Seeking to raise the fastest sailing speed
Published on November 19th, 2019
Three young engineers from the Swiss engineering school EPFL have formed a team to design the fastest sailboat over a 500m track and enter sailing history. Passionate about sailing, kitesurfing and speed, they have launched SP80 with a goal to break the world sailing speed record in 2022.
This speed record is currently held by Australian Paul Larsen and his Vestas Sailrocket 2, posting an average speed of 65.45 knots on the 500m track. Setting the standard in November 2012, the 40-foot wing-powered craft represented 11 years work, with some spectacular failures along the way.
The 500m record is considered the standard for which to measure the fastest sailing speed, with Larsen’s time set in the flat water of Walvis Bay in Namibia. However, the vision of SP80 is to go much further by achieving 80 knots using a boat with shaped hulls, propelled by a kite wing while the overall stability is reached thanks to super ventilating hydrofoils.
This project is support by the Swiss engineering school EPFL and then follows the steps of the famous Hydroptère, which was developed in collaboration with the university from 2006 to 2009. That 60-foot foiling trimaran showed promise to set offshore records before funding ran out.