Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. ( Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. ( Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Team AkzoNobel took the win in the HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong on a challenging afternoon on the waters of Kowloon Bay.

The wind during race time was a 6 to 10 knot Easterly, but it was very shifty and puffy, and with a tidal current running on the race course, it was a difficult day for the tacticians.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

“We had a fantastic race, pretty exciting. We planned to sail our own race today. It was tricky enough with the tide and the windshifts,” said team AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. ( Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. ( Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

“The team sailed an unbelievable race and the guys in the back of the boat played the tactics very well… It’s good when things come together. It’s a nice reward for all the effort the team has put in.”

Dongfeng Race Team finished in second place, with Team Brunel third. The two swapped places on the third lap of the course after a solid upwind leg by Brunel gave them the lead, but the Dongfeng crew fought back on the run to secure second place.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

A fourth place finish on Saturday by the series leader MAPFRE means Dongfeng vaults to the top of the table.

But it’s a tight leaderboard and it could compress further following Sunday’s Around Hong Kong Island Race, when results of the weekend of racing will be combined to assign the points from this stopover.

Hong Kong’s hometown heroes Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag had a fantastic start, but fell back and battled to a fifth place finish over Turn the Tide on Plastic on Saturday. Both teams will be determined to move up with a better result on Sunday.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

The Around Hong Kong Island Race is scheduled to start at 11:30am local time in Hong Kong (0330 UTC). There will be live coverage of the start and finish of Sunday’s race on www.volvooceanrace.com, on Facebook and Twitter @volvooceanrace. Fans will be able to follow the full race on the tracker via www.volvooceanrace.com.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing will not race this weekend or on Leg 5 to Guangzhou next week as the team coordinates repairs to its boat – see more here.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Current Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race leaderboard 
Dongfeng Race Team – 24 points
MAPFRE – 23 points
team AkzoNobel – 18 points
Team Brunel – 18 points
Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 12 points
Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag – 9 points
Turn the Tide on Plastic – 7 points

*** Note: The above leaderboard reflects full points assigned from Saturday’s HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. On Sunday, the results of the Around Hong Kong Island race will be combined with Saturday’s HGC In-Port Race to award the overall leader from this weekend’s racing a maximum of seven points from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018.  (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. Ocean Summit. Mark Towill, Co-founder & Team Director, Vestas 11th Hour Racing &.Charlie Enright. 22 January, 2018. ( Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. Ocean Summit. Mark Towill, Co-founder & Team Director, Vestas 11th Hour Racing &.Charlie Enright. 22 January, 2018. ( Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

 

By Mark Towill and Charlie Enright

Vestas 11th Hour Racing has informed Volvo Ocean Race that the team will not be participating in inshore racing in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China, as well as Leg 5 from Hong Kong to Guangzhou.The team is currently coordinating necessary repairs to the boat caused by the collision with a non-racing vessel on Saturday 20th January. For more information, see here. 

“First and foremost, our thoughts and condolences are with the families affected by this tragic incident,” said Mark Towill from Hong Kong.

“At this time, we are still assessing all of our options to return to the race,” said Charlie Enright. “We once again thank everyone for their continued support.”

Practice racing today, followed by the In-Port Race and Around Hong Kong Race this weekend as well as pro-am racing at the start of next week, are all programmed to take place in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Stopover. Hong Kong United Doackyards. The Boatyard working hard to get the boats ready for the next Leg. 21 January, 2018. Hong Kong Stopover. ( Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

The fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s will then depart in Leg 5 for Guangzhou on January 31st for the next stopover in mainland China.

eg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, day 17, Photo by Amory Ross/Volvo Ocean Race. 18 January, 2018.

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, day 17, Photo by Amory Ross/Volvo Ocean Race. 18 January, 2018.

The Volvo Ocean Race can confirm Vestas 11th Hour Racing, one of the teams competing in the 2017-18 race, has been involved in a collision with a non-race vessel before the finish of Leg 4, near Hong Kong.

