High-Speed Sailing

Vessel Name: Sailien
Vessel Make/Model: Experimental/custom
Recent Blog Posts
28 September 2013

The America’s Cup

I watched, with interest, the videos of the 34th America’s Cup. At last we have fast sailboats engaged in a competition that is fun to watch. The virtual images (such as course boundaries, distance grid lines, separation between boats, etc.) overlaid on the real images really helps to keep the race [...]

31 August 2013

100 Knots for Hydroptere?

The latest news from Hydroptere is that they have plans for a 100 knot sailboat. This was posted on 26 Aug 2013, so look for that date at this address. http://hydroptere.com/en/the-news/last-news/

17 November 2012

Aptly named Sailrocket, blasts off!

While yet to be ratified, Sailrocket posted an average speed over 500 meters of 59 knots. I will not be surprised if they increase their record into the 60 knot range during this record attempt.

02 January 2012

More drag for VSR2?

I want to start by pointing out that the whole VSR2 team has done a stellar job and has demonstrated conclusively that the forces that drive a sailboat can be aligned for roll stability without using ballast and without using any down-force. (Trifoiler achieved roll stability by using down-force, but [...]

18 December 2011

My analysis of Sailrocket

I copied a diagram of VSR2 (wing doesn’t show well) and added in the major force arrows that apply. Be aware that these arrows are not correct in terms of scale (length) and some of their locations are guesses, however I believe I’m correct enough for us to learn something about what VSR2 has been [...]

23 October 2011

60 is within reach, what’s next?

I have been watching Sailrocket’s progress with great interest and there’s no question they have a winner. I fully expect to see them reach 60kt in the near future. Sailrocket has now demonstrated what I first learned with my models and again with my full-sized prototypes, that if you get the forces [...]

55.65 knots

06 November 2010
While we do have two new world speed sailing records, they have not been officially posted as such on the WSSRC site (at this time). The numbers may change a bit from those I'm posting, but I believe these will be close. This data is from: http://www.luderitz-speed.com/

The new world record is credited to Rob Douglas (USA) who posted a speed of: 55.65 knots. The new ladies world record is credited to Charlotte Consorti (FRA) who posted a speed of: 50.43 knots. The wind speed is posted as: 40 to 45 knots.

What can we learn from this? Personally, I don't think there is any particular limit to how fast we can go using wind power. The factors we are dealing with are: how much wind is available (think of this as our "fuel"), how powerful is our airfoil (think of this as our "engine"), and how much drag are we overcoming. Note that we have to keep it all under control and everything I've posted earlier about stability applies.

While I believe that windsurfers could break 50 knots, I also am quite confident that they are no longer serious contenders for the outright speed record. We have seen that windsurfers took over the record from boats, once they became refined enough, and now kite boarders have become refined enough to be the current record holders. What do these two craft have in common that enables them to go so fast? The answer is the ability to sail in stronger winds than any of the sailboats have been able to do. We could say that they are able to use more fuel while (frequently) keeping it under control. Under similar wind conditions, none of the recent sailboat contenders have been able to maintain control.

Does this mean that I feel the kite boarders will continue to dominate and the sailboats have met their limit? No, it means that so far no-one has built a sailboat that is capable of sailing at high-speed under high wind conditions. I believe this is primarily an economic problem, which I discussed a bit in an earlier post.


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