Richard Mille-sponsored project SP80 has revealed its final boat design. The sailboat, which is towed by a large kite, looks to break the world sailing speed record currently set at 68.33 knots (79 mph) with a target speed of 80 knots (92 mph). Two pilots will undertake the record-breaking milestone together in the purely wind-powered sailboat. As sailing at 80 knots at sea is similar in intensity to driving a Formula 1 car on land, the boat’s cockpit is reinforced with Kevlar and designed to withstand up to 5G of pressure upon acceleration. The aerodynamic compartments also include bucket seats, 6 point harnesses, helmets, and oxygen masks.
“Very early in our development face, it was clear that being alone on board was not an option to accelerate safely up to 80 knots,” said co-founder and pilot, Benoît Gaudiot. “At 150 km/h, it is essential to be focused on one task! We will thus have a pilot steering the kite, while a co-pilot will ensure the boat’s trajectory. However, at low speeds, that is around 30 knots, the boat can be sailed solo, which will allow us to welcome passengers on board to experience something extraordinary.”
The SP80 “Sea Rocket” is set to launch later this year, with the first world record attempts taking place in Summer 2023 in the south of France.