What you see here is the final boat design revealed by Swiss boat builder SP80 and it looks like a sleeker version of the iconic SR-71 Blackbird jet. Well, you see, there are quite a few similarities. In addition to the tandem seating arrangement and its overall shape, the SP80-designed sailboat is in contention for a world speed record just like the Lockheed jet which still holds the record for the fastest aerobically manned aircraft. The Richard Mille-sponsored SP80 project has a target speed of 80 knots (92 mph), which will comfortably exceed the current record of 68.33 knots (79 mph). Described as a sea rocket by SP80, the ship is powered solely by the wind using a kite.
SP80, based in Switzerland, explained that cruising at 80 knots at sea is very similar in intensity to driving a Formula 1 car on land, which requires appropriate reinforcement of the cockpit for optimum safety. According to the company, it is reinforced with Kevlar and was designed to withstand up to 5G of force. Additional safety measures for pilots include bucket seats, 6-point harnesses, helmets and oxygen masks. The record attempt will be made by two pilots, one controlling the kite and the other piloting the boat.
“Very early in our development face, it was clear that being alone on board was not an option to safely accelerate up to 80 knots,” said co-founder and pilot, Benoît Gaudiot. “At 150 km/h, it is essential to concentrate on a task! We will thus have a pilot at the controls of the kite, while a co-pilot will ensure the trajectory of the boat. However, at low speeds, around 30 knots, the boat can sail alone, which will allow us to welcome passengers on board to experience something extraordinary. SP80 plans to officially launch the sailboat at the end of this year, while the first record attempts are scheduled for summer 2023 in the south of France.