The team has retired from Leg 4 and is proceeding to Hong Kong unassisted and under its own power.

Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed of the collision by the team moments after it happened at approximately 17:23 UTC on Friday January 19, 2018 (01:23 local time on Saturday morning).

The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team issued a Mayday distress call on behalf of the other vessel, alerting the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (HKMRCC) and undertook a search and rescue mission.

HKMRCC has informed Race Control that a commercial vessel in the area was able to rescue nine of the crew and that a tenth crew member was taken by helicopter to hospital.

All of the crew on Vestas 11th Hour Racing are safe. Their boat suffered damage and the team has officially retired from the leg, but the team is able to motor to shore.

The Volvo Ocean Race is deeply saddened to inform that the collision between Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a team competing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, and a fishing vessel has resulted in a fatality of a crew of the fishing vessel.

On behalf of the Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing, we offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the deceased.

The incident occurred approximately 30 miles from the finish of Leg 4, outside of Hong Kong waters. Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed of the collision by the team moments after it happened at approximately 17:23 UTC on Friday January 19, 2018 (01:23 local time on Saturday morning).

The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team, none of whom were injured in the collision, issued a Mayday distress call on behalf of the other vessel, alerting the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (HKMRCC) and undertook a search and rescue mission.

HKMRCC informed Race Control that a commercial vessel in the area was able to rescue nine of the crew and that a tenth crew member was taken by helicopter to hospital. HKMRCC has since confirmed the death of the air-lifted crew member.

Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing are now focused on providing immediate support to those affected by this incident.

All involved organisations are co-operating with the authorities and are fully supporting the ongoing investigation.

 

 

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, arrivals. 19 January, 2018. (Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, arrivals. 19 January, 2018. (Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag have won Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race, leading the fleet into their home port of Hong Kong.

It’s an historic win for skipper David Witt and his team who had to overcome significant setbacks on the leg before grabbing the lead with a bold tactical call out of the Doldrums last weekend.

“We had a bit of a plan and we stuck to it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and this time it worked for us,” Witt said.
But late in the crossing, after falling behind the fleet again, Witt and navigator Libby Greenhalgh made the decision to cut the corner, and turn to the west earlier than the opposition who kept pressing north in search of stronger winds.

The move paid dividends nearly immediately on the leaderboard as Scallywag had less miles to sail to the finish line, but pundits cautioned that the teams in the north would almost certainly overhaul them as the tradewinds filled in from the northeast.

It never happened.

Even when the team dropped miles recovering a man overboard after Alex Gough was swept off the boat by a wave, after executing a flawless recovery, Scallywag returned to racing and extended to nearly a 100-mile lead.

But then, the chasing boats began chipping away at the lead. Two days out from the finish, the margin had been cut significantly and the pressure mounted.

“I was really impressed by the way we operated over the past couple of days,” Witt said. “We had a pretty big lead and then through no fault of our own, about two-thirds of it got taken away. But we stuck to our guns, did what we thought was right and it’s worked out.”

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, arrivals. 19 January, 2018. ( Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, arrivals. 19 January, 2018. ( Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race)

With the Leg 4 win, Scallywag picks up 8 points (7 points for first place plus a one point win bonus). It will vault the team up to mid-fleet on the overall leaderboard, in a very respectable fourth place.

“It was always going to take us longer than the others to get up to speed as we were the last to enter,” Witt said. “All teams need a bit of confidence and I think one thing that is underrated in sport is momentum and this will certainly give the Scallywags plenty of that… We’re all still learning and we’re going to keep getting better as we go on.”

Witt has acknowledged the significance of the win as the local team leading the fleet into the first ever Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Hong Kong. For the team owner, Seng Huang Lee, who has supported Scallywag sailing over the years, it’s a big moment.

