Sea Rocket: the SP80 boat aiming to break the world sailing speed record
Image credit: Cover Images
The final design of a boat aiming to break the world sailing speed record has been revealed.
The SP80 craft has been built for the record books, designed for a top speed of 80 knots (about 90mph, 150km/h) with only the wind as its source of power.
Switzerland-based SP80 described the boat as a ‘sea rocket’, and says it plans to officially launch it at the end of this year. The project is sponsored by Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille.
Under construction since the summer of 2021 at Italian shipyard Persico Marine, the SP80 has been designed by a team of engineers and students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne who have combined sailing, kitesurfing and engineering principles.
The boat will be bigger than the initial concept – ten metres long and seven metres wide – but will still be towed across the waves by a giant kite. The cockpit will have room for two pilots – one to pilot the kite while the other steers the boat.
Benoit Gaudiot, co-founder and pilot, says: “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. At 150 km/h, 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.”
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