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Oct 06, 2008 8 Comments by


Greetings yachties,

Below is a collection of stories and links to those speed enthusiasts amongst us. If you know of any other speed projects that should be told here, please let me know. 🙂



WSSR Newsletter No 171 World C class record by Macquarie Innovation 06/01/09 The WSSR Council announces the ratification of a new World Record: Record: World C class record Yacht: Macquarie Innovation Name:  Simon McKeon. AUS Dates:  19th December 2008 Start time: 12:37:54.8 Finish time: 12:38:14.9 Elapsed time: 20.01 Distance: 500 metres Current: 0.42 kts Average speed: 48.14 kts Venue: Sandy Point. AUS Speed sail records here

Previous record: 1993: Yellow Pages: Simon Mckeon AUS: Sandy Point. AUS: 46.52 kts John Reed Secretary to the WSSR Council

Sunday, December 21, 2008 L’hydroptère capsizes after reaching speed peaks of 61 knots L’hydroptère, the record-breaking French trimaran, capsized this morning after reaching the spectacular speed of 61 knots, under winds between 35 and 38 knots and gusts reaching 45 knots. The sea being considerably choppier than the previous days, the same gusts that propelled the French yacht to record-breaking speeds caused her also to capsize. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries and the crew suffered a few scratches. The yacht will be towed to Fos sur Mer, onceconditions allow it.

more photos here


John Harwood-Bee: Regarding ice sailing speed records John Harwood-Bee (December 10, 2008) When the subject of ice sailing speed records surfaced in Scuttlebutt 2741, John Harwood-Bee, Chairman of Project 100 Ltd, offered to provide information that his company gathered for their client, noted adventurer Steve Fossett: “We at Project 100 spent some time researching and evaluating the three significant sailing speed records, those of land, ice and water. This was on behalf of our client Steve Fossett. As you know Steve was always looking for the next challenge and we presented this trio as a possible goal for him. He and Peter Hogg gave consideration to the project but it was shelved whilst Steve made attempts on the outright Land Speed record and the Oceanic Depth record. “Our research indicated some confusion in the verification of certain claims. With the water record it was and is easy to check for existing data. Similarly with the land speed record. What was most difficult to establish was an accurate and verifiable ice yacht speed. The fastest speed claimed was 143mph, supposedly attained in 1938 by John Buckstaff on Lake Winnebago. Buckstaff had a 60′ long ice yacht carrying almost 1000 sq feet of sail. It is impossible to verify this now and there does not appear to be any record of the equipment used to measure it. The Guinness Book of Records did list it and they are normally very thorough. They however have only been around since 1955 so were probably working from historic detail. “There is controversy surrounding that claim and it is ‘examined’ in detail by modern ice sailors who, working with the latest GPS equipment etc, have only managed 84 mph. The biggest argument is based on physics. The claim is that the speed was achieved in 72 mph winds. Given the size of the vessel, the sail area and the venue modern thinking considers it would have been highly unlikely to have kept the vessel upright never mind on a record setting course. We consider that 84 mph can be beaten and there is a ‘model’ that suggests that given the correct surface and wind condition, this could be achieved by some margin. Theoretically, with lower friction co-efficient, it should be possible to travel faster on ice than on land. “Perhaps the WSSRC would care to become guardian of the records for all these disciplines. They have the expertise and the credibility to do so. If anybody fancies funding an attempt at any or all of these records, I should be interested to hear from them.” Here is a report by Bob Dill, the designer of the current land sailing speed record, regarding ice boat records titled, “Reality and Folklore”.

We have been informed by the International Sailing Federation – ISAF – that they will support a decision by the WSSRC to ratify a claim for the Outright World Sailing Speed Record by a Kite-board. In accordance with this, the WSSRC announces the ratification of a new Outright World Record: Record: Outright World Sailing Speed Record. Board: Fone Prototype Speed. Fone Bandit Dos Speed 7sq m kite. Name: Alexandre Caizergues. FRA Dates: 4th October 2008. Start time: 15:35:00.84 Finish time: 15:35:20.06 Elapsed time: 19.22 Distance: 501m Current: 0.1kts Average speed: 50.57kts Venue: Luderitz, Namibia. Previous record: 2008. Sebastien Cattelan. 50.26 kts John Reed Secretary to the WSSR Council more here