“We’re a privately owned team and our owner Mr. Lee has poured his passion and enthusiasm and vision into this project and this win will be very special for him… Winning this leg will be a massive platform for Scallywag going forward.”

Behind Scallywag, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Dongfeng Race Team are battling for second place and expected to finish approximately two and three hours behind the winner. The rest of the fleet is forecast to finish at intervals over the following 12 hours.

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, arrivals. 19 January, 2018. ( Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, arrivals. 19 January, 2018.

Leg 4 – Provisional Results at Friday 19 January (Leg 4, Day 18) at 20:17 UTC

1. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag — FINISHED – 17:45:42 UTC
2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing — RACING
3. Dongfeng Race Team — RACING
4. team AkzoNobel – RACING
5. MAPFRE — RACING
6. Team Brunel — RACING
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic — RACING

Volvo Ocean Race – Current Leaderboard

1. MAPFRE — RACING — 29 points (after Leg 3)
2. Dongfeng Race Team — RACING — 23 points (after Leg 3)
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing — RACING — 23 points (after Leg 3)
4. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag — FINISHED — 19 points (after Leg 4)
5. Team Brunel — RACING — 14 points (after Leg 3)
6. team AkzoNobel — RACING — 9 points (after Leg 3)
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic — RACING — 6 points (after Leg 3)

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, arrivals. 19 January, 2018.

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, arrivals. 19 January, 2018.

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

The local heroes on Xabi Fernàndez’s MAPFRE were a popular winner in the first point scoring race of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The local heroes on Xabi Fernández’s MAPFRE were a popular winner in the first point scoring race of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Fernández and his team made a bold call at the start to duck behind the entire fleet in order to sail up what turned out to be the favoured right hand side of the course, coming from behind to earn a narrow lead at the first gate.

“It was pretty clear from Joan (Vila) and Rob (Greenhalgh) that we wanted to hit the right side of the course in the first upwind looking for more breeze,” explained Fernández.

“Our intention was to start on port but Pablo (Arrarte) saw the gap himself when Brunel did a poor tack and they couldn’t accelerate so we want for the cross and we had plenty of room and once we hit the right everything went well.”

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

MAPFRE then managed to stretch out to a lead of nearly one-minute at the bottom gate, giving them a lead they would enjoy the rest of the way.

“The truth is it hasn’t been an easy race but we took a bit of a risk at the start,” Fernández said after the finish. “We saw the gap in front of Brunel and we went for it. Everything went really well.”

In fact, the Spanish team sailed a flawless race, in terms of strategy and execution, and were never threatened after grabbing the lead at the first mark.

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

But behind them, it was a hard-fought race. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag was strong on the first leg, but dropped back over the course of the race. In contrast, Dongfeng Race Team fought up the fleet to grab second place, battling with Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Brunel who were trading places throughout the race.

“There was a lot of action! MAPFRE played their own game alone but behind them, we had a big fight for second place. It’s good, it’s good,” said skipper Charles Caudrelier on Dongfeng Race Team.

“We showed how we can sail well, after having not such good results in the last few days. It’s great that we managed to come back and get this result.”

“It was a very exciting first In-Port Race for us,” said Charlie Enright, the skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing. “They’re always really close. You know, when you’re racing these 65-foot canting keel boats around a one-mile track it gets interesting, with a lot of exchanges and big headsails and a lot of grinding. We did some good things and some bad things and got third place. All in all, not a bad way to start the campaign.”

“I had a bad start and that put us on the back foot,” said Bouwe Bekking the skipper of Team Brunel. “But we sailed the boat very nicely. All in all, we’re pretty happy with how we sailed today.”

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race.

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race.

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag made a late gain to grab fifth over team AkzoNobel with Turn the Tide on Plastic never recovering from a poor first leg.

“It was okay. Fifth’s not great but it was okay. We were second at the top but we just made one mistake on the first run and it cost us. Basically, it was good. Amazing to be racing here in Alicante,” said David Witt, the skipper of Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.

MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante — Results

Position Team Elapsed Time Points
1 MAPFRE 54:38 7
2 Dongfeng Race Team 56:06 6
3 Vestas 11th Hour Racing 56:54 5
4 Team Brunel 57:13 4
5 Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 58:07 3
6 team AkzoNobel 58:31 2
7 Turn the Tide on Plastic 59:39 1
Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

Team Vestas Wind (Photo by Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind)

Team Vestas Wind (Photo by Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind)

– Vestas launch ‘biggest B2B enlightenment campaign’

– Follow Team Vestas Wind and all the latest Race action here and on our app (Volvo Ocean Race)

– Don’t forget to sign up for our great new official Game

ALICANTE, Spain, Oct 7 – It’s been the question every follower of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 has been asking when they see the Team Vestas Wind slogan on their boat’s mainsail: What is ‘A Race We Must Win”?

Today Vestas, the world’s biggest wind manufacturer, gave the answer just four days before their crew and the rest of the seven-strong fleet leave Spain for the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race to Cape Town on Saturday.

Vestas Group SVP and chief marketing officer Morten Albaek describes the campaign as “probably the biggest business-to-business enlightenment campaign” ever undertaken.

“We want to tell the world that humanity is in A Race We Must Win and that it can be won only with the help of wind technology,” says Albaek, speaking from Alicante.

A Race We Must Win comprises three critical challenges currently facing mankind, each closing in on a point beyond which change for the worse is inevitable:

– The race against climate change where carbon reduction and investments to avoid carbon lock-in are urgently needed to avoid increasing global temperatures by more than the critical two degrees.

– The race against energy poverty where 1.3 billion today live without clean and reliable energy and whose immediate solution is coal and diesel unless otherwise supported.

– The race against water scarcity where 1.2 billion people live today with absolute water scarcity, an amount increasing dramatically as more than 40% of the global population is projected to be living in areas of severe water stress in 2050.

Vestas has installed a specially constructed pavilion in Alicante to illustrate these key issues and is planning to add “new elements” to the campaign in each of the key ports where the race and respective teams will stop over.

“We are not just talking about the problems but about the solutions and asking people to make commitments in their daily life,” says Albaek.

As part of its race activities, Vestas will engage with more than 1,000 decision makers among their key customers in key markets. Albaek points out that the 10 countries that the race will visit – including South Africa, China, Brazil and USA – represent “a significant part of our business for the next few years”.

“There will be millions of spectators coming down to the ports and these are citizens and consumers that need a message that is meaningful for them,” he adds.

Albaek says that Vestas’ campaign will not end when the Volvo Ocean Race finishes in Gothenburg in June 2015, but will feed in to the campaign to get concrete solutions to stop climate change at the Paris COP meeting later that year. “Our race won’t end with the Volvo Ocean Race, it will continue to Paris and beyond,” he adds

Paul Larsen and Sailrocket 2  blasting through another record day (Photo courtesy of Vestas Sailrocket)

Paul Larsen and Sailrocket 2 blasting through another record day (Photo courtesy of Vestas Sailrocket)

Paul Larsen and the VESTAS Sailrocket 2 Team continue to have an amazingly successful run in Walvis Bay, Namimbia. They are smashing records and opening champagne.  Read below an excerpt from Paul’s blog describing the excitement of the team as they dial in Sailrocket 2 for record breaking runs.

Challenge and Adventure’s founder Vikki Penney was a long time supporter of Paul Larsen and his Sailrocket team and we here at Challenge and Adventure know she is up there smiling happily down on you ad the rest of the team Paul.

