LONDON - Australian Paul Larsen has claimed a new sailing speed record, skimming a custom-built craft through African waters.
In calm Namibian conditions, Victorian-born Larsen, 42, on Sunday achieved an average 59.39 knots over 500 metres, overtaking the previous 55.65-knot record set in 2010 by a kite surfer.
A World Sailing Speed Record Council representative was on hand at Walvis Bay, where Larsen repeatedly broke the world record over a number of days, culminating in Sunday's fastest attempt.
"On the day it was so calm we were wondering if it was even worth going out, but in this craft speed is determined by power versus drag and on this occasion it just all came together," an overjoyed Larsen told AAP by phone from Namibia.
Sailing the second incarnation of his 40-foot-long and 40-foot-wide carbon fibre Vestas Sailrocket, Larsen said the record comes after a decade of attempts, inspired by a childhood fascination.