SP80 aims to have the fastest sailboat in the world next year. See photos of the futuristic craft poised to break records. – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

SP80 aims to have the fastest sailboat in the world next year. See photos of the futuristic craft poised to break records.

The SP80 boat

Courtesy of SP80

Company SP80 is trying to break the world record for the fastest sailboat.The fastest sailboat speed is currently 65.45 knots — SP80 is gunning for 80 knots, or 92 mph.The SP80 boat was displayed at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show.

With its slender frame, white exterior, and extraterrestrial vibe, SP80 is looking to break the record for the world’s fastest sailboat.

Although the SP80 boat, displayed “ready-to-sail” for the first time this year’s Monaco Yacht Show, looks like it would be powered by rocket fuel, a giant kite pulls the vessel along with the wind, Laura Manon, a spokesperson for SP80, told Insider.

A rendering of the SP80 boat being pulled by a kite

Courtesy of SP80

“We talked to hundreds of people over the week, and they were all amazed that it was a sailboat with no engine on board,” Manon said of the yacht show.

Manon continued: “People in Monaco said it looked more like a submarine or an airplane, and someone even thought it was a drone!”

The French company, started by pals Mayeul van den Broek, Xavier Lepercq, and Benoit Gaudiot in 2018, hopes to use its analog tech to reach 80 knots, or 92 mph, and shatter the 65.45-knot record held by Paul Larsen and his Vestas Sailrocket 2.

Luxury watchmaker Richard Millie, known for its collaborations with Formula 1, became SP80’s title partner to support the venture.

However, despite the team’s four-year investment in the project, the boat itself is still in early testing phases. The boat touched water for the first time in early August at Lake Geneva and could withstand being pulled by a speedboat at 30 knots, per a press release on the site — still a far cry from the 80 knots the team is looking to hit.

The SP80 boat is 34 feet long, 25 feet wide, and weighs about 330 pounds, per the company’s site. In the front is a cockpit for two: One pilot controls the kite, while the other steers the boat. The carbon fiber build is reinforced with Kevlar for added protection in case of a collision, and pilots are strapped down and given helmets and emergency oxygen masks.

The SP80 appears ready to blast off; however, every detail of the boat is designed to ensure it doesn’t actually fly.

“At the very high speeds we are targeting, we don’t want to fly but to stay really flat on water, kind of like Formula 1,” Manon told Insider.

Underneath the boat is a uniquely slanted hydrofoil, built to keep the vessel in the water as the attached kite pulls it to top speeds.

“The boat has three contact points with the water: the main hull and two side floats. At the rear the power module constantly aligns the kite’s ascending force, which pulls the boat up, with the foil force that pulls it down,” Mayeul van den Broek, CEO of SP80, explains in the video.

An aerial view of the SP80 boat at the Monaco Yacht Show

Courtesy of SP80

As for what’s next for the team, the company says the boat is headed to the south of France for further testing as they race for the world record — which they hope to attempt in 2024.

Manon said the team will attach a smaller kite, allow the pilots to start feeling comfortable with the vessel, and gradually increase the speed using larger kites. The goal, Manon said, is to first break the 65 knot record and “then to continuously accelerate until 80 knots.”

Read the original article on Business Insider
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