Messy finish... Merry Xmas Rob...

 I would rate today as a bad day in the speed sailing office.

It felt like there was simply no magic out there today and everything we did just seemed to make VSR2 go slower.

Walvis gave us some ideal conditions. We tried to get some good speeds out of the conventional sub cavitating foil but for some reason it would just dig itself a hole and fall into it. The back float wouldn't even clear the water on the first three runs. It was horrible and generally in the low 40's. The fences had failed to work and then we were committed to pitch settings. We tried to play around but things just got worse. I have no idea why. It all ended when the mainsheet got weirdly fouled during one of the start ups and I hit the bottom with the foil. It wasn't that hard... but hard enough to destroy the foil. Good riddance. We plugged the chopped down ventilated foil back in (with end plates added). Walvis really had given us the perfect day. This foil effortlessly pumped out yet another 50+ peak and a 48.8knot average. It was great to have VSR2 back into its right mode. The run felt fast... but not fast enough.

We did 5 runs today. 3 slow, 1 grounding and 1 moderately fast run. I'm not happy. I can't believe we didn't even achieve a 50 knot average throughout this record attempt. I really can't believe it. Well it wasn't for lack of trying... or pushing.

I'll summarise the whole session in the next couple of days. In the big picture we have made some great progress... but damn I thought we would drag one of those foils AT LEAST over 50 knots down the course... especially after hitting 54.4 knots before the attempt even started. Sigh.

These foils were just wrong. We will get them right.

Righto, well Merry xmas Rob Douglas, you get to spend it with your nice outright world record once again.

I'm going to the pub.

Cheers, Paul.



Team Sailrocket- Awesome

Team Sailrocket-

Awesome effort!

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present."

Merry Christmas to you all and good luck to you guys next year


Analysis of VSR2

I just posted my view on some of what VSR2 may have been experiencing on my sailing blog. Those of you interested link to High-Speed Sailing from this site.


For the brains trust- towards an explanation and a solution.

Assuming that the next foils will be produced by a committee, I would assume that they will be just smaller and stronger, but producing negligible progress towards breaking the 50 knot barrier.

1. Because ten times thrust is not available ventilated foils are not a good solution.
2. Because the foil cannot be surface skimming, just following the kiteboarder attempts will fail.
3. Because water cannot be compressed, generated vortices are a hundred times more powerful than the air equivalent and could be utilised. (The attempt to provide "clean water" for the main foil was futile).
4. The 54 knot peak was probably due to the damaged foil bending excessively (and efficiently) towards the rudder vortex cancellation area. The bad vibrations later experienced by the repaired (and stiffened) foil would have been produced by running it towards the side of this region.
5. Start by regarding the efficient use of vortex by bull trout and check experiments in vortex interaction (see ).
6. Ok i've run out of ideas, Best of luck with whatever you come up with. :)

I just heard a loud whooshing noise....

...reports coming in from around the world indicate that Rob Douglas has just exhaled! Local impacts includes significant tree damage.

Seriously, Paul, you've put speed sailing front and center in my mind, and it has been both an honor and a fascination to track your progress and your victories. I get the frustration from Wednesday's trials and errors, but if you ask me, you're ending the present attempt on a high-note: you've cut the cav-foil down to size, and you've destroyed the sub-cav foil. And you've got a boat that's still in excellent shape. That's the way to end the party!

Now I'm going to miss VSR2 in Walvis Bay, and the reports and twitters coming in. It's a fascinating business that you're in. I can't tell you how I look forward to your next efforts.

Happy Holidays to team VSR2, and safe travels! I'll raise a toast to team VSR2 this season!

Tim, Vermont

Congrats & thanks

What you do is extraordinary - thanks for sharing it with us. I found myself checking weather forecasts; refreshing twitter and cheering you on like a rugby team.

Next year we want Red Bull live web broadcasts; and women's beach volleyball - for those long waits, please.

It would be great to get more info on how the current foil was developed; and please keep us posted on your future foil developments.

And why can you only do this once a year - and why only in Walvis? (It regularly blows like hell here in the Cape.)

Have a wonderful holiday and a record breaking new year.

