Our story

©Francis Demange – www.hydroptere.com

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The inspiration

The Hydroptère was one of the first boat in history to sail above the mythical 50 knot (92 km/h) speed barrier.

Imagined by the French sailor Eric Tabarly and developed by Alain Thebault, notably in collaboration with EPFL, the Hydroptère is an iconic boat that has inspired a generation of sailing enthusiasts.

Mayeul, Benoit and Xavier witnessed this feat, which put speed sailing at the forefront of their young minds. This would inspire the SP80 project a few years later.

The trigger

Driven by their passion, Xavier, Mayeul and Benoit pursued studies in mechanical engineering at EPFL, the place that helped build the Hydroptère. They met while working on the Hydrocontest: a design competition in which radio-controlled boats are tested for their speed and energy efficiency. That year, EPFL’s contender was an ambitious foiling boat that happened to have been built under the supervision of Robin Amacher, a former engineer of Hydroptère’s design team.

Working with someone that had been an active member of the Hydroptère project, Xavier, Mayeul and Benoit’s dreams had never felt closer. The three of them decided to take the leap and start an independent project.

©Chloé Jobert – SP80

©Mediacom – EPFL

©Hydrocontest – EPFL

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©Chloé Jobert – SP80

©Chloé Jobert – SP80

©SP80

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The beginning

Their complimentary profiles and positive experience with Hydrocontest encouraged them to take on their own challenge. Xavier as engineer, Benoit as kitesurfer and Mayeul as sailor.

They start working on the idea of fitting kitesurfing boards with super-ventilated fins. The concept of super-ventilated profiles was interesting as they had been used by Paul Larsen on board Vestas Sailrocket II in 2012 to beat the previous World Sailing Speed Record, a staggering 65,45 knots (121,21 km/h). In the following years however, super-ventilation wasn’t further developed for sailboats.

After manufacturing super-ventilated fins with NTPT® carbon fiber, trials were conducted in the south of France. After only 3 runs, Benoit reached 41 knots (75,9 km/h), confirming that these profiles had massive untapped potential that could be unlocked using a kitesurfing sail.

These promising results set the trio’s minds at work, and they quickly realised that a kitesurfer’s speed is restricted by the load that the body can withstand; augmenting the kite size will make you go faster, but at some point you will be overpowered. Replacing the human link between the foil and the kite with a rigid body, such as a boat, should dramatically increase its loading capacity. Armed with this theory, Xavier set to work on a proof of concept. During the next few months, he coded a simulator demonstrating the project’s feasibility. The results were the only confirmation they needed, and thus SP80 was born, with the ambitious goal of reaching 80 knots.

The organisation

2019 marked a turning point for SP80. A first sponsor joined the quest for the record , the Swiss based company P&TS, thus allowing the three founders to formalise the project and implement an official structure.

EPFL also pledged its support to the team as an academic partner. This collaboration enabled SP80 to gain access to top research infrastructures, invaluable insight from professors, and gave EPFL students the opportunity to join the team.

As a result, the SP80 student association was founded in addition to the company, adding 20 more volunteer engineers and students to the team.

©Alain Herzog – EPFL

©Schreyer – P&TS

©Mediacom – EPFL

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©Guillaume Fischer – SP80

©Guillaume Fischer – SP80

©Océane Suchel – SP80

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The scaled model

With this great team in place, there was only one thing left to do: build the world fastest sailboat to break the record set in 2012. 

The first step was to design and validate a scaled model of the future boat. After many hours spent making iterations in the lab, designing prototypes and testing different forms of kites and super-ventilated fins, the first scaled model (measuring 4m long) sailed on the Geneva lake. After a few months and some alterations to the original concept, a final scaled-model was approved. A huge step for the team!

The construction

With Richard Mille joining the adventure as the title partner, SP80 takes the dream to the next level. Indeed, the team entrusted Persico Marine with the construction of its small rocket.

The Italian shipyard is a key player in the world of sailing and has renowned know-how and technical experience: from Vendée Globe to America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race, many sailors around the globe trust Persico Marine.

©SP80

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©SP80

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The ROAD TO 80 knots

The entire team, currently focused on the construction of the boat, has now only one objective in sight: getting the boat on the water and break the World Sailing Speed Record in 2022.

