Speed record : Macquarie Innovation’s November campaign summary ends at 43.26 knots

Mots-clés : #sailingrecord

Our final World Sailing Speed Record   Attempt for 2002 is now complete. It finished with a best run of 43.26 knots in an average of 15 – 17 knots of wind.

Unfortunately, the light wind regime that had plagued us during our February campaign, continued to create problems during our November trials. In fact, only six 500m runs were completed for the entire 28 day period, evidence of the unusually poor conditions for that time of year.

However, we departed Sandy Point feeling very confident that Macquarie Innovation is now ready to become the first boat in history to sail beyond 50 knots.

This confidence peeked during the last half hour prior to nightfall on our last allocated day, when Macquarie Innovation completed the 500m course with an average speed of 43.26 knots. Wind speeds were again less than ideal averaging 15-17 knots but with extremes being from 12 – 23 knots.

A peak speed of 47.58 kts was reached just prior to finishing the run. This performance was again, right on the predicted speed for the boat and sail configuration that we were using. All this indicates that we have in practise, a craft that will break the 50 knot barrier when we receive the 18 – 20 knot winds that we require.

Frustrating weather aside, the final attempt period for 2002 was an outstanding success. Macquarie Innovation is now in a fully tested configuration and just awaiting the required record   setting conditions.

During the year, the team has put in a lot of work on two “information gathering” systems. We have been able to produce a bank of 4 remote anemometers that send real time information on wind strength and direction direct to the cockpit. This information has been especially vital in determining the best time to commence a run in such marginal conditions as those experienced during our recent attempt. Each anemometer sends their individual “packets” of information to a central receiver connected to a laptop temporarily situated on Macquarie Innovation. The laptop displays the four traces in real time after they are processed by the custom software. Histories of the prior 5 minutes of strength and direction are also graphically displayed.

Since our previous campaign, further research has continued into the validity of an official GPS timing system. We have been receiving excellent data from the Trimble 5700 receiver mounted on the boat that is then post processed against “corrected” data gathered at the system’s base station. We believe that this system will be the next step for future record attempts. It is more accurate (at least 10 times) and more reliable than the current approved video timing method.

The Future

We are more determined than ever to complete what has been described within the team as “unfinished business”. We are confident that the team and craft are fully prepared and it is just a matter of selecting the next most suitable weather window. Discussions amongst the team will occur early in the New Year, so watch this space for the announcement of our next attempt period.

The team would like to take this opportunity to thank all the well wishers who have contacted us during the year. The support has been overwhelming and certainly has encouraged the team to push on to their final goal – the 50 knot barrier.

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