Of the three records, the water record that is the most hotly
contested, and most globally recognised. For many years the goal of teams
from all over the world has been to break the now infamous "fifty
knot barrier" and over the past twelve months, interest in this field
of sailing has increased enormously.
Current serious competitors
team behind Yellow Pages Endeavour that held the outright world record for 11 years before it was captured by Finian Maynard.
The new boat, Macquarie innovation, has been putting in some impressive speeds around 45 knots in recent months, but has also surrered from some minor breakages.
This is currently the 'boat' with the most promising potential.
Masters of speed
pictured left, not only heads up the 'Masters of Speed' windsurfing challenge, but also holds the current outright world record of 48.70 knots.
This exceptional performance illustrates just how much the windsurfing kit, and sailors, have progressed
in the last few years.
Sailing on the 'French Trench', these guys are still in action, trying to reach the illusive 50 knot mark.
The Trampofoil Project
The Trampofoil campaign is a newcomer with an ambitious goal. However, they have a fully constructed craft and seem to be making good progress.
Lead by Paul Larson and designed by Malcolm Barnsley, sailrocket is another British team with an eye on the record. Testing in Weymouth bay has shown great promise.
Barnsley's "Sailrocket" has an all-up mass of 250 kg (551.2 lb), is 11 m (36 ft) in length, 8.5 m (27.9 ft) beam and requires a one-man crew.
Jon Howes is a UK-based aeronautical engineer who has developed the "Monofoil". The boat is currently under construction in Cambridge and looking for completion sometime during 2007.
An ambitious project, but one with great potential. If they can overcome the control and structural issues presented by the design, this concept has the potential to take speed sailing into the next dimension, the 50-100 knot range.
Torix Bennett, who designed and built the 'Sea Spider', has been competing at Weymouth Speed Week for many years. His fastest recorded speed at Weymouth was 26.45 kts on 7th Oct 1999.
The Sea Spider has a length of 7.4m and 5.7 m beam. Two Sails of 10 sq.m. are asymmetrically placed.
Below are a number projects, that were challenging the record, but we are now unsure of their status.
Unlimited Speed Sailor
craft that are hoping to break the 50-knot barrier include the British
"Unlimited Speedsailer" (formerly "Bootiful").
A carbon fibre catamaran design utilising windsurfing technology,
she is 18.3 m (60 ft) long and weighs in at 750 kg (1,653 lb). She
has two flat bottom hulls, and radically, no rudders. Moving the
mast, which is controlled by pedal power, controls the steering.
French "Jellyfish Foiler" is kite powered hydrofoil
and is predicted to reach a speed of 57 kts (65.6 mph or 105.6 km/h)
in 27 kts of wind. At 13.5 kts (15.5 mph or 25 km/h), the foils
are designed to lift the craft 0.8m (2.6 ft) clear of the water
while the kite provides a force of 8,500 N (1910 lb) at full speed.
This vehicle has a predicted gross mass of 399 kg (880 lb) and requires
two crew with additional room for one passenger.
Yachts of the UK see drag the most significant problem in their
approach to speed sailing, hence they have been experimenting with
the radical looking "Zero-G". It utilises the same
solid-sail technology as the current record holder (Yellow Pages
Endeavour) but at speeds of higher than 18 to 20 knots (20.7 to
23 mph or 33.3 to 37 km/h) the craft is designed to lift clear of
the water and glide. It is hoped that the resultant loss of parasitic
drag will then push the craft to greater speeds. The predicted all-up
weight of this vehicle is a staggeringly light 170 to 180 kg (375 to 397
is a 'Proa' type vessel (meaning it is designed to run in one direction).
Conceived by a group of young university engineers in Orleans, France,
their goal is to not only break Yellow Page Endeavour's record,
but to reach 100 km/h (54 kts or 62.1 mph).
is a portable 4.9 m (16 ft) production sailing craft. Windrocket
is predicted to sail at two and a half times the wind speed due
to its solid wing sail. A solid sail produces less drag than an
equivalently powered conventional sail.
approach to the speed record is to have several vehicles stationed
at several locations ready to take advantage of any suitable weather
conditions wherever they may arise
designed by Tom Bakker (Holland), utilises planing hulls similar
to windsurfer boards to skim across the surface of the water. Aeroskimmer
won the sailboat class at the Weymouth Speed Week in 1997 although
no officially recorded speeds are available.
Techniques Advancees Techniques
Avancées is an asymmetric catamaran configuration
using two solid wing sails. This French vessel already holds the
class-D sailing record of 42.12 kts (48.5 mph or 78 km/h).
a hydrofoil trimaran, is piloted by one person. The boat sails on
its hulls until it reaches 10 kts (11.5 mph or 18.5 km/h) when it
lifts clear of the water on its foils. Longshot holds the class-B
record of 43.59 kts (50.2 mph or 80.7 km/h). A commercial version
of this boat was marketed by Hobie Cat under the name of 'Trifoiler'.
main concept behind "Veliptere" is to replace hydrodynamic
stability with aerodynamic stability. Essentially, the stability
of the boat is not obtained by hull displacement but rather by a
horizontal wing with a second inclined wing for propulsion. The
full scale boat should have a 12 m (39.3 ft) long hull, lifted 1
m (3.3 ft) above the water by hydrofoils.
larger offshore sailing craft have been in development in recent
years, which aim to initially break the record, followed by other
offshore sailing challenges. One of these craft is "Vecteur
Vitesse", an asymmetric catamaran that has reached a speed
of 42.12 kts (48.5 mph or 78 km/h).
on the 30 kt (34.5 mph or 55.6 km/h) Spitfire 12, "Spitfire"
by BDG Marine of Western Australia, is a planned 24 to 36 m (78.7
to 118.1 ft) flying catamaran which would be capable of breaking
long distance ocean racing challenges such as the Trans-Atlantic
record. Currently, we are aware of this vehicle as a concept only.
there is the "Hydroptère", a multi-hull
with two huge 6 m (20 ft) foils. This craft was designed with longer
transatlantic ventures in mind, although has reached speeds of up
to 40 kts (46 mph or 74 km/h).
Maritime is an asymmetrical catamaran. She is optimised
for speed on starboard tack and can usually be seen around La Rochelle
on the west coast of France. The single beam connecting the two
long hulls gives her a unique shape and represents an enormous engineering
challenge. Charente Maritime held the class-C record of 37.82 kts
(43.5 mph or 70 km/h) until 1993.