Friday, December 5, 2008

Lift off... Sailrocket

Excerpt form Pauls Blog @

The wind was gusting to 25 on the second start indicating an average of around 22-23 knots... no more. I did an even flatter start up procedure focusing on getting the wing into 10 degrees as soon as she accelerated... and bloody hell... did she accelerate. apparently she pulled 0.35 G's all the way up to 52 knots before the nose lifted. I expected her to step sideways as before but not this time. The nose floated higher... and then it went quiet... I was flying. i waited for some sort of touchdown... somewhere... but it didn't come. the nose just kept going up until I was lookin vertically up at it! There was no rolling and I was just a passenger. It was still quiet... and strangely dry as we continued the loop. I sort of knew I was inverted. It all seemed to take so long. I consciously thought "righto boy, when this thing smacks down... get the hell out of it because you're gonna be upside down"!!! I smacked down hard. Like someone big had full palm slapped my helmet with all their might. I was out of that boat in an instant. I was a bit beat up and bruised... but alright. I lay on the upturned hull and got my head together. My helmet was broken but I dragged the mic. over to let everyone know I was OK. Damnit!

We had been in similar, although less spectacular predicaments before. I assessed the damage and warned the support RIB crew not to make it any worse as sometimes it isn't as bad as it seems. The platform looked oddly intact... but the wing had had a hard time.

Slowly we dragged the sorry pieces back to the shore where a heap of local wind and kite surfers helped us to sort it out. we left the wing on the shore where it still sits as I type this... and brought the boat back. We were all pretty happy when we removed the TRIMBLE GPS and saw it happily blinking away despite complete immersion for some time. This meant our data was safe from the previous record run. I was worried we might have lost it... - Paul