World sailing

SP80 spaceship-like boat designed to break the world sailing speed record at over 90 mph

Revealed: The final design of a boat designed to break the world sailing speed record at over 90 mph powered only by the wind

  • The SP80 craft was built with the aim of navigating the record books
  • Its aim is to reach a top speed of 80 knots (about 92 mph) powered only by the wind
  • It has been under construction since summer 2021 before the design is revealed
  • The boat will be launched next year with record attempts planned for 2023

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

The spaceship-like SP80 craft was built with the aim of cruising the record books, boasting a top speed of 80 knots (about 92 mph) with just wind as its sole power source.

Switzerland-based SP80 described the boat as a sea rocket and said it plans to officially launch it later this year.

The first record attempts are scheduled for the summer of 2023 in the south of France.

The final design of the boat designed to break the world sailing speed record has been revealed

The spaceship-like SP80 craft was built with the aim of cruising the record books, with a top speed of 80 knots (around 92 mph) powered by wind as its sole power source.

The spaceship-like SP80 craft was built with the aim of cruising the record books, with a top speed of 80 knots (around 92 mph) powered by wind as its sole power source.

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 accommodate two pilots – one to fly the kite while the other steers the boat.

It’s been under construction since the summer of 2021, with this sleek, futuristic shape emerging as the final version.

It was designed by a team of engineers and students from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) who combined sailing, kitesurfing and engineering principles.

Benoit Gaudiot, co-founder and pilot, said: “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.

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 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 SP80 was designed by a team of engineers and students from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) who combined sailing, kiteboarding and engineering principles

The SP80 was designed by a team of engineers and students from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) who combined sailing, kiteboarding and engineering principles

The boat is named after the famous Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille due to a sponsorship agreement

The boat is named after the famous Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille due to a sponsorship agreement

“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.

“On the other hand, 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.

The SP80 boat is being assembled at renowned Italian shipyard Persico Marine, with the main hull expected to arrive at SP80’s headquarters in Renens, Switzerland in April.

The boat is named after the famous Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille due to a sponsorship agreement.