There was no supernova of emotion, no tears… just huge smiles and a sense of arrival. We did some pieces to camera and then carefully dropped the rig. Then we felt safe. It was only later when we checked the two onboard GPS systems that we saw we had actually hit sustained speeds over 50 knots peaking at 51.76 knots. We averaged 46.4 knots over 1000 meters. The mean wind speed was around 22 knots. VESTAS SAILROCKET had definitely arrived. I reflected on the wing angle during the run and the knowledge that I could come in closer…. to flatter water. armed with this we headed straight back up the course. the wind was up a knot or so and the course was still lovely and flat. This was our dream day. We had plenty of time. The wind was gusting to 25 on the second start indicating an average of around 22-23 knots… no more. I did an even flatter start up procedure focusing on getting the wing into 10 degrees as soon as she accelerated… and bloody hell… did she accelerate. apparently she pulled 0.35 G’s all the way up to 52 knots before the nose lifted. I expected her to step sideways as before but not this time. The nose floated higher… and then it went quiet… I was flying. i waited for some sort of touchdown… somewhere… but it didn’t come. the nose just kept going up until I was lookin vertically up at it! There was no rolling and I was just a passenger. It was still quiet… and strangely dry as we continued the loop. I sort of knew I was inverted. It all seemed to take so long. I consciously thought “righto boy, when this thing smacks down… get the hell out of it because you’re gonna be upside down”!!! I smacked down hard. Like someone big had full palm slapped my helmet with all their might. I was out of that boat in an instant. I was a bit beat up and bruised… but alright. I lay on the upturned hull and got my head together. My helmet was broken but I dragged the mic. over to let everyone know I was OK.

more here

53.69 knots

Wednesday 19th November 2008

A new speed record for l’Hydroptère

Last Thursday and Friday, l’Hydroptère trained on the speed spot at Port-Saint-Louis-du-RhĂ´ne.

The weather conditions seemed ideal with a north-northwest wind established at an average of
28-30 knots, with gusts of over 35 knots. Upon arrival on the spot, the crew realized that a little swell persisted, that got higher, attaining nearly a meter at daybreak on Friday.
As the wind was also weaker, the conditions were not favourable for a new performance on the second day.

The assessment of the runs on Thursday 13th November was very positive, l’Hydroptère having, once again, improved her time.

The record over 500 meters was beaten again: 46.88 knots (pending ratification of the WSSRC). l’Hydroptère is now the fastest sailing boat on the planet over 500 meters; she dethroned the Yellow Pages and her 1993 record of an average of 46.52 knots.

A more accurate analysis of the measurements further to these two training days showed that the trimaran is getting closer to the absolute speed record, recording an average of 52.10 knots over 100 meters.

The trimaran’s peak speed was also surpassed and brought up to 53.69 knots, thus the 100 km/h sailing speed (54 knots) is very close.

At each new training session in favourable weather conditions, Alain ThĂŠbault and his crew improve l’Hydroptère’s peak and average speeds.

Friday 31st October

l’Hydroptère improves her two speed records

Alain ThÊbault and his crew have  improved on wednesday their performances and established two new records :

– an average of 43,09 knots* over one nautical mile
– an average of 46.146 knots* over 500 meters

These performances show l’Hydroptère’s increase in power. With these two new records under their belt, the Hydroptère Team is, step by step, drawing closer to the final goal: to break the absolute speed record over 500 meters.

For more information about l’Hydroptère

more here

* Pending ratification of the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC)

Tuesday 7th October

High-speed training sessions

Alain ThĂŠbault and his crew have  increased  the record speed of l’Hydroptère from 47.6 to 52,86 knots on Saturday 4th October. This recording is from the official Trimble measurement system, required by the WSSRC.

This performance shows the boat’s potential.

In these very strong wind conditions with gusts records at over 40 knots, l’Hydroptère is the first sailing boat to break the wind barrier of 50 knots in top speed.

