The SP80 and Syroco teams have really cool boats that look like alien spaceships. Instead of regular sails, they use super-fast kites to go incredibly fast.
The fastest sailing speed record has been the same for over ten years at 75.23 miles per hour (121.06 kilometers per hour). It was set by Paul Larsen in 2012. The reason no one has gone faster is because traditional sails on masts can tip the boat over when it’s really windy.
But now, the SP80 and Syroco teams want to break that record by reaching 93 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour). They are using huge kites attached to the boats with strong lines to avoid tipping over. Both teams have made a lot of progress since we first heard about them in 2021.
The SP80 boat is sleek and looks like something from a sci-fi movie. It’s a 34.4-foot-long boat that can fit two people. One person controls the kite, and the other steers the boat. The design keeps the boat’s three hulls in the water to prevent it from flipping over.
The SP80 team tested the boat on Lake Geneva and achieved a speed of 30 knots while being pulled by another boat. Now they’re working on getting the sail part ready and plan to increase the size, power, and speed over time.
Syroco’s boat is quite different. It’s more like a kite on a string connected to a hydrofoil wing in the water. The boat itself hovers a few meters above the water as it sails. This is unique because most hydrofoil boats have a solid connection between the hull and the foil.
Hydrofoil boats are usually limited to around 62 miles per hour because of a process called cavitation. It’s when the hydrofoil wing creates pressure differences that cause water to vaporize and create drag. Syroco has a plan to overcome this limit, but it’s quite unconventional.
Both teams are testing and improving their designs, and it’s exciting to see how far they can push the boundaries of boat speed. Having two innovative teams going for the speed record is a lot of fun!