Merry Christmas

Hi all

I'm really sorry you couldn't quite get the foils to sing and blast through that record. But the boat is clearly capable and a brilliant platform. You have the horsepower and the control, so all the available brains and resources can be pointed towards finding an elegant foil solution. You will get there.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas and a lightning fast New Year!!

Well Done Guys!

Wow, What an amazing privilege to be kept so involved in what are truly ground breaking developments. Most guys wouldn't be brave enough to put their hopes and dreams out there for so many people to share - so be assured that there are many around the world who will be raising a glass to the Vestas Sailrocket team and the great stuff you have achieved. Even though you may not have broken the record..... this time - you have achieved so much and you should be proud of the advances you have made. The work you are doing and continue to do changes the face of sailing as we know it.
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
Well done team!
Cathy and Geoff

Well done Vestas Team

Hey Paul

If it was easy to break the current speed record everybody would be doing it.

Well done to the team regarding round one. I think sorting the boat out that it comes down to the correct foil design is a great achievement. And you left the boat in one piece as well..:)

Merry Xmas to you and your team. Can't wait to have a look at the foils the design guys will dream up.

Take care


second the watertub

Langley crashed into the Patomac and the Wright Brothers flew because they built a wind tunnel and ran their own numbers. If the world record is at fifty something, is the cav foil designed to "cruise" in the 60 70 or whatever range?


So near and yet so far - how frustrating must that be!
Is the foil symmetrical I wonder because in this application I can't see why it needs to be.
When I was doing some low-level research into windsurfing skegs, I read up about hydrofoils and the accepted wisdom then was that the best profile for that job was an ogive - flat on one side with a symmetrical curve on the other.

Worth a try??


that's ok ...

Maybe have this record is not exactly science ! Don't we say sometimes, the travel is the best part of the trip (the goal is not so important ??) (but it's sure that after, years, sponsors, efforts, etc ... it's give you the balls not to go higher !!). So you can drink a lot !!! before next time.
Tadeg, France

that's ok ...

Maybe have this record is not exactly science ! Don't we say sometimes, the travel is the best part of the trip (the goal is not so important ??) (but it's sure that after, years, sponsors, efforts, etc ... it's give you the balls not to go higher !!). So you can drink a lot !!! before next time.
Tadeg, France

Records are there because

Records are there because they are the ultimate best at that moment in time. It is not easy to best them. Ken Warby STILL holds the world powered water speed record set in 1977! Many have tried to best it over the years, yet it has not been beaten in all those years.
Breaking the sound barrier seemed impossible at one time, yet once through it, it looked easy. The fact that you are so near to the current record tells me that you are close, very close. I have the feeling that you will get there, and when you do you will look back and wonder why it took so long!
Never give up!


If there is wind tunnels for Formula 1 cars, there must be water tunnels for sailrockets.
Find yourself the right Lab and design the ultimate foil for record speeds and beyond :)
Cheers / Proost !


Amsterdam / The Netherlands.

50+ knot sea water test lab?

I have no idea if such a facility currently exists but if not then how about building a circular pool, and mount your test foils/ cameras/ and stress gauges on a rotating platform above it that will lower the foil into the water once at speed? Spinning the water in one direction while the platform rotates in the other around the largest pool available should minimize a lot of the non-foil generated forces involved.


Merry Christmas Rob


I am sure it will happen soon - like you say, let Rob enjoy his recorf this Xsmas as the one you will set up will take a long way to break, I am certain!

All the best for you and Helena, and also for all VSR2 team.

Cheers from Brazil,



Sorry to read the bad news, but the trip has been fun to follow, next time for sure.

-- Wink

Wed. 14th. five non delivering runs.

Mate! I wish that I was there to buy you a pint or three.I've come into the project late and am still trying to get up to speed with all the improvements on VSR1. Spent all last night reading the blogs to date and looking at the pics.The boat looks awesome! I know nothing about hydro dynamics and am going to sound stupid, but couldn't you induce cavitation by injecting air from a bottle on the side of the foil that requires it? I'm probably well off base but I'll take the flak!

All the best to you and Helena for Xmas, not forgetting the hard working team as well.

Cheers, Colin Merry.

WSSRC Rules state...

that record runs can not include any form of stored energy, including compressed air. Natural ventilation or forced ventilation through the foil design is perfectly acceptable.



Please drink a beer for me... and be sure, the day will arrive...

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