7 October 2008

Last chance for more speed sailing records in LĂźderitz

Ø   Last days of record setting wind conditions in Lßderitz likely on Wednesday and Thursday
Ø   Speed sailors looking to reach 100kph, as peak speeds improve ­ GPS records show Rob Douglas 54.3 knots, Alexandre Caizergues 55 knots, Sebastien Cattelan 58.3 knots maximum velocity (average speed over 500m required for WSSRC record ratification)
Ø   Sport of speed sailing receiving unprecedented interest in mainstream media as competition heats up between disciplines: kite, windsurf and sailboat

Forecasts for Wednesday and Thursday are looking promising for another session of nuking winds, with the top sailors anxiously preparing for what are likely to be the last days of race conditions before the LĂźderitz Speed Challenge 2008 officially ends on Friday. To beat the 50.57 knot outright world record set last week by Alexandre Caizergues is still the main goal,
as well as individuals looking for more national records and personal bests.
What is certain is the change in the nature of the sport of speed sailing, as kites, windsurfers and sailboats vie for glory.

The last week has seen plenty of news on the speed sailing front, with ultra-yacht lšHydroptère managing to crack the 50-knot peak speed with a peak of 52.86 knots. The yacht is still some way off from maintaining the 50 knot average speed over a full 500m that is required for a record, but it is getting faster every day.

Interest in the sport is growing, with massive media coverage of the record-breaking runs in Luderitz, both in sailing press and the mainstream media, from prime time television to national daily newspapers (TF1, CNN, lšEquipe). Support from the other disciplines of speed sailing to the contenders at the event in Luderitz has been solid, with messages of support
from Christophe Simian, the manager of the Canal Des Saintes Maries de la Mer in France, where so many speed sailing records have been set by windsurfers, and congratulations messages to new world record holder Alexander Caizergues from Alain ThÊbault, captain of lšHydroptère.

The sport of speed sailing is growing in several directions­ course sailing, long a popular pastime in the windsurfing world, is becoming very popular for kitesurfers in the US and Europe, already with two hundred or more people competing in events, and growing fast. GPS speed sailing (where sailors carry GPS receivers to determine their speeds over a run) is also
growing rapidly as equipment becomes more affordable, making the sport accessible to more people in both windsurfing and kitesurfing. And then, at the pinnacle of sporting performance and equipment technology, true speed sailing under WSSRC rules has captured the imagination of sailors and sports lovers, who can admire the fearless adventure of trying to go faster than anyone else in the world.

The 50-knot barrier ­ the ³four minute mile² of the speed sailing world ­has been breached, and now the challenge is on to be the first human to sail at 100kph, and faster. lšHydroptère achieved a peak speed of 52.6 knots on Sunday 5th October, and the kitesurf speed sailors have reached significantly more. GPS records of the recent record-beating runs show Rob
Douglas reaching 54.3 knots, Alexandre Caizergues 55 knots, and Sebastien Cattelan hitting an astonishing 58.3 knots peak speed.

In an age where climate change, environmental degradation and the harnessing of renewable energy resources has become so important, speed sailing has become a showcase of how humans can still strive for excellence, in a way that does not pollute or waste.

Roger Hislop

All the news from the event, information about the competitors and more is available here

Lüderitz Speed Challenge 2008 – News Digest
We’ve reached the mid-point of the Lüderitz Speed Challenge, and it’s been the most incredible event – a string a new records, and the magic 50 knot barrier not only exceeded by Sebastien Cattelan with 50.26 knots on 3rd Oct, but smashed again the next day by Alexandre Caizergues, who topped 50 not once, but three times, reaching a best speed of 50.57 knots average over the 500m.

The records so far:

•    Outright world speed sailing record: Alexandre Caizergues (France) with 50.57 knots (F-One, Ouest Provence, Volkswagen Utilitaires, ION, Placide)
•    Outright world women’s speed sailing record    : Sjoukje Bredenkamp (South Africa) with 45.20 knots (Naish, Roxy, Oakley)

