The world record for sailing speed has remained unchanged for more than eight years. Two rival teams are now trying to change that by building the fastest sailboat ever.
Two teams, one in France and the other in Switzerland, are in total fight to break the record of 65.45 knots, or 121 kilometers per hour. Note: In this attempt, two brothers lead rival teams.
Marseille-based marine technology company Syroco is currently working with Thomas Gaudiot on a modern sailboat capable of breaking the limit of 80 knots, or 150 kilometers per hour. The design is intriguing to say the least: a six-meter-long fish-shaped capsule that’s pulled by a kite.
The ship also does not sail on the water like a conventional boat, but rather floats over the water using so-called foil – this is a wing construction attached to an underwater keel that lifts the boat up.
A few hundred kilometers away, in Switzerland, another team with Benoit Gaudiot is building a worthy competitor. Since 2019, three graduates of the Swiss Technical School Fédérale de Lausanne have been working on the SP80, which has a similar capsule and kite.
Unlike the Syroco craft, the SP80 is not raised above water and has two hulls on both sides that help maintain its stability at high speeds. The goal, however, is the same: to go faster than 150 kilometers per hour.
That the two teams know each other is the very least. Benoit Gaudiot is the brother of Syroco engineer Thomas Gaudiot.
“There is some rivalry to beat the record, but I think that competition is also a catalyst for both teams,” Van den Broek adds. “It will also help us get the message there, and raise awareness of what we’re trying to do here.”
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