SP80 at the Yacht Racing Forum 2019

November 27, 2019

Held in Bilbao on the 25th and 26th of November 2019, the Yacht Racing Forum gathered a variety of personalities from the sailing world to discuss business and the future of yacht racing. Thanks to our partner MaxComm, Mayeul and Benoit had the opportunity to take part in this exchange; for the first time, they exposed SP80 to the most renowned naval architects, sailors and shipyards. Here are the impressions that they took home with them.

“The Yacht Racing Forum truly is a unique event in the sailing world. Besides conferences on the latest business models or technologies, it is one of the only settings where you can grab a cup of coffee with an America’s Cup grinder, a Golden Globe Race competitor and the organiser of The Ocean Race. It was a golden opportunity for us to gain insight on how the sailing world perceived SP80. We were really surprised by the great interest shown by people working to compete in major sailing events like the America’s Cup or the Vendée Globe !

It must be said that SP80 is not your typical high performance sailing project; starting with the team composition. It is unusual to see an event like the Yacht Racing Forum host a team of volunteer engineers and students motivated solely by their passion for sailing and the desire to push the boundaries of their sport.

That boundary specifically – the speed world record – is not like any other challenge either. Whilst all competitions are continuously evolving and there have been amazing advances on boats in recent years, the World speed sailing record has remained unchanged since 2012. At the time, Paul Larsen and his team accomplished a feat with the Vestas Sail Rocket 2 that shook the sailing world to its core. Today, most people still deem this performance an unbeatable reference, which makes them all the more intrigued to see a young team tackling the challenge.

Lastly, the racing specifications about the world speed record are quite vague and leave a lot of free ground to play around with. Building a boat for such a challenge is a very particular exercise for designers which requires them to let their imagination run wild without many barriers. This makes the propensity for groundbreaking innovation that much greater. The SP80 concept has therefore garnered much interest from many of the acclaimed architects present at the forum. For most of them, kite-powered boats and super-ventilated foils are ideas whose potential have been known for a long time. However, as these innovations are not yet mature enough to be used in well-known regattas, the architects have never had the chance to put them into practice.

As a whole, the result of the Forum was very positive for the SP80 team, with a great deal of interest and encouragement to continue our development.

We will undoubtedly be back next year to present our progress.”

Mayeul van den Broek, co-founder & Team Manager