Fastest Sailboat on the Planet!

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Doug Lord, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. antoineb
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    antoineb Junior Member

    Thanks for update on Wotrocket, their site has nothing more recent than May 11th

    Thanks for the update.

    I've been checking the Wotrocket website about daily (yes ;-) and have been quite disappointed to have seen zero news updates, after that dated May 11th where they said, "Wotrocket eases into on-water testing program".
    I got to say that I didn't read this as too good a sign, because when people "clam up" like this, it often (but not always, I know) means that they're probably not progressing enough to think it worth their while providing updates.

    Clearly the design of Wotrocket is much more aerodynamic, in the line of crafts like Yellow Pages (planing hulls), or Macquarie (planing hulls), or even Techniques Avancées (foils but w/o help from sophisticated simulation to optimise design).
    Whereas Hydroptere, whose roots are to go fast in the ocean (though the current version is aimed more squarely at closer to shore, but they reserve the right to go back to the ocean later), is "too much like a boat" (cockpit, living quarters) which is a handicap when going for just the 500m, for sure. In the meantime Hydroptere is already the world's fastest craft (and in the ocean, too), and though that's irrelevant, you can go sailing for a day or two aboard Hydroptere, whereas on these other crafts you're probably exhausted after a couple hours inside a tiny pod wearing a wet suit.

    I don't concur w the Wot Rocket project manager apparently suggesting that they had to "shift gears" because of the re-launch of the modified Hydroptere - the modification / optimisation project has been described in detail (objectives, schedule) on Hydroptere's web site, so that anyone knew, 6 months ago and more, that the craft would be starting attempts at this time. And I don't believe that the Wotrocket guys, don't have access to the Internet ;-)

    Also, I must admit I still have question marks in my mind, about the "hypercavitating foils" of Wotrocket. On their site there's nothing of any substance about these foils. It can be that it's because they want to keep all this confidential (after all they don't even keep us up to date on their progress to date). Or it can be that it's because there's a doubt about the substance, maybe. I sure do hope for them that they're right, that there IS substance - but still, a foil needs to generate lift, and by definition "hypercavitation" is when the water turns into gaseous phase, and you lost lift. But you need the lift, so how does it work?

    Sure they do mention the famous Russian hypercavitating torpedo (and the Germans have one that's said to be even faster), but the torpedo doesn't need lift, so that's not really relevant, or is it, and if it is then how? Are the foils on Wotrocket gonna inject air around themselves in the water, to avoid contact (that's what the hypercavitation Russian torpedo does, but it has a rocket engine to generate the gas)? But if so, then where does the energy come from, to inject it?

    In the meantime, and assuming that the modified foil design of Hydroptere does work as advertised/hoped (and please note that these guys have posted photos of the foils, whereas Wotrocket have posted no detailed photos of any important parts of the craft), Hydroptere will precisedly fly on "hypercavitating foils", meaning that hypercavitation will still be happening (it cannot be prevented, and starts at fairly low speeds already), but that he plan is there will still remain enough lift and control, to allow for faster speeds.

    It would really be interesting to hear what analysis was made by the Wotrocket team - but they don't give us anything of any substance on this. And again, it may be that it's because they're the only ones in the world to have thought of such a smart design. Or it maybe that they're not so different, and don't want to say it. I don't have a camp at all - but I'd like to know more, for sure! ;-)

    Based on the evidence gathered so far, it seems that the WSSRC has pretty strict rules, and these rules are available for all to see on their Web site.
    Hydroptere have always had a Trimble GPS receiver, and pretty sophisticated electronics for fine positioning, yet last year when they established the Mile record, they made it clear in their press releases, how they still had needed to get WSSRC approval. Involves things like having a ground-based device, having a current below 1kn at all times, having real-time current-measuring devices, etc. Again that's all on their old news on their site, and part of it is also in this forum.
    So how can the Wotrocket project manager, talk about hoping to get away w the rules? He can even check latest Hydroptere updates, and he'll read that the official from the WSSRC, is in the process of officialising the "speed base" for the Hydroptere team, and that this involves the training of a local expert, requiring no further presence from WSSRC afterwards.
    So this guy is in charge of such an important project to beat the 50 knot mark, but he has'nt bothered to do his homework, and he hasn't even checked the information available at the website of a key contendant? Again, it's like w the "hypercavitating foils" - maybe it's a desire to remain very secretive, maybe it's a desire to spread a few lies just to be safe - or maybe it means that the team is not quite as far in the project (either from the speed measurement point of view, or from the design point of view), to be confident.

