SP80: the Swiss team hopes to build the fastest sailboat


The SP80 was designed to try and set a new sailing speed record and become the fastest sailboat in the world. But can the team achieve their lofty goal?

SP80 was designed by three graduates of the Swiss engineering school, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; Benoît Gaudiot, Xavier Lepercq and Mayeul van den Broek.

As for the teams currently looking to set a new record (currently another team, Syrocco, is also developing a boat which he hopes will set new records), the SP80 The concept probably qualifies as a slightly more “normal” concept – as much as that claim can be made by referring to a unique boat aiming to be one of the fastest sailboats in the world.

The craft will use a pair of floats located on either side of the main cockpit to provide stability and is designed to skim the surface. In this respect, the concept is not so far from the current fastest sailboat in the world, Sailrocket 2which has also scratched the surface.

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Also similar to the Sailrocket concept is a large foil at the rear end of the craft that will support the lateral forces of the kite being used by the SP80 team. This sheet will be what they call super-ventilation – ventilation is different from cavitation as it refers to air being drawn in along the length of the sheet from the surface.

As the SP80 the foils break up the surface, they will manipulate that ventilated air in a way similar to that which Syrocco manipulates air created by cavitation pressure voids. Thus, the team has superventilated rather than supercavitating foils.

The SP80 prototype during testing on Lake Geneva. Photo: SP80

Another super-ventilated foil is at the bow, which will act as a rudder, while two other small foils are under each float to keep the boat skimming the surface.

A key element of the SP80 concept, and one where both he and Syrocco are similar, will be the rear kite control module. This module can pivot around the circular aft section of the hull and is attached to the main foil.

So as the kite increases in height the large tail foil rotates closer to being parallel to the surface of the water and as the kite gets closer to the water the tail foil turns. approach the vertical. Again, this is a system designed to counter the forces of the kite, maintaining a flat boat as the power increases.

the SP80 The team has already made and tested a prototype on Lake Geneva and also intends to be on the water and aim for a record in 2022.

Follow SP80’s progress on their website.

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