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MI breaks 50 knots


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macquarie.jpg_sml.jpg Australia’s Macquarie Innovation last night made world speed sailing history when it powered down the 500m Sandy Point course at an average speed of 50.43 knots. In winds of only 24 knots, Macquarie Innovation reached a maximum speed of 54.23 knots (100km/hr) and became the first sailing boat in the world to complete an official 500m run in excess of 50 knots.

The record claim by the Macquarie Speed Sailing Team is now being prepared for ratification by the sport’s governing body and while the final acknowledged speed is expected to be reduced to 50.08 knots ** due to tidal variances experienced along the course, the claim realizes the team’s long term goal to sail their craft beyond 50 knots – sailing’s equivalent of the 4 minute mile for running.

Well done guys, good to see they are going to stick around and try to increase the record. They have been hitting + 50 knots for a while now but just needed to lay down a solid run with a good start.

Imagine what they could do if they had a longer runway to work with.

Vid below

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  • 2 weeks later...

From Sheep Stations on SA


Hope the boys are OK

Two weeks ago, Macquarie Innovation became the first boat to officially break the 50knot speed barrier over a timed 500m course with a run of 50.18knots. Congratulations to Simon McKeon and Tim Daddo after 15 years of blood, sweat and tears to finally achieve the holy grail of speed sailing - 50 knots.

This all happened at Sandy Point, Australia where the prevailing south-westerly blows off Bass Strait, over a narrow low-lying sand spit and onto a magnificent shallow inlet in a setup tailor made for speed sailing.

Simon, when not setting or breaking world speed sailing records, is just another yachtie down at our local club on Port Phillip Bay who gets around on his A Class on a Saturday afternoon. Bumping into him yesterday down the club, happened to mention I'd love to come down and watch their next attempt at going for the all-time speed record held by a French kitesurfer. Turns out the weather gods were smiling and that attempt was on for today! My son and I high-tailed it down to Sandy Point around midday to watch the beast that is Macquarie Innovation go at it.

We arrived to see a very well oiled support team prepare the boat and get everything set for the first run of the day around 2pm. We walked a kilometre down the beach to watch and stood just back from the waters edge. It was blowing dead offshore with a steady 20-22knots we reckon, (I'd like to get the official windspeed but this would be around the mark) with hardly a ripple on the water where MI was to sail over. In the distance, we saw MI leave the shore, bear off and start to gather speed. She sails a course with the crew's pod tracking the shoreline just metres from dry land. At about 500 metres out from where we were, she bears off a little more finding an optimum angle along the slightly curving shoreline and explodes with speed. In seconds, she thunders past, close enough we could have high-fived the crew if it wasn't for the thought of losing a hand in the process. Think of standing on the edge of a freeway and having a car come past at 100kph to get some idea of the speeds involved. Totally ballistic and beyond comprehension of what we normally associate with sailing.

That was Speed Run One. Won't know the speed until the Simon and Tim download the data this evening but the rule of thumb is when the crew pod leaves the water, they are doing 40+ knots. The pod was out of the water a lot!

Speed Run Two got underway about an hour later after the boat was towed back to is starting point and the 30 knot bullets that had started to come through had eased. We walked back up the beach to our vantage point which was about half way along the official course marked out for the day. I reckon it was blowing harder than during the first run - let's call it 25 knots. We watched MI peel off from the beach and rocket towards us. It's a magnificent "silent but deadly" chattering noise she makes over the water and whips past us. Disappearing into the near distance, I see the pod rise higher than I've seen before, maybe 2 meters off the water. Fair chance MI has been hit by a stray 30knot bullet. The pod crashes back into the water in a cascade of spray. I reckon at this point S&T are having a brown trousers moment on board. After "landing" the pod, MI starts to bear off, away from its normal course parallel to the shoreline and steers toward the middle of the inlet. I think this can't be good - pretty sure she is not designed to sail downwind. Sure enough as MI starts broad reaching, she trip over herself in one helluva a cartwheel. Lord know what speed she was doing when this happened but if I was Simon and Tim, I'd be adding a request to the World Sailing Speed Record Council to add into the record books an entry for the "Fastest Capsize / Cartwheel Performed by a Boat in Sailing History".

NB We didn't see MI after she was towed back to shore but from a distance looked in pretty good shape still once she was righted. Hope the damage was minimal and the guys live to fight another day.

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