Vestas are one of the worlds leading developers and manufacturers of wind turbines for whom Malcolm is a senior test engineer. They were the first to support us and to put it bluntly, we couldn't have done it without them. They gave us a better building space than we could have wished for and let us just get on with it. They let us use the perfect oven for pre-preg construction that they just happened to have out the back and they provided all the consumables for the build. If anyone has or is about to build a female moulded pre-preg boat… you will appreciate how much support this is. Support like this is truly priceless. With a 23 per cent market share in 2007, Vestas is the world leader in delivering Modern Energy. Vestas has already installed over 35,000 wind turbines in 63 countries on five continents and it is installing a new turbine every four hours. In 2007, Vestas turbines generated more than 60 million MWh - or enough electricity to supply millions of households. During the last 25 years, Vestas has improved the output of its turbines 100 times and is still continuously improving turbine effectiveness. This is why Vestas is No.1 in Modern Energy.
Gurit (formerly SP Systems) have been supporting us from the start with their range of composite materials from pre-preg. carbon to epoxy resins and bonding agents. When we presented them with the opportunity they had faith that we could build the world's fastest yacht and therefore it should be built with Gurit materials. Support has only been a phone call away and employees quite often dropped into the Woolston build site to see how things were going. A true ‘backbone’ sponsor. Malcolm worked closely with SP Technologies who provided a lot of technical support in developing the structure of Vestas SailRocket throughout the design period. Using their powerful computer modeling tools and experience, Vestas SailRocket has benefited by being able to get the most out of its carbon fibre construction.
Aerotrope is an engineering consultancy for wind turbine blades, low-carbon vehicles and artworks. Their director Christopher Hornzee-Jones is the designer of the solid wing sails on both Vestas Sailrocket boats. He has been involved with the Sailrocket project since the beginning, as his accumulated expertise matched the need for a totally unique and practical solid sail.
For Vestas Sailrocket 2, Aerotrope also carried out the design of the hydrofoil and the complete platform as well as creating the simulations of the boat's performance (VPP), dynamic stability and control. The fine balance of these factors are critical to the success of the SailRocket concept, since the forces produced by the wing sail and foil at record speeds are several times larger than the weight of the boat.
Paul says: "We all learnt a huge amount from the first wing. It delivered the performance we asked for and proved itself to be incredibly robust. The wing we had at the end was the one we started with... and it had a hard life. For the second boat we asked Chris and his colleagues at Aerotrope to become more heavily involved with the design of the whole package. We used their expertise in structures and performance analysis to quantify our design options so we could make the right decisions on whether to include or exclude them. It's an ambitious project and Aerotrope has helped us keep it on a solidly engineered foundation throughout. Having him on board gave me confidence for when the big day came."
Ekspan are renowned for large scale mechanical/structural works and particularly bridge bearings. They are working closely with Vestas (and therefore Malcolm) in building test rigs for the massive wind-turbine blades. Seeing a 50 meter long blade tested to destruction is something else. Through Malcolm they have followed the project from the start and lent support at vital times and this support in the early stages of the project went a long way. Their support continues with their offer to fund aspects of the new wing-sail.
We first heard about PI RESEARCH when we were discussing setting up a more serious means of logging data off VESTAS SAILROCKET from each run. As brilliant as the TACKTICK gear is for it's intended purpose, we now needed a more complex system. PI were working in conjunction with B+G and we went from a very simple system to a rather more complex one. Putting sophisticated electronics in a rough, wet and salty environment is never easy... but the results from the first runs showed us that this was the way forward. We now literally have a 'black-box' flight recorder which logs data, powers the B+G sensors and LED displays for the cockpit. It also has it's own GPS is watertight and comes with a custom waterproof loom. The data off the Pi and B+G gear turned the 'lights on' as to what was really happening with the boat. Instantly some 'red-flags' began waving in regards to problem areas that we had previously been unaware of. The data and analysis equipment allows us to watch the graphs from all the sensors such as wind or wing angle, rudder angle and load etc and the onboard video, audio and shore based camera simultaneously on the one screen!!! It is a very powerful tool when you are trying to develop something as innovative as VESTAS SAILROCKET.
Rory Carter has also been a long term supporter of the project. His company Comptech manufactures structural composite tubing and has provided the mast spar, boom and support strut for the Soft rig on SailRocket. Comptech will also provide the main structural spar for the solid wingsail. When we broke our mast in half early on whilst static loading, Comptech were quick to provide the necessary pieces to get us on the water once again.
