In 1947, Chuck Yeager strapped himself into the experimental Bell X-1 “bullet with wings” and broke the sound barrier 8 miles above the Mojave Desert in Southern California. Paul Larsen sees himself as following squarely in Yeager’s footsteps. To become the fastest sailor in the world, he’s going to have to break through the nautical equivalent of the sound barrier—the so-called 50-knot barrier (about 57 miles per hour).
“(The SailRocket Mark 2) is 50 percent plane, 50 percent boat,” Larsen explains. “If for some reason she lost the keel at speed,” Larsen explains, “than she really would be a plane, wouldn’t she?” The prototype version of SailRocket, Mark 1, actually did take off into the air, and Larsen survived what may be the most spectacular crash in sailing history.
I love sailing and sailboats but I don’t think there’s enough money in the world to get me into this fragile looking thing as it does 60 knots.