•    Outright USA speed sailing record: Rob Douglas – 49.84 (The Black Dog, Cabrinha, Lynch Associates, Dakine, Amundsen)
•    Outright South Africa (and Africa) speed sailing record: Hennie Bredenkamp – 47.59 (Naish Africa, C3 fins)
•    Outright Netherlands speed sailing record: Rolf van der Vlugt – 45.99 (Airush, Mystic, Protest, TUDelft, X-tremeboards)
•    Outright Namibia speed sailing record: Jurgen Geiger – 44.90 (Ocean Spirit, North, Free Air)
•    Outright UK speed sailing record: David Williams – 44.78 (Best Kiteboarding, Dead Man clothing, KMS)
•    Open water windsurf record: Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Switzerland) – 44.74 (Red Bull, VW, North Sails, Basf, Ecotel, Proof boards, Oakley, Mystic)
•    Outright France women’s speed sailing record: Charlotte Consorti    – 43.53 (F-One, Nike, Maui Magic, Baracuda, Weleda)
•    Spain kitesurf record :Marc Avela – 42.76 (Reef, Oakley)
•    Outright Slovenia speed sailing record: Jernej Privsek – 41.97 (Jägermeister, Cocta, Kitesfera, Garmin)
•    Outright New Caledonia (and Pacific) record: Joan Henaff    – 41.01 (Nouvelle-Caledonie, North Kites)
•    Outright Belgium speed sailing record: Christian Baret – 40.87 (Summerwood Guesthouse)
•    Outright Netherlands women’s speed sailing record: Katja Roose – 37.18 (Protest, Maui Magic, Airush)
•    UK women’s kitesurf record    Jemma Grobbelaar: 35.61 (Flexifoil, Xelerator, Dakine, Arnette, Derevko, Cti, Lizzy, Island Tribe)

These speeds are verified, but are still subject to ratification by the WSSRC.


With positive forecasts for Friday, competitors are returning to Luderitz in
Namibia for the next set of record attempts, and to possibly exceed the new
outright World Speed Sailing Record of 49.84 knots that American kitesurfer
Rob Douglas set at the Luderitz speed strip on September 19th. Several of
the top contenders returned to Cape Town to have repairs done to their
boards and other equipment, and to stock up on the many items that you can’t
purchase in this remote town.

As for the equipment used to verify the record attempts, the times for each
run are measured by Markus Schwendtner from, veterans
of the meticulous art of measuring the speeds of racing craft of all
descriptions. A video camera monitors the start line, connected to the
timing system by radio link. This is synchronized with a second video camera
that monitors the finish line, and with the timer. The video camera method
is not only extremely accurate, but it provides a way to go back and review
events to be sure that everything is correct – both timing and the identity
of the competitor.

Initial measurements taken live by HighSpeed-Timing under observation by the
World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) official, Michael Ellison, and
are published immediately to “Live” as provisional times. We then update
these posts with the reviewed times a few hours later, when the video
records are rechecked frame by frame to give exact timings. The WSSRC
official also may apply an adjustment correcting for currents, according to
accurate measurements taken during the day’s competition, particularly when
someone does a record speed run. The verified speeds are still subject to
final ratification by a sitting of the World Speed Sailing Records Council,
but this is normally just to ensure correct procedures were followed in the
records claim. —


The latest is another ‘Monty’ wipeout. On our first outing in Walvis we hit 41.8 knots and all looked good. I took advantage of a couple of windless days to do some mods. We tried a new rear planing surface, but a minor leading edge laminate failed and lead to a major failure. It was the only thing that could have brought the whole boat unstuck. I sort of have to put my hand up for that one and paid a little more attention considering the possible consequence. When the planing surface tore off it took out both steering systems and we rounded up, the wing backwinded and crahed backwards into the boat. The main beam folded in half and the wing sustained various bits of damage.
This is not an unfamiliar scenario for us. We can repair this situation with our eyes shut. As I sit here now, vac pumps and heaters are churning away in the background. We could be sailing within a few days… but will take the opportunity at looking at a full ‘back-end’ overhaul. The designer is on his way here and should arrive in a few hours.
VESTAS SAILROCKET will hit the water again in about a week or so. It’s 50 or bust time for our project. We have the best speed sailing location for our purposes in the world all to ourselves and the bit between our teeth.

Cheers, Paul.


12 August 2008

Spectacular cartwheel ends Wot Rocket’s first official world speed record attempt

A sudden spectacular cartwheel has ended Wot Rocket’s first round of official attempts on the 500m world speed sailing record on Botany Bay.

With the pod lifting out of the water on a number of occasions this morning and pilot Sean Langman’s confidence building, he decided to trial a different runway on flatter water just off Dolls Point.

In an 18-20 knot westerly wind Wot Rocket accelerated to an estimated 30 knots of boat speed before the crew found themselves flying blind, without instruments and with co-pilot Joe De Jock unable to ease the wing sail and Langman unable to steer.

“I tried to bear away and we fully pitch poled (end over end),” said Langman this afternoon, the adrenalin still pumping hard as he waited for a crane to help pull Wot Rocket apart for loading onto its trailer.