©Francis Demange – www.hydroptere.com

2
0
0
9

The inspiration

The Hydroptère was one of the first boat in history to sail above the mythical 50 knot (92 km/h) speed barrier.

Imagined by the French sailor Eric Tabarly and developed by Alain Thebault, notably in collaboration with EPFL, the Hydroptère is an iconic boat that has inspired a generation of sailing enthusiasts.

Mayeul, Benoit and Xavier witnessed this feat, which put speed sailing at the forefront of their young minds. This would inspire the SP80 project a few years later.

©Chloé Jobert – SP80

©Mediacom – EPFL

©Hydrocontest – EPFL

2
0
1
6

The trigger

Driven by their passion, Xavier, Mayeul and Benoit pursued studies in mechanical engineering at EPFL, the place that helped build the Hydroptère. They met while working on the Hydrocontest: a design competition in which radio-controlled boats are tested for their speed and energy efficiency. That year, EPFL’s contender was an ambitious foiling boat that happened to have been built under the supervision of Robin Amacher, a former engineer of Hydroptère’s design team.

Working with someone that had been an active member of the Hydroptère project, Xavier, Mayeul and Benoit’s dreams had never felt closer. The three of them decided to take the leap and start an independent project.

©Chloé Jobert – SP80

©Chloé Jobert – SP80

©SP80

2
0
1
8

The beginning

Their complimentary profiles and positive experience with Hydrocontest encouraged them to take on their own challenge. Xavier as engineer, Benoit as kitesurfer and Mayeul as sailor.

They start working on the idea of fitting kitesurfing boards with super-ventilated fins. The concept of super-ventilated profiles was interesting as they had been used by Paul Larsen on board Vestas Sailrocket II in 2012 to beat the previous World Sailing Speed Record, a staggering 65,45 knots (121,21 km/h). In the following years however, super-ventilation wasn’t further developed for sailboats.

After manufacturing super-ventilated fins with NTPT® carbon fiber, trials were conducted in the south of France. After only 3 runs, Benoit reached 41 knots (75,9 km/h), confirming that these profiles had massive untapped potential that could be unlocked using a kitesurfing sail.

These promising results set the trio’s minds at work, and they quickly realised that a kitesurfer’s speed is restricted by the load that the body can withstand; augmenting the kite size will make you go faster, but at some point you will be overpowered. Replacing the human link between the foil and the kite with a rigid body, such as a boat, should dramatically increase its loading capacity. Armed with this theory, Xavier set to work on a proof of concept. During the next few months, he coded a simulator demonstrating the project’s feasibility. The results were the only confirmation they needed, and thus SP80 was born, with the ambitious goal of reaching 80 knots.

©Alain Herzog – EPFL

©Schreyer – P&TS

©Mediacom – EPFL

2
0
1
9

The organisation

2019 marked a turning point for SP80. A first sponsor joined the quest for the record , the Swiss based company P&TS, thus allowing the three founders to formalise the project and implement an official structure.

EPFL also pledged its support to the team as an academic partner. This collaboration enabled SP80 to gain access to top research infrastructures, invaluable insight from professors, and gave EPFL students the opportunity to join the team.

As a result, the SP80 student association was founded in addition to the company, adding 20 more volunteer engineers and students to the team.

©Guillaume Fischer – SP80

©Guillaume Fischer – SP80

©Océane Suchel – SP80

2
0
2
0

The scaled model

With this great team in place, there was only one thing left to do: build the world fastest sailboat to break the record set in 2012. 

The first step was to design and validate a scaled model of the future boat. After many hours spent making iterations in the lab, designing prototypes and testing different forms of kites and super-ventilated fins, the first scaled model (measuring 4m long) sailed on the Geneva lake. After a few months and some alterations to the original concept, a final scaled-model was approved. A huge step for the team!

©SP80

2
0
2
1

The construction

With Richard Mille joining the adventure as the title partner, SP80 takes the dream to the next level. Indeed, the team entrusted Persico Marine with the construction of its small rocket.

The Italian shipyard is a key player in the world of sailing and has renowned know-how and technical experience: from Vendée Globe to America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race, many sailors around the globe trust Persico Marine.

©SP80

2
0
2
2

The road to 80 knots

The entire team, currently focused on the construction of the boat, has now only one objective in sight: getting the boat on the water and break the World Sailing Speed Record in 2022.

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