Every sailor has a bucket of memories from breathtaking runs before the wind—that thrill of screaming downwind, spinnaker drawing hard and perfectly with a following sea and swells that grasp the boat and send it practically skiing down the face of the wave at eight knots, ten knots, twelve knots.
Well that ain’t nothin’!
Get ready to meet the fastest sailboat afloat—a boat so radical it can’t tack, it can’t jibe, and it certainly can’t raft up for cocktails.
Meet the Vestas Sailrocket 2: Length: 40 feet. Beam: 40 feet. Think skipper on one rail, sail on the other rail, and three foils in the water.
Last month, in Namibia’s Walvis Bay (see diagram below showing test run area), the Vestas Sailrocket team, lead by Australian skipper Paul Larsen and sponsored by the Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, shattered the World Sailing Speed Record Council’s B-class (150 to 235 sqft sail area) record.
And get this. (Are you sitting down?) Top speed: 67.74 knots! SIXTY-SEVEN POINT SEVENTY-FOUR KNOTS!
That translates into 77.9 mph. Heck, a Cessna 150 takes off 63 mph!
At that speed, you could easily nab a speeding ticket on the Maine Turnpike.
Sailing before the wind? Keep an eye astern for the Vestas Sailrocket 2 in the passing lane.