England

Paul Larsen claims new speed record on Sailrocket 2

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Media captionSkipper Paul Larsen said he was "buzzing"

A sailor and his crew claim to have set a new sailing speed record after almost 10 years of trying.

Weymouth-based Paul Larsen sailed at an average speed of just over 59 knots - with a peak speed of 63.5 knots - on a 500m run at Walvis Bay in Namibia.

He said the team had "smashed" the previous 51.36 knot-average record. The new mark is yet to be verified by the World Sailing Speed Records Council.

The Vestas Sailrocket 2 (VSR2) boat was built on the Isle of Wight.

'Beautiful moment'

Mr Larsen said: "I'm buzzing and I know it is just going to get better. I will have this for life now.

"It brings a tear to my eye and it's a beautiful moment."

Mr Larsen said it had taken nearly a decade to break the record and said "none of the lessons along the way came easy".

The Sailrocket was designed and built especially for the record attempt and many modifications had to be made.

The bay location on Nambia's Skeleton Coast was chosen as it is a famous speed sailing spot with flat water and strong winds.

Mr Larsen said: "We've had to break the boundaries of sailing - like the equivalent of our sound barrier - just over 50 knots.

"We just kept hitting this glass ceiling and the other day we just smashed through it and we just went supersonic."

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