World sailing

Sea Rocket: the SP80 boat aims to break the world sailing speed record

The final design of a boat aiming to break the world sailing speed record has been revealed.

The SP80 craft was built for the record books, designed for a top speed of 80 knots (about 90 mph, 150 km/h) with nothing but wind as the power source.

Switzerland-based SP80 described the boat as a “sea rocket” and said 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 the Italian shipyard Persico Marine, the SP80 was designed by a team of engineers and students from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne who combined sailing, kitesurfing and engineering principles.

The boat will be larger than the initial concept – ten meters long and seven meters wide – but will still be towed through the waves by a giant kite. The cockpit will have room for two pilots – one to fly 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 safely accelerate up to 80 knots. At 150 km/h, it is essential to concentrate on a task. We will thus have a pilot at the controls of the kite, while a co-pilot will ensure the trajectory of the boat. However, at low speed, that is to say around 30 knots, the boat can sail alone, which will allow us to welcome passengers on board to experience something extraordinary.

A pilot will steer the kite while the co-pilot will control the trajectory of the boat

Image credit: cover images


The SP80 machine

The SP80 boat was designed by a team of engineers and students from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Image credit: cover images


The team combined sailing, kitesurfing and engineering principles to create the boat

The team combined sailing, kiteboarding and engineering principles to create the boat

Image credit: cover images


carbon composite material

Technical partner NTPT supplies the same carbon composite material for the structure that it supplies for the watch cases of sponsor Richard Mille

Image credit: cover images


    The SP80 headquarters in Renens

The boat is being assembled at the Italian shipyard Persico Marine. The main hull arrived at SP80 headquarters in Renens, Switzerland in April

Image credit: cover images

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