    The update kindly posted here, still has no data whatsoever about any speed recorded. We're told they went out in a 8-12 knot breeze (actually didn't get to 12 knots), but there's no speed data, such as, "we reached 25 knots in 10 knots of wind" (that would be a minimum for such an extreme craft, I mean the hull-less Mirabaud LX does about 20 knots in 10 knots of wind).
    The update also mentions, "a number of setbacks", but these guys seem to be a bit like the Russians of old (in the space race), when there are setbacks they clam up and no one knows whether they're still alive, or whether there's just lack of wind, or whether there are design issues. It's a bit frustrating - and it doesn't convey much confidence.
    Back on May 15th they said they needed 250 hours of work for minor modifications (bow to be realigned, wing). Now that update kindly posted here (but nowhere to be seen on their web site), mentions "300 hours further modifying the design".
    I'm not at all saying that such a craft wouldn't NEED a lot of fine-tuning (Hydroptere has like a decade of fine-tuning behind it!). But I'm getting a bit impatient.
    Back on May 15th they had promised to start real speed testing in the winter months, and winter starts June 21st...

    I really can only admire the teams that go for 50 knots, and can only wish them luck.
    I know this requires a lot of work, and of fine-tuning.
    I think Hydroptere has a clear head start on the fine-tuning bit, but they're far from aerodynamically great (despite the improvements that were made, within limits of budget and weight).
    So ultimately, a craft w a plane-like body and a wing on top, should be able to go faster - once it's fine-tuned, and provided the foils are at least as good. Hydroptere itself, if you had a large budget and could re-do the structure from scratch and stick a wing on top, would go a good deal faster also.
    Again, best of luck!
  2. antoineb
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    antoineb Junior Member

    Hydroptere will try to "validate 45 and 50" this Sunday, wind allowing

    Latest news is that Hydroptere was moved to its final base. It has a certified speed course. The team will, they say, tilt the mast upwind (as the new design allows).

    There's no wind for now - but slight hopes of a solid "Mistral" (North wind) for part of the week-end. If indeed the Mistral blows, these guys have dared to write that they'd "attempt to certify the 45 and 50 knots stages".

    All we have are a few photos of a couple runs so far, and an announced instant top speed over 46 knots. But from these guys, normally quite conservative, I find it quite a statement to merely say they want to "certify the 50 knot stage", w/o any qualifying words. This does suggest a very strong confidence, which, my guess, can only be based on data so far having proved very solid (among other things, high stability and still lots of lift at 46-plus knots).

    I can't wait. Even "just" 50 knots instant, would be cool.

    In the meantime, I don't for a second think that my earlier post might have had influence, but the fact is that the Wotrocket team have posted not only the earlier update (which had appeared here, but not on their web site), but then a follow-up. And in that follow-up they share a few perfectly understandable problems (steering bars in aluminium proved too fragile, and some of the appendices need a bit of re-balancing). To me, at any rate, such progress updates read like real-life, serious guys, confident enough to share good, and if must be, bad news. Good luck to them. If indeed they've found a Holy Grail w their supercavitating foils, then w this and the boat's aerodynamics they shoudl easily achieve 50 knots w a margin. Keep us posted please!
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  3. sysfx
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Asunción, Paraguay

    sysfx Junior Member

    Any recent news?

  4. antoineb
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    antoineb Junior Member

    Hydroptere: only modest recent news :-(

    Nothing tangible for the time being, I mean numbers. Main reason is the lack of wind. Finally yesterday Monday they were able to go out in a solid "Mistral" (northern wind) blowing between 30 and 40 knots (on the way to the speed base, the craft was flying, and looked fairly fast, w no foresail and one reef in the main).

    All they said after that, was, "it went very well", "the boat sets in really like a plane" (Alain Thebault, project leader, flies planes), that they were able to "witness the potential of the craft", but that w fairly strong and irregular gusts it had not been possible to "stabilise" the speed.

    I guess "very well", and "appreciate potential of the craft", probably hint that they've seen good things, in the perspective of 50-plus. But that's just a guess, we've got no higher top speed, nothing (mind you, if I were them, and just in case Wotrocket is a good craft, I wouldn't say, "we've reached an instant top speed of, say, 51 knots", because if I did, I would only boost my competitors' motivation).

    So we're left, and they're left, waiting for the next few days of a solid "mistral", if possible not too gusty.

    In the meantime, it's nice to see a (hopefully) record-beating craft, be able to go out at sea in 30 to 40 knots of wind.
  5. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Hydroptere-50+ soon

    The team has just gone on vacation and will be back in September to go for it again....
  6. antoineb
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    antoineb Junior Member

    Not much real progress: due only to lack of wind?

    I really continue to hope for the Hydroptere team, that the new version is capable of 50-plus.

    However I'm just slightly bothered by their recent mentioning that on August 6th, the craft briefly reached 46.7 knots in a brif 30 knots gust on a 15 knot wind day. Why, because on June 12th the craft had already reached 46.8 knots (w 20-25 knots of wind, w one reef in the main and the solent). And normally I guess I would expect record chasers to post about top speeds only if they beat older top speeds. So here, I'm a bit bothered that they should post about a top speed, achieved early August, that should be slightly lower than one achieved in June.

    I also cannot help but notice that the previous version of the craft had reached over 47 knots of top speed - with more wind yes, but also in less flat waters.

