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SailRocket cavitation fighter gets ready to attack the Walvis Bay world speed sailing record

by gps4us news 2011-11-29 11:32


SailRocket Vestas record breaking design sail boatAn innovative speed boat stability design concepts foreseen and documented by Bernard Smith more than fifty years ago and having fundamental roots deep in the ancient sail boat craftsmanship history, in which the sail and keel elements are positioned so that there is virtually no overturning moment and no net vertical lift. When used with the latest technologies and materials 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. The current on the water world record is held by Rob Douglas, kite surfer from the US. It was set in Luderitz, Namibia late last year and stands at 55.65 knots (64 mph/103 kmh). The kite surfers are expected to make an effort to take the record even higher.

Conventional high speed foils, or rudders, have been used in high speed boat designs as they seem the only way to dramatically increase the speed of the marine vessel. Foils  begin to have 'issues' as the boat reaches high speed around 60 knots. These issues become unavoidable as at the high speed water turns to vapor due to the low pressure on one side of the foil. The phenomenon is also observed in the propeller designs and called cavitation. Cavitation is the cause of increased drag, vibration and quite often loss of stability with dramatic consequences for the vessel. To work around the cavitation problem high speed sail boat development team which have built the first SailRocket boat, introduced the ventilated foils for the next generation SailRocket 2 record breaking sail vessel to confirm the performance of ventilated foils and mark a significant step in the evolution of speed sailing.

SailRocket on the runReusing the best practices and fundamental ideas of speed yacht rudder stability improvement the new Vestas SailRocket 2 guided by Paul Larsen is designed to not only remain stable if the conventional foils fail at high speed but be capable of employing special foils that will be immune to the cavitation problem and hopefully take her beyond normal limits to the new world record highs. Designed and built from the ground up with a focus on speed, the sail boat and the VSR2 team have headed to Walvis Bay in Namibia with the aim of breaking the outright world speed sailing record for the short distance 500 meters.

SailRocket cavitation fighter

The SailRocket team continues to refine the Vestas sail boat on all fronts. One of the most important from the speed record measurement stand point is the GPS system which is fully compliant with the World Sailing Speed Record Council requirements and , at the same time is reliable, lightweight, rugged and waterproof to withstand the harsh conditions of the record setting runs. The team has chosen the Trimble GPS system as it has been checked to the accuracies required by the  World Sailing Speed Record Council. There are two sets of the GPS marine vessel speed measurement systems to time all runs of the speed sail boat. The first GPS speed measurement system is housed in a hermetically closed compartment in the centerboard case of the speed boat. The system is extremely accurate and requires post-processing. High precision reports take some extra time to post-process. The Trimble GPS speed data will be downloaded from the system to get the exact times with the accuracy required by the  World Sailing Speed Record Council. The WSSRC representaive will be validating the results of the runs. 

The team will be also using a simpler handheld GPS navigators to measure speed and provide a rough estimate between runs. Used together the complex and simple GPS systems offer number of advantages for the particular approach of the support team. The main one being that the team can simply pluck out the best 500 meter section from each run in attempt to break the speed record, and to conveniently get not only the best time between two fixed points, but most importantly the fastest averages of the day. In the preliminary runs the readings of the high precision on the water GPS system and simpler handheld GPS navigator receivers have delivered the immediate read of 45.7 knots, later on the download GPS system have read 45.85 knots whilst the Pi Research GPS system recorded 46.28 knots. 

GPS system to measure speed for SailRocket Nambia run

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