In Paul’s own words;

“So let’s get this down here before I start forgetting stuff…
Last Saturday looked like it was going to be a strong day from the moment it popped onto the long range Windguru forecast. Amongst a bunch of fluctuating average days it barely deviated as it approached. We began to focus on it as being the day when we would go all out. Almost annoyingly, the day before piped up and blew just enough to force us to fully gear up and head towards speed-spot. We stopped just short of launching the boat. It was annoying as it was strong enough to force us to react but we really wanted to focus on the next day. You have to be reactive as for whatever reason, the next day may not deliver. Every opportunity has to be seized this year and we had already had two remarkable days on average forecasts.
That night we had dinner back at the crew house. I was about to raise a glass to the following day and the last day of living in the 50’s… but decided not to tempt fate. We had an early night.
It was already blowing from the SW in the morning. This combined with the strong forecast spoke to us that at long last, after over six weeks, we were going to get some good, old-school, industrial Walvis Bay wind.
Our focus was to smash through a 60 knot average. After our previous record runs there had been a heap of interviews and discussions about what it all represents. people doing articles on Hydroptere, Luderitz and Rob and Alex were all suddenly diverted to that ‘other team’ in Walvis Bay. Everyone wanted to know what we thought she could do. My guess was a little over 62 knots average. Although our 59.38 knot run was obviously hugely satisfying for us, I wasn’t comfortable to leave it at that. I sincerely felt that it was still within striking distance of the kiters. They could have an epic day at one of the venues and now they had all the motivation in the world to pull the stops out. I could just sense that they were buzzing like a hungry bunch of knife fighters whose leader had just been shot. They would want revenge and although they would figure they were on the offensive… we knew that the gun had plenty more bullets. Today we would spend them.
I was nervous about the potential of the day. It could all end a number of ways. There are crash scenarios for this boat that I’m pretty sure would be lethal. If the forward beam stay failed, the failure mode would be pretty worst case. A snap roll of the fuselage to leeward. Considering that it is traveeling sideways at 25 degrees and would be combined with a forward pod nose-dive… it would be violent. We had spent the previous few days pulling the boat apart and checking everything. Alex put dormant safety lines in key areas and serviced the wing. Ben had installed padding around the cockpit edging to protect my head. The crash harness and quick release was all serviced. The boat was good.
As I lay awake in bed that morning I considered writing a little note that I hoped would never be read and stashing it somewhere. Too morbid. Just get it right Larsen.
We had set all the previous records in relatively mild conditions and were yet to sail in average conditions over 26 knots. What would a boat with unlimited stability that is demostrating its ability to sail at around 2.4 X windspeed do in a 30+ knot gust?

Yeah it was going to be a big day alright. There was a sense of definite energy in the wind. I had told a few close friends that this was going to be it. If ever they wanted to see this boat do its stuff… then this was it. We made sure that our good luck team member Wally was on side. I also made sure that our friend and guru RC model plane flyer Bernt was there. He had a plane which could fly at 110kmh with a GoPro2 on it. It was going to be windy so it was going to be interesting to see what he could do with it as he was literally flying against VSR2’s apparent wind. We had more to organise than on most days. I spent the morning fitting a streamlined nose cone to the stub-beam that holds the main foil. Malcolm calculated that it could be good for 0.25 to 0.4 of a knot. That could make the difference (in a way it did). Things like that are free speed. ‘Givens’.
The wind continued to build. The forecast was playing out. I fully believed that it was going to ‘over develop’ and build to a strength beyond what we could safely handle. I also felt that this might be the first and last big day of this record attempt. I knew what I had to do today. As the day built I began to feel that we had to get out there early. It could have built too quick and left us with the horrible realisation that we missed it. With the big crew it took a lot longer to get ready. We had to send over two RIB loads of people to speed-spot. By the time it was our turn to get towed over it was already over 25 knots.

FOCUSED.