“We went for the run of the day. It was the best nose dive I’ve ever done…and walked away from.”

Until the project team fully investigates, the reason why Wot Rocket went belly up won’t be known. Langman’s hunch is that there was too much load on the front foil.

When asked how De Kock’s nerves were fairing, given it was only his second day sitting in the rear of the pod, Langman proudly proclaimed him “a lunatic”.

“Just before the crash Joe was telling me how much he loves sailing with me…I don’t think that’s changed,” Langman added.
The damage report is substantial and Langman estimates it will be weeks before they are back on the water. A quick once over this afternoon has revealed a broken mast step, suspected delamination of the Nomex in the wing sail and broken fairing on the transverse beam. A new set of instruments will also have to be ordered.

The Wot Rocket project team will have to lodge another notice of intention to attempt the 500 world speed sailing record with the World Sailing Speed Record Council and then nominate another seven day window within a 30 day timeframe.

Image: Wot Rocket upside after the crash that ended the first round of attempts on the world speed sailing record, credit Chris Stirling.

50 knots – who will be first?

There are now 3 yachts gunning for the 50knot golden egg, who will be first?

On this thread I will follow the press releases of Wot Rocket, Sail Rocket, l’Hydroptere and others stay tuned.

World speed record attempt: Day 1, Monday 11 August

Today heralded the start of Wot Rocket’s first official attempt on the 500m world speed sailing record of 49.09 knots.
With a World Sailing Speed Record Council commissioner and surveyor present, Sean Langman and his new co-pilot, Joe De Kock, took to the waters of Botany Bay in a WSW breeze that peaked at 17 knots before Wot Rocket headed ashore at midday for further steering refinements.

This afternoon at the launch pad at Kurnell the main hull rudder is being enlarged and a small rudder that was being trialled on the pod is being removed after it created drag as well as an opening for salt water. With a team of experts on hand De Kock estimates they’ve got around six hours work ahead of them before tomorrow’s second bout.

If the morning temperatures of 7-10 degrees and biting westerlies weren’t enough to bring on the winter woes, sitting in water inside the pod proved a bit hard to swallow for the new co-pilot. De Kock has sailed over 100,000 nautical miles with Langman and is no stranger to harsh conditions but he struggled today inside the cold watery compartment.

“I was worried about getting frostbite,” he joked. “The point when my feet went numb was actually a blessing because then I couldn’t tell how cold they were.”

De Kock has been brought in to replace former co-pilot Martin Thompson. A highly experienced 18 foot skiff, 49er and offshore sailor, De Kock also is the yard manager at Langman’s Noakes site at Newcastle, where Wot Rocket’s hull and wing sail were built, and has been involved in the project from the outset.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for W/SW 15-20 knots easing to SW-S/10-12 on Wednesday, although Wednesday’s models disagree at this stage with some showing WSW 28-25 knots all day. Thursday’s forecast is looking favourable with WSW 17-24 knots winds on the cards ahead of another promising day on Friday.

Given the likelihood it would coincide with the sort of weather window traditionally offered up in August, the Aussies nominated this week for their assault on the world speed sailing record. So far they’ve hit the mark.
The first round of attempts will go through until this Sunday, 17 August. If Wot Rocket fails to make its mark within the seven day window Langman and his team will be back after Audi Hamilton Island Race Week – and hungrier than ever.

Wot Rocket sponsors Noakes Boat & Shipyards and Graeme Wood, founder of Australasia’s number one accommodation website, Nexus, Warringah Plastics, Harken, Gurit Australia and Superyachting.

more here

11 August 2008 World speed record attempt: Day 1, Monday 11 August
23 July 2008 Wot Rocket up up and away….almost; now for the Sydney Boat Show
10 July 2008 Wot Rocket’s official attempt set down
1 July 2008 Wot Rocket’s chance to fly blown away with wild winter westerly
27 June 2008 Forecast ideal for Wot Rocket test sail Tuesday 1 July
23 June 2008 Wot Rocket Update
19 June 2008 Two countries, two hemispheres, two objectives…one victor
15 May 2008 Wot Rocket eases into on-water testing program
6 May 2008 Countdown to Australian world speed sailing record attempt begins

place your bets dude

Paul’s blog

New video of last sessions big Runs.

