Going faster than the fastest

Published on April 14th, 2022

The final design of a boat designed to break the World Sailing Speed Record has been revealed, with the spaceship-like SP80 craft built with the aim of a top speed of 80 knots. The Swiss project expects to launch at the end of this year.

The 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.

After a prototype was tested with dimensions 4.5 by 3.5 meters, the SP80 is ten metres long and seven metres wide and will be powered by a giant kite.

The cockpit will have room for two pilots – one to pilot the kite while the other steers the boat. It has been under construction since the summer of 2021, with this sleek, futuristic shape emerging as the final version.

It has been designed by a team of engineers and students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) who have combined sailing, kitesurfing, and engineering principles.

“Very early in our development phase, it was clear that being alone on board was not an option to accelerate safely up to 80 knots,” said Benoit Gaudiot, co-founder and pilot. “At that speed, it is essential to be focused on one task.

“We will thus have a pilot steering the kite, while a co-pilot will ensure the boat’s trajectory. However, at low speeds, that is around 30 knots, the boat can be sailed solo, which will allow us to welcome passengers onboard to experience something extraordinary.”

The SP80 boat is being assembled at the famed Italian shipyard Persico Marine, with the main hull expected to arrive in April at SP80’s headquarters in Renens, Switzerland. The boat has the name of renowned Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille emblazoned on it due to a sponsorship deal.

 

Source: yahoo!sport

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