 

On the way I sat in the cockpit and pulled my cap low over my eyes. I leaned back against the new side padding that Ben had installed and just relaxed. As we entered the end of the magical mile that is speed spot I began checking the conditions out in detail. I watch the kiters and windsurfers and check out what sails they have up, how easily they waterstart etc etc. Many come past the boat as it is being towed and we swap quick expressions to discuss the wind and such. I got Alex to pull into the timing hut where I ran up and did a quick wind check. Conditions were good…. not great but worth pushing forward with. We already had gusts up to 27 but dips to 22. The direction was good and things were only going to get stronger. I felt pretty edgey. Big things happen on days like this. It was great to see so many friends over on this normally desolate landscape. Close friends who knew what all this meant to us. Malcolm and george were here. Malcolm has never seen either boat go over 50 knots yet! He would have front row seats to see something special today.

FRONT ROW SEAT FOR MALCOLM AS VSR2 HEADS UP THE COURSE.

 

I ran back down to the boat and we quickly took it up to the top of the course. I had a quick chat to the boys to remind them to stay cool if it goes wrong. They would be a long way behind and would arrive well after the crash. I could be anywhere as they approach and in any shape. I don’t wear a life jacket as I don’t want to be stuck inside an upturned hull. Maybe I should. If my drysuit gets torn then it could be a bad thing. I drifted out of the upturned cockpit of VSR1 unconscious once. I’m still not sure how. I sit much deeper in this boat. I reminded them once more of the harness I was wearing and its mechanism… but mostly just to stay calm and turn off any emotion. No drama, just cool heads. I was nervous but in an excited way. I knew what I had to do and I also believed that I was about to have the ride of my life.
The wing went up cleanly and all the little rigging extras were removed. We had a clean ship. Everything was good. I had removed all the comms. to Alex i.e. ripped them off my helmet and thrown them in the piss after getting lost in the French language menu whilst trying to connect! Hand signals work. The release from the RIB went pretty well and I don’t remember too many issues with getting over the initial ‘hump’.

The run was pretty good. It was definitely fast although it is amazing how quickly you become accustomed to the speed. The leeward pod was flying high and I couldn’t get it down as the adjustment was at its limits. It was a good run… but not a great run. When the RIB pulled alongside and escorted me into the beach I quickly lifted the rear hatch and checked the numbers… 63.17 peak and 58. 4 something average. No good. I tried to radio the group of people making the long walk down and tell them not to bother as we were going to turn around and make another run ASAP. The radios weren’t working for some reason. More electronics had bitten the dust. Only the ICOM M-71 radios seem to handle it out there (no we aren’t sponsored… that’s how it is). Ben came down to film and I was pretty sharp with them for not monitoring the radio. ‘Breathe it out and turn it off’ Lars… calm down, make everyone feel cool and move on. This was not the run we wanted… but it did serve to remove any nerves we might have had. VSR2 had sailed beautifully and was handling the day easily. I was confident I could sail her full noise. We were into the day now and focused on simply getting it right. We returned to the top of the course and got set up for Run 2. This one did not start so well. It was messy. The leeward float sunk and the wing extension dug into a wave. I need to fully stall the craft in order to get it to bear away from the wind. I oversheet the wing to windward to force this. Sort of like backwinding a head sail or pulling the mainsheet traveller fully to windward. In this full stalled state the boat rolls hard to leeward like a conventional craft. In strong conditions and the larger waves that accompany them… this becomes a problem. I managed to pop the leeward float up by sheeting the wing out and getting the flow attached, the trouble with this is that it rounds the boat up towards the wind as the drive vector point way aft of the main foil. I had full left lock dialled on with the small rudder in order to stop us going head to wind. This is one of VSR2’s weak points at low speed. She continued to slowly turn into the wind and I sheeted the wing back in to try and prevent it. The boat accelerated onto the plane in this state. She continued to pick up speed heading at a tight angle towards the beach. The rudder was on full lock for a bear away which meant it was fully stalled and hence fully side ventilated. I sheeted on harder to help it come away but it wasn’t happening fast enough. The beach was close and the only thing to do was to ease the wing a little and dial the rudder quickly straight to get flow attached. This had the initial effect of turning us back in towards the beach. we were probably doing around 30-35 knots. The flow attached but we were getting into shallow water. I was strangely calm about it. I sheeted in again and turned hard away down the beach. The turn was too quick and the apparent wind struggled to come around with me i.e. I did not really accelerate into the turn down wind. The wing stalled. I checked the swirling leeward tell-tales. VSR2 began to de-accelerate so I eased the wing again to attach flow. I also turned her a little more in towards the beach. She slowly got hooked in and then BAM… she was off again.

