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How Paul Larsen piloted the fastest sailboat ever

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Vestas Paul Larsen
Vestas Paul Larsen

While many people may think of sailboating as a fairly tranquil activity, Paul Larsen has long equated sailboating with extreme speed. In Wired, Adam Fisher has profiled the Australian-born Larsen's search for the perfect speecboating runway, which he found off the coast of the small African country Namiba. This windswept coast is where Larsen has spent the last decade attempting to break the boating speed record — recently by piloting the Vestas SailRocket Mark 2, a craft that Larsen describes as "50 percent plane, 50 percent boat." If you've never heard about the world of high-speed boating, there are some technological and human feats in Fisher's piece that go far beyond what comes to mind when most of us think of boating — when Larsen and his team broke the outright world speed sailing record in November, the Vesta SailRocket Mark 2 was regularly going in excess of 60 knots.