The SP80 firm, which is backed by Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille, unveiled its final boat design, nicknamed the “Sea Rocket,” last week on April 5. Engineers and students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) are attempting to break the world sailing speed record of 68.33 knots. Through a combination of sailing, kitesurfing, and engineering concepts, the team hopes to set a new record. The ultimate objective is to show “applications of a new set of instruments in rapid maritime transportation, offshore sailing, and energy generation.”
SP80, located in Switzerland, has been organizing a crucial step in the development of the “Sea Rocket” sailboat for the past six months. The boat, which resembles a spacecraft, is meant to achieve speeds of 80 knots (150 km/h) using just the wind as a source of propulsion. The Sea Rocket’s trimaran design utilizes a detachable kite instead of a standard sail. The boat will be bigger than the original proposal, measuring 10 meters long and seven meters broad, with a sleeker shape and stretched, aggressive lines for a more sturdy construction.
The cockpit can accommodate two people, with one piloting the kite and the other steering the boat. The regulation was established in the early development phase to provide optimal safety for pilots, according to co-founder and pilot Benoît Gaudiot.
“However, the boat can be sailed independently at modest speeds, approximately 30 knots,” Gaudiot explained, “allowing us to welcome visitors onboard to experience something spectacular!”
The cockpit has also been strengthened with Kevlar®, which can endure accelerations of up to 50G, to protect its occupants from probable carbon fragments in the event of a collision. The boat will go at 150 km/h on water, which is the same speed as a Formula 1 vehicle on land. As a result, the pilots will have helmets, bucket seats, and six-point harnesses. In the event that oxygen masks are required, they will be given, which is a first in the sailing world.
The “Sea Rocket” is being built by Persico Marine in Italy, and the main hull will arrive at SP80’s Switzerland facility in April. While the shipyard continues to build the beam and floats, the SP80 crew will take over and integrate all mechanical systems.
“2023 will be a key year, with the last preparations to break the 80 knots record and make sailing history,” Mayeul van den Broek, co-founder and project manager, said in a statement. We’re presently on the lookout for the last financial and technical partners to bring the journey to a close.” “The entire crew is ecstatic to see this concept come to life, and we can’t wait to show it off and put it to the test on the water!”
The sailboat’s final construction is expected to begin later this year, with the first world record attempts scheduled for Summer 2023 in the south of France. On 14 April at 6 p.m. (CEST), the three co-founders will be live on YouTube to answer questions about the SP80 and the World Sailing Speed Record.