She accelerated straight up to over 61 knots but I knew it was a dud run. Only 54. something average. Everyone commented about how close in I had come at the start. On reflection it was a bit marginal but on the other hand also a sign that I was comfortable with handling the boat in tight situations.
Now I was bloody minded and set to take from this day what we had come for.
We went back up for Run 3. Ben and Alex were their usual fast and efficient selves. The three of us can basically rig and run this boat. Wally was holding the bow and ready to be an extra set of hands if we needed them.
The day felt stronger. I called Helena on the now returned comms and got another wind check. She assured me that the peak gust was still only 31 knots but that the wind was now pegged pretty solid in the middle high 20’s. She called out a long string of numbers off the TACKTICK weather station, 27, 28, 28, 28 , 29, 29 , 29, 28, 28, 27, 28 etc. This was it. The course looked great and things were perfect. I didn’t want to have to do another run.
The release from the RIB was the worst yet. VSR2 stuffed the leeward wing in hard. The whole thing was out of sight underwater. The leeward pod was well under and even the beam end was in the water. I waited for something to break.

 

THE LEEWARD SIDE OF THE BOAT IS WAY DOWN HERE AND I’M SERIOUSLY CONCERNED THAT WE HAVE BLOWN IT. WAITING FOR SOMETHING TO BREAK. IT DIDN’T.”

For more information on Paul Larsen and Sailrocket 2 click HERE

See Video of Paul smashing the record HERE

 

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60 Plus run 2 (Photo courtesy of VESTAS Sailrocket 2)

60 Plus run 2 (Photo courtesy of VESTAS Sailrocket 2)

Paul Larsen and the VESTAS Sailrocket 2 Team have pulled off the the amazing.  On Saturday in Walvis Bay, Namibia they broke their own record.

He is an excerpt from Paul’s blog in his own words and photos the team reaction.

 

Fresh off the TRIMBLE… 68.01 over 1 second, 65.45 over 500 meters.

I’ll let the pictures tell the story. The triple rum and cokes are already hitting the mark.

MALCOLM AND GEORGE WATCHING THE BEAST DO ITS STUFF.

POD HIGH AND SMOKING…60+ RUN 2

BERNT WITH HIS GOPRO PLANE. THE FOOTAGE IS AMAZING. THIS GUY HAS SKILLS. BLOODY WELL DONE IN 30 KNOTS OF WIND.

I SAVED THE BIG REVEAL UNTIL I GOT THE BOAT BACK UP TO THE TIMING HUT. WALKING BACK UP WITH THE NUMBERS AND MALC.

I WROTE THE NUMBERS BACKWARDS IN THE SAND. THIS WAS THE MOMENT.

MALCOLM AND I. WE STARTED THIS GIG 11 YEARS EARLIER.

YEAH… PRETTY HAPPY WITH THAT.

GEORGIE BOY IS PRETTY HAPPY TOO.

SELF EXPLANATORY REALLY…

 

BRINGING THE BEAST BACK HOME IN ONE PIECE.

 

We are absolutely over the moon with todays performance. I’ll leave it at that. Tomorrow is already written off. So cool, so damned cool.

THANKYOU VESTAS FOR BACKING US ALL THE WAY.

That’s it. Job done!”

 

A job very well done! Congratulations to Paul Larsen and the VESTAS Sailrocket team for once again stretching the envelope.