Hi folks, here is a ‘sneak peak-link to the latest video showing some of the highs and lows of our last four month development period in Namibia.

We completed 29 runs over this period, five of which reached peak speeds of 42 knots or above.

I was pretty blown away when we hit 44 knots on Run 32. The boat was in such a ‘dirty’ configuration. There was so much unnecessary stuff hanging in the air and in the water. Big important stuff… not little details.

-The big low speed rudder was still down.

-When I realised I was going fast out in rough water I didn’t pull on the main flap on the wing which is like turbocharging.

-The flap on the beam wasn’t correctly set so the leeward pod wasn’t flying. The pod itself had rotated slightly nose down.

-All the rig up/downhaul rigging was still in place effectively doubling the rigging windage.

-The wing strut doesn’t have the fairing on.

-Cameras and wind instrument poles not necessary for record runs all in place.

– Out in rough water… so much so that I broke the seat!

If we can get VESTAS SAILROCKET sheeted in tight and sailing clean above and below the surface in flat water along the shore… We WILL go a lot faster i.e. raising the big rudder is good for over 4 knots alone!

Of course we will no doubt run into new obstacles as we go quicker but you will have to agree that the potential is there.

We are doing everything to try and get the boat into the clean configurations and in the fast environment. Sounds simple when it’s put like that eh? Well this video shows some of the issues and general progress so far…


Cheers, Paul

Team set to return on August the 14th

Hi to all, well we are set to return to Walvis Bay on the 14th of August for our 4th session on the wonderful speed strip.

Friends on-site down there tell me that the wind has returned with a vengeance… so it’s time for us to do the same. Helena booked the tickets today so the gig is on.

It is our aim to continue building on the performance of VESTAS SAILROCKET so that we can commence a ratified record session ASAP.

We have a relatively short list of necessary modifications to make to the boat… but otherwise it will be buisness as usual.

The windy season is from now until the end of November and this time we are ready for it.

Cheers, Paul.

Back to the old Hunting grounds…

Helena and I have returned to Weymouth to our old speed-sailing hunting grounds. The International Moth class have just finished their World Championships here and it was great, as always, to see them in action. The weather was pretty wild there for awhile and they were kept of the water for the first four or so days. Good ol’ Weymouth. Whilst Namibia offers conditions a multitude of times better and more consistent… I would still love to bring VESTAS SAILROCKET back here to have a crack at setting the first 40+ knot run in Portland Harbour. That would be very cool.

So we brought some of the necessary equipment back to get modified to allow some new sensors to be added to the skeg. PI RESEARCH are going to modify the existing wiring looms to accept a strain guage which should tell us a lot about how VESTAS SAILROCKET is balanced.

We have drawn up a new schedule for our next session down in Namibia and are contemplating the timing for booking a fully ratified record session with the WSSRC (governing body). I feel that we are in a pretty good position to do so and that we should be putting this sort of pressure on ourselves. We have spent a lot of time on this project and if there are any real BIG issues then we should be confronting them sooner rather than later.

Whilst this is all being worked on, Helena and I will head up to Bristol to work on yet another ‘winged wonder’. Our friends at AIRBUS have nearly completed their new wing for their C-Class catamaran. We will go and give them all the help we can to get this amazing craft back on the water… but that’s another story.

Britain has finally showed us some weather worthy of being classified as summer-ish so we will enjoy it while we can. We still aim to be back down in Walvis Bay in mid-early August. Friends have already e-mailed us to tell us that we have missed a couple of good days… but you get that. You can’t get them all.

Meanwhile the Hydroptere team are waiting for some stronger winds to appear down in the Med. whilst the new ‘Wotrocket’ team have very optimistically booked the WSSRC for a record session next month! I openly admit that I still can’t work that one out…

Cheers Paul

more here


The windsurfers and kites

Put your logo here.

Following our early 2007 attempt at Sandy Point, the team embarked on a long Winter that would be spent analysing and tuning the boat with a view to optimising Macquarie Innovation’s (MI) low wind speed performance.  We were more or less forced into taking this approach by the extended run of poor weather conditions that had been experienced at Sandy Point over the last 5 or so years. As an example of this, we recently calculated that the sailing team have spent less than 10 minutes of actual sailing time in MI since the end of 2005. And of this 10 minutes, 9.5 of these were spent in winds of less than 18 knots ! It is certainly a very different picture to that which was experienced during our time with Yellow Pages Endeavour.