    Anyway, I sure do hope it's just the wind, I mean both the lack of strong wind while doing these runs, and the lack of windy days preventing them from fine-tuning the craft sooner.

    They also say that they've averaged 30 knots for 25 minutes w 15 knots of wind, which is nice but doesn't get us closer to a record, does it? Also I'd guess that an Orma 60 might be able to average a similar speed given similar (force 4) winds, no? So I'm starting to wonder a bit.

    But I clearly keep fingers crossed, and hope that when they're back from holidays, in September, they have enough regular and strong Mistral so they can start recording higher top speeds. They do deserve it!
  7. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Keep the faith,brother! They'll do it.....
  8. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    What's Up...?

    Strikes me as a bunch of nervous cats at the back door of a restaraunt.

    Can't take the boat out to sail for fear of risking that evil potential of hitting something and wadding-up the boat. Can't take the lesser wind days to discover more about how the boat handles, trims and accelerates.

    The whole thing hits me as a one note band with a singular potential. If the forward looking sonar actually works, what's the problem? If the sonar doesn't work, then the H boat is not truly an ocean going machine with any degree of solvency for the crew. Witness the slam-bang episode in the North Atlantic, which ended things for some time.

    When I look at the Speed Week craft that come each year to run with what they got, I see a bunch of out there, semi-grounded guys who want to see how their boats perform in the conditions present. When I look at the guys who make the journey to Walvis Bay, I see a gang of dudes who are willing to let it hang-out in a variety of conditions to explore the possibilities, as they are presented.

    Apparently, Hydrop is going to take the caviar and water crackers route with a proper Moet on the side until they have what the experts predict will get them there. Or not. The potential exists that this boat will become the boat that never could and it will be parked by the owners with nothing but air to show for the effort.

    Amazing stuff when you compare this to the kite and sail boarders who are constantly banging away at the magic 50 in a wide variety of conditions.

    Some of the boarders have already been over the mark for an instant time, yet here we are waiting for the jewelry bunch to make their run... as if it holds a certain cache of importance.

    Interesting stuff.
  9. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    "Can't take the boat out to sail for fear of risking that evil potential of hitting something and wadding-up the boat. Can't take the lesser wind days to discover more about how the boat handles, trims and accelerates."
    Factually incorrect- which you would realize if you were to just read the daily postings on the Hydroptere site.
  10. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    I guess I'm kinda like most people on this forum, Doug. I don't have the time to fiddle with daily postings at the H site. I have a career and a new business development project going on at the same time. Diddling through a blog of stuff to garner kernals is not my idea of time well-spent.

    If you have some valuable info for all of us to read, then please... be my guest and fire away. Please take the time to keep it non-confrontational and non-personal in nature, as well as wording, and we'll do just fine sharing our opinions here.

    Truth is, though, the H guys are not putting it down as often as possible when you compare their effort to that of the exciting and regular developments in the kite and sail boarding end of the spectrum of sailing. The H setup is far too expensive of an entry in the game to risk it with a Joe-Six-Pack approach. Talk to me about the dollars (or Euros) on the line and you'll see the point.

    With that in mind, it looks for all to see that they are simply cherry-picking an opportunity with a highly specialized machine. Of course, there's nothing really wrong with that, many have done it before in all kinds of ultimate speed attempts, but it does not speak to a vastly versatile craft with on-going potential for the regular guy.

    You know, the People's Speed Burner, kind of thing. ;-)
  11. BWD
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    BWD Senior Member

    I think y'all are reading the failure to make spectacular records immediately too harshly.
    The way I see it,
    if the 2008 version hydroptere is out in middling wind, and gets a "gust" (risee) to 30, allowing it to accelerate to 46 kts or so, that is an accomplishment.
    Of course this is assuming by a "risee" they mean what I would mean by a gust -something lasting from a few seconds to 5 minutes.
    I speak "french" but not "nautical french usage," so I don't know really. Naturally if the "risee" was more like 1/2 an hour I would not be as impressed.
    But if a french gust is like a gust elsewhere, they at least showed all systems must be working as far as ballast, trim controls etc, letting them accelerate to flirt with records rather quickly in subpar conditions.
    So, it's a waiting game for weather (and vacation).
  12. RHough
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    RHough Retro Dude

    I heard a rumour that BMWO's new 90x90 multi might take a shot at some records while they are waiting for the court to make a decision in the America's Cup case.

    Would be quite a feather in their cap to grab a WSSR or two. ;)
  13. steve.b
    Joined: May 2008
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    steve.b Junior Member

    pity its sounding like the AC won't be sailed on multihulls....
  14. RHough
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    Location: BC Summers / Nayarit Winters

    RHough Retro Dude

    Don't give up hope ... the big multis will probably face off in 2009, then back to "normal" AC crap in either Valencia in 2011 or a new venue in 2013.

  15. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    50 first!

    From the Hydroptere site: the boat is ready to start making speed runs and is now configured to make those runs on starboard tack only. Very interesting!
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