Sunday, February 22, 2009

VESTAS SAILROCKET World Record Attempt 2... Run 1

The wind was building to 20 knots as we hit the top of the course. I didn't want to do a high 40's run straight off in case something was amiss. I decided to only sheet the wing in to around a mild 18-20 degrees instead of the 'full-bore' 10 degrees... and not pull on the main flap. If all went well then I would sheet in a little harder towards the end of the run.

It was great to be back in the cockpit on such a glamorous day. VESTAS SAILROCKET felt just as sweet as I remember. The start up was easy and the speed came quickly.

I spent most of the run monitoring the rudder angle to make sure it was in the 'fine' band giving fractional inputs rather than the 'coarse' band which can easily upset the boat by either sending it into a round-up to windward or unloading the front end in a bear away (it reduces the angle of attack of the inclined foil which also reduces the 'down' component. This factored in the flip scenario). With the wing eased, the boat will tend to want to turn towards the beach more than usual. When everything looked and felt fine I sheeted in to around 14 degrees and noted that the rudder trim approached zero i.e. the middle of the 'fine-trim' band. The time spent in setting the boat up had been vindicated as it shows how well we are coming to understand the whole boat in theory, set-up and sailing.

The front end felt firmly planted and the pod wasn't flying... but then it doesn't get light until over 42-3 knots. All in all it was a pretty good run for the intended purpose.

The mean average wind speed was 19.18 knots, peak speed was around 41.4 knots with a 500 meter average of 38.62 knots.

It would have been better to have slightly less wind so that I could have sheeted everything into their proper angles without going ballistic.

Despite doing a clean run, we headed back to the shore to digest all the information and double check that everything was as it appeared. So far so good.

The recent rains had caused some of the normally dry river beds to run. The local waterboard seems to think its clever to put all the bore pumps in the middle of the river beds. When the rivers run... all the pumps get washed away... and the town runs out of water. So no water for the past four days... or even for the next week or two apparently. I would hate to be running a restaurant or hotel.

So this is the most complete team we have ever had down here. It's really good to also have access to off-site team members like George and Richy to help digest the pile of data we get after each run. The project as a whole is really powering into this final push to the summit. I hope the summit really is as close as it feels.

Cheers, Paul.
This is the video from the last time they tried breaking the record. Fast foward to 3 minutes 50 seconds...