We can now report though, that after deciding to return to Sandy Point in October of 2007 with an extended WSSRC campaign period, we have confirmed the advances made over Winter in our low wind speed range. Unfortunately, that’s about the limit of the news as yet again, out of three WSSRC 28 day periods, only 2.5 hours of possible sailing conditions were available !

The results of the limited on-water time was as usual, impressive, but not good enough to deliver the team its goals. Four complete 500m runs were managed in average wind strengths between 17 and 18 knots. The best of the runs was timed at 46.48 kts across the 500m course in a 17 knot average wind. Conditions were less than ideal, but it was pretty obvious that the efficiency changes made to MI over the Winter had not been wasted.

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Since the launching in the Meditarranean, Alain ThĂŠbault and his crew train and sail between Marseille and Port-Saint-Louis-du-RhĂ´ne, as wind conditions permit. After the first sailing sessions, the time has come to make the first evaluation

The members of l’Hydroptère team have found their bearings in Marseille and have been able to adjust to the new working environment and to the new sea conditions. This was facilitated by the warm welcome they received from the time of their arrival, first of all, by the CNIM teams, who welcomed the boat during her final phase of assembly. They made themselves available and were very responsive to the specific needs of l’Hydroptère Team. Then by the Foselev company, where they coordinated all the necessary logistics for our technicians, and finally by Marseille Provence Métropole, that welcomes l’Hydroptère free of charge in the Vieux Port of Marseille.

The speed version of l’Hydroptère is an entirely new boat.

For this reason, Alain Thébault and his crew have taken the time to proceed with the necessary adjustments and to take control of the boat. “Following the speed configuration works, we have to re-acquaint ourselves with the boat, discover new sensations and, little by little, tame this spirited boat. We must re-discover everything, each gesture, each action”, says Alain Thébault.
The prototype conceived for very high speeds is so specialized and exacting that a time of adjustment is necessary before beginning any record attempt. The Mistral having been fairly rare over the past few weeks, taking control of the boat has been done in moderate winds of 20 knots maximum.
Each sailing session is followed by a complete examination of the measurements in order to adapt the adjustments and to optimize the flying trimaran’s performance between two sessions.
The spot of Port-Saint-Louis-du-RhĂ´ne is perfectly adapted to the needs of the crew. It brings together ideal conditions for the speed record, a water surface protected by sand dunes and swept by the Mistral wind.
Weather conditions not having permitted sailing sessions with actual record conditions, the steps of speeds over 40 knots, necessary for the engineers’ analyses, could not been validated. The training sessions will continue until Alain ThĂŠbault and his crew feel they are ready to begin the actual record attempts, and then…..

This maxi trimaran will measure approximately 30 meters long, with a  32-meter span.

This size should enable her to react better in choppy seas. l’Hydroptère maxi’s versatility will be fundamental.

The speeds expected for this maxi are very high and she should be able to sail round the world and beat the existing record (50 days), with the ultimate goal of approaching 40 days.

Any others??

In 1993, an Australian team, with their yacht “Yellow Pages Endeavour”, broke the World Sailing Speed Record. The new mark was set at 46.52 knots (86.52 km/h) in only 19 – 20 knots of wind. The World Sailing Speed Record is governed by a body of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). Claiming a world record requires the sailing craft to average the highest speed over a 500m course.The initial design concept was brought to the team by its designer Lindsay Cunningham. The team was between defences of the Little America’s Cup in International C Class catamarans (the fastest course racing yachts in the world) and Lindsay’s proposal sparked the interest in making an attempt at the World Sailing Speed Record.Prior to 1993, the World Record was held by a French sailboarder and Lindsay was confident that the new concept would be successful. As a testament to the design talent of this world recognised Australian yacht designer, “Yellow Pages Endeavour” set the new world mark in October 1993 – a benchmark that remained for over 11 years.
After setting the World Record, the Yellow Pages team decided to continue to push the limits of speed sailing. A new craft, “Macquarie Innovation” was designed and constructed in an attempt to be the first ever to break the 50 knot barrier.
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8 Responses to “50knots”

  1. traction kite guy says:

    Hi. I read a few of your other posts and wanted to know if you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links?

  2. skiff says:

    sure, happy to swap links, send in your details

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