Aug 11, 2008, 12:45 PM
Post #3 of 4
World speed record attempt: Day 1, Monday 11 August
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Today heralded the start of Wot Rocket’s first official attempt on the 500m world speed sailing record of 49.09 knots.
With a World Sailing Speed Record Council commissioner and surveyor present, Sean Langman and his new co-pilot, Joe De Kock, took to the waters of Botany Bay in a WSW breeze that peaked at 17 knots before Wot Rocket headed ashore at midday for further steering refinements.
This afternoon at the launch pad at Kurnell the main hull rudder is being enlarged and a small rudder that was being trialled on the pod is being removed after it created drag as well as an opening for salt water. With a team of experts on hand De Kock estimates they’ve got around six hours work ahead of them before tomorrow’s second bout.
If the morning temperatures of 7-10 degrees and biting westerlies weren’t enough to bring on the winter woes, sitting in water inside the pod proved a bit hard to swallow for the new co-pilot. De Kock has sailed over 100,000 nautical miles with Langman and is no stranger to harsh conditions but he struggled today inside the cold watery compartment.
“I was worried about getting frostbite,” he joked. “The point when my feet went numb was actually a blessing because then I couldn’t tell how cold they were.”
De Kock has been brought in to replace former co-pilot Martin Thompson. A highly experienced 18 foot skiff, 49er and offshore sailor, De Kock also is the yard manager at Langman’s Noakes site at Newcastle, where Wot Rocket’s hull and wing sail were built, and has been involved in the project from the outset.
Tomorrow’s forecast is for W/SW 15-20 knots easing to SW-S/10-12 on Wednesday, although Wednesday’s models disagree at this stage with some showing WSW 28-25 knots all day. Thursday’s forecast is looking favourable with WSW 17-24 knots winds on the cards ahead of another promising day on Friday.
Given the likelihood it would coincide with the sort of weather window traditionally offered up in August, the Aussies nominated this week for their assault on the world speed sailing record. So far they’ve hit the mark.
The first round of attempts will go through until this Sunday, 17 August. If Wot Rocket fails to make its mark within the seven day window Langman and his team will be back after Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - and hungrier than ever.
Wot Rocket sponsors Noakes Boat & Shipyards and Graeme Wood, founder of Australasia's number one accommodation website Wotif.com, Nexus, Warringah Plastics, Harken, Gurit Australia and Superyachting.
NB to Sydney media: A media boat is available each day from Monday 11 through to Sunday 17 August. Each morning by 7.30am a decision will be made on whether Wot Rocket will sail that day, and the pilot will advise on the likelihood of the conditions favouring a record attempt. If you would like to be updated throughout the week and haven’t already notified Lisa, please email her. At this stage Thursday and Friday appear the days best suited to the record challenge.