket project has been relocated to the incredible WALVIS BAY speed-strip in NAMIBIA. The team and craft are on site and ready for action.

HOMETRACK, the UK based housing information business has recently joined up as a major sponsor of the SailRocket team.

Australian Paul Larsen, manager and pilot of SailRocket comments: ‘We are delighted to have the support of Hometrack for this the crucial stage in the development of the craft. Hometrack’s support enables us to focus on the job in hand… going faster!’

Malcolm Barnsley, SailRocket’s British designer, has had all of his performance predictions and real world data independently scrutinised.

Malcolm comments: “It’s very important that we have a second opinion on some of the assumptions, simplifications and data that go into the VPP (Velocity Prediction Program) – especially when the craft is so far away from the norm. This input has come throughout the project from a number of professors and engineers outside the team but most recently from the world renowned WOLFSON MARINE UNIT in Southampton. They have confirmed that the general basis is sound and that the data being used is reasonable. What the VPP shows is a capability to sail (in smooth water ) at around 2.6 times wind speed in 20 knots of wind assuming the foil keeps the water flow attached.”

In theory this means SailRocket should be able to break the existing word record of 48.7 knots in a little over 19 knots of wind. It is our challenge to convert this theory into reality.

The team now have everything they need to become major contenders for the Outright world speed sailing record.

Development is the key word as it was something that was simply not possible in the UK winter. SailRocket hit 30 knots after only 5 minutes sailing with its new solid-wing sail. That was in early December but then the winter weather kicked in. The team remained on standby for the next month and a half in Weymouth but never saw the necessary conditions to get out on the water. It was frustrating and demoralising. They had a great boat ready for action but couldn’t use it… and the money had run out.

The decision was made to spend the last dollars checking out some of the other highly rated speed sailing locations. Early in January Paul, came down to Walvis Bay. “The place is incredible and the infrastructure already in place is much better than we could have hoped for. Juergen Geiger at the FREE AIR centre has been running world class speed sailing events down here for the past four years. The locals are very experienced in what we need.

I sat out on the course for two days taking wind and tide measurements and it looked fantastic. On the third day I hired some windsurfing gear and did some runs down the mile long strip. At the end of my first run I had been faster on a board than ever before. I pulled into the beach and sat on the sand looking back. We know that in order to hit the speeds that the computer models suggest, we need to get computer like conditions.

This place wasn’t perfect, but it’s as close as you could hope for in the real world. I just knew that we had to bring our boat to this incredible spot. We had found a huge part of the speed sailing puzzle.”

Paul got back to the UK on January the 17th and hit the ground running. They now had a clear direction. Existing sponsors were contacted and new ones brought on board. By March 6th SailRocket was sitting on the shore of the Walvis Bay speed-strip fully configured for sailing. It has been a busy couple of months. Many thanks must also go to VESTAS BLADES UK, EKSPAN and COMPLETE FREIGHT, they really did make the relocation happen… and fast.

Whilst the goal is simply to be the fastest whatever that speed need be, the team is fully aware that a full-on race has developed along the way to be the first boat in history to break through 50 knots.

Paul says, “It’s probably the most amazing race you’ll find. It involves an incredible array of sailors and disciplines sprawled all over the world trail blazing the boundaries of what is possible with wind and water. There is everything from simple kite-surfers up to huge 60’ hydrofoiling trimarans. They are all on the water NOW and they are all capable. One thing is for sure, if there is a race on then we at SailRocket will do our best to win it!”

More Information:

Related Articles

Weymouth Speed Week 2022
50 years on, and one of the best ever Little did Sir Tim Colman (yes, he of mustard fame) and James Gregono know when they and their peers started Weymouth Speed week in 1972 to see just how fast their boats could go over the now legendary 500m course. Posted on 27 Oct 2022
Paul Larsen on RORC Time over Distance Series
The fastest sailor on the planet having clocked 68 knots in Vestas Sailrocket 2 Larsen has always been involved in cutting edge sailing projects and in this 45-minute interview he discusses foiling technology in both the Vendée Globe and the forthcoming Match in the 46th America's Cup. Posted on 4 Mar 2021
65+ knot Rocket Ride
A look back at the incredible achievement of Vestas Sailrocket 2 With so many people asking "what is it like" to sail this boat at this speed, we thought it was time to do a more 'pure' edit of our fastest, final incredible run. Posted on 13 Apr 2020
Podcast: An extraordinary 10 years of sailing
Andy Rice, Mark Jardine and James Boyd discuss the sailing decade In the last podcast before Christmas, Andy Rice joins with fellow sailing journalist James Boyd and Mark Jardine, managing editor of and to look back on an extraordinary 10 years of sailing. Posted on 21 Dec 2019
The Unsung Wise Man
Reg Bratt's remarkable contribution to British dinghy sailing exposed Today, nearly half a century after he was so very much hands on in the dinghy world, Weymouth's Reginald 'Reg' Bratt has a mind as sharp as ever. We look at his remarkable engineering breakthroughs, surprising designs, and speed records. Posted on 13 Dec 2019
Swiss engineers to design the fastest sailboat
SP80 is the Swiss challenge powered by a kite wing Three young engineers from the Swiss engineering school EPFL have decided to design the fastest sailboat over a 500m track and enter sailing history. Posted on 19 Nov 2019
Fever-Tree Moment: That was Fast!
Speed king Paul Larsen enjoys a Gin & Tonic at Antigua Sailing Week Australian Paul Larsen is at Antigua Sailing Week racing on Peter Harrison's Superyacht Sojana, which is top of CSA 2 after scoring five straight bullets. Larsen is a self-confessed adrenalin junky and an awesome sailing gunslinger. Posted on 2 May 2018
Sailrocket 2 at Advanced Engineering Show
On display at the NEC in November Sailrocket 2, which smashed the world speed sailing record by the biggest margins in its history, will go on display at this year's Advanced Engineering Show in Birmingham on the 4th and 5th of November. Posted on 16 Oct 2015
Five minutes with a Speed Freak
Paul Larsen about the MOD70 Concise 10 Tony Lawson's MOD 70, Concise 10, will be screeching south next month. Skipper Ned Collier Wakefield will be on the charge for the 1500-mile delivery to Marina Lanzarote to compete in this November's RORC Transatlantic Race. Posted on 5 Oct 2015
Weymouth Speed Week 2015 at WPNSA
With Vestas Sailrocket 2 on display Weymouth Speed Week will run from 3rd to the 10th October at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Along with a line-up of interesting entries the current 500m World Speed Record holder, Vestas Sailrocket 2, will be on display. Posted on 2 Oct 2015