I met Andy Ashvie form Harken UK whilst walking the boards at the London Boat Show. He was initially skeptical but then went away and did his homework and came back to us with an offer of support. Vestas SailRocket is now fitted out exclusively with Harken hardware and it has been faultless. When up to speed this gear will be pushed to its limit because with up to 55 knots of wind coming from 20 degrees off ‘head-on’, low windage is a priority. Therefore it MUST be small and strong.
Marlow have supplied all the ropes for Vestas SailRocket from the control lines to the actual rigging itself. Initially a little reluctant to Vestas SailRocket ’s necessary terms, Marlow did eventually come onboard through our persistence in giving first bite to UK based companies. We are determined that Marlow be on the world’s fastest yacht.
An obvious choice of electrical equipment for Vestas SailRocket , there was no way that this gear wasn’t going to be onboard. For those of you not familiar with Tacktick, they provide instrumentation that needs no cables as it communicates using wireless technology and self charges an internal battery through a small solar panel built into the instrument. This makes it the lightest and simplest ‘marinised’ instruments you can get. It really is a pleasure to use and the data it provides is vital to evaluating what is really happening onboard during the short, sharp runs. Tacktick have provided a dual display and wind ‘wand’ so we can tell the wind speed down the course and display the boat speed off the Trimble GPS gear. It’s our goal to make this dual display read the highest number ever on a sailing vessel. That will be some photo for James Hewitt from Tacktick to hang on his wall.
Trimble are world leaders in GPS equipment. They have loaned the project some pretty amazing bits of kit which will greatly benefit the project and in fact, more than likely raise our ultimate recorded speed. Their state-of-the-art equipment is one of the only GPS units validated as a timing device for this record by the WSSRC (world Speed Sailing Record Council). This means that we no longer have to do the run between two fixed buoys over 500m but can simply look at the GPS data for the day and pick out the fastest 500 meters wherever it happened. This 5700 unit is way beyond the resources of our project but Trimble liked the challenge that the Vestas SailRocket project offered and came onboard. From trials carried out so far, the biggest inaccuracy was 12 MM!!!
As the whole business of speed sailing really became a business it became obvious that it was neither Malcolm nor my specialty. Perry and his team of Chartered Accountants were already known to Malcolm and had taken an interest in our endeavour. I guessed he was as interested to see if we could turn Sailrocket into a world record breaking craft as he was to see if we could actually turn it into a business! Baylissware have been helping us sort out our books for the past few years so that we could focus on the job at hand. The dream and the reality. We promised them a poster in return and it turned out to be a huge effort to deliver it... as we had to hit 40 knots first. Finally in November last year Baylissware got a poster to hang on their wall in Hampshire. Now they have to make room for a 50 knot pic. By the time we are done we hope they will need a bigger foyer!
Musto is the leading performance clothing brand specialising in technical sailing as well as sailing inspired lifestyle clothing. Originally founded in 1965, by Olympic Silver Medallist Keith Musto, the company has used its intimate understanding of sport and its technical skills to ensure wearers of all Musto products keep warm, dry and comfortable. Always seeking to push the boundaries of design and technology, Musto is committed to providing technical sailing clothing that guarantees optimum performance in all weather conditions. Musto offers support to a wide range of sailing projects from Skandia Team GBR, the British Sailing Team in the Olympic and Paralympic classes, to big offshore campaigns in the Vendée Globe and Volvo Ocean Race.
Flow Solutions are developers of the NEWPAN software used extensively by Aerotrope for the aerodynamic design of the Vestas Sailrocket 2 wing sail and later for the hydrodynamic design of the foil and rudder. Chris Burkett, a Principal at Flow Solutions, is a long-time friend and collaborator of Chris Hornzee-Jones with a shared addiction to speed.
Flow Solutions' expertise dovetails perfectly with this project - unlike a lot of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, their tools are focussed very much on fast, usable, practical fluid dynamic design.
NEWPAN already has a strong racing pedigree. It is being used by many of the leading Formula One motor racing teams, particularly for front and rear wing design. In the yacht racing world the software has been used to design foils and hulls for previous America's Cup boats and Steve Fiddes, the co-founder of Flow Solutions, has acted as consultant to a number of AC Challenges.