On April 23rd, Sailrocket was officially launched in Southampton in the Itchen River at Woolston.
Sailrocket is a purpose built yacht built specifically to set a new world speed sailing record. It tips the scales at a mere 170kg thanks to its carbon fibre composite construction.
The design of Sailrocket is unique. Unlike conventional sail boats and yachts, the forces are aligned in such a way so that it has no tendency to tip over. This is achieved by setting the sail up to one side and is balanced by opposing forces from an underwater foil. The design is claimed to be more stable and capable of greater speeds than more conventional yachts.
Scale model testing has showed that the boat should be capable of speeds in excess of 50 knots, significantly above the existing record of 46.52 knots set in 1993 by Yellow Pages Endeavour. Furthermore, the weight distribution is exactly as predicted by the model and actual weight is within 1kg of the target weight.
With design and wind tunnel testing essentially complete, all that remains on water testing and fine tuning, (which will take place over the coming weeks) and of course, the record attempt!
Sailrocket was built by NEG Micon, a company more used to manufacturing massive composite turbine blades for wind generators.