The Fastest Sailboat on the Planet

Looks like the Australian Paul Larsen broke the 50-knots-per-hour speed sailing record, and then he broke his boat. So far only a couple of kite surfers broke 50 knots. Larsen claims that in his latest attempt at setting a new speed record his sailboat reached a peak speed of 52.22 knots (60.09 MpH – 96.71KMpH) … before it flipped! He was OK – and now he and his team are busy putting the boat back together.

Sailrocket design

Sailrocket design

The Vestas Sailrocket is a fascinating design. The 9 meter long main hull connects to a 7.5-meter crossbeam that carries the main rig at it’s end – leeward of the main hull. At low speeds the crossbeam is stabilized by a small float at the end, below the rig. At cruising speed, that float leaves the water and flies above the water. “The flying height of the float is stabilized passively by the aerodynamic ‘ground effect’ which acts like weak spring connecting the beam to the water surface.”

The effect of this design is “that there is virtually no overturning moment and no net vertical lift. When used correctly this concept results in a boat which no longer has obvious stability limits and in which the only significant response to gusts is a change in speed!”

Check out the video of the run and the crash – it’s quite spectacular:

Good luck to Paul and his team! This is a very cool and exciting accomplishment!

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