Fastest Sailboat on the Planet!

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

  1. boogie
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    boogie Member

    hi antoineb,

    thnx a lot for all your detailed info that is hidden from all of us non French speaking folks.

    just a few comments.
    those waves they are sailing in the video are not 2 to 3.5 metre waves.
    wave height is not measured by the linear distance from crest to trough.
    try half that. which is still very impressive by anyone's standard, but it's a big boat and if would scale the waves down to windsurfer size then they are doable.

    you mention that their GPS system is up to a standard for ratifying WSSRC speeds. are you sure? do you mean the systems required for ocean crossing? because the systems for 500m speeds arevery different and VERY expensive and not usually found on racing yachts. as far as i know it cost Macquarie Innovation something like $25k just for the Trimble GPS system with 10Hz recording and differential correction. surely the way to go compared to a video timing system with fixed courses. especially for bigger craft.

    the guys from the team are certainly excited about the recent speeds they have achieved and rightly so. it's a big step they have done with the new configuration. but imo they will probably suffer the same problems as pretty much all fully submerged foil crafts [not only lifting hydrofoils].
    cavitation and the sudden increase in drag at it's onset is like hitting a wall. 44kn seems to be the magical number from my experience and observations over the years.
    it's possible to push a short distance through that wall for a short time, but to go past it for longer than just a few seconds you need to use dedicated gear.
    from what i can see they neither use heavily raked foils nor super sharp leading edge very small % thickness foils. which is totally understandable because the speed record is probably not what the designer had in mind. ocean crossing and sailing in lower winds, early take off speed are not the strong points of the kit you need to break 50kns and you can easily break ocean or long distance records in the sub cavitation range.

    i hope they will go and try it though and prove me wrong.
    i'm surely will be watching it closely and report about it too.

  2. antoineb
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    antoineb Junior Member

    thanks boogie

    for the interesting comments

    you're right on the definition of wave height, here i fell victim to common usage in French where we say "creux de x metres", i.e. "x meter holes", talking from peak to trough. But I studied physics and yes, by definition, if you've got 3.5 meters from crest to trough, then it's at most a 1.75 meter wave. Which scaled down by 10 for approx windsurfer size, would be just 17.5 centimeters or just 7 inches (still I doubt that Finian would do more than 45-46 knots, at best, in such waves ;-)

    on the GPS system, yes as far as I know these guys have the VERY expensive and sophisticated GPS on board. Remember that this is a sailing lab, they measure the efforts real time on 40 points of the structure just to give one example of the kind of testing / electronics gear on the thing. Adding a sophisticated GPS to this would not make much difference. Especially when you consider that you've got carbon foils made by Airbus that each set you back several 100'000 euros, a crossbeam also made by aircraft manufacturers, etc.

    as far as I know what they need for certification is mostly a course that fullfils requirements, including the current that must be less than 1kt. But they may also decide to install the cheaper, on the ground equipment that you do mention.

    thanks for the input about potential limits on foils. No one is really sure here. Parameters include the speed of sound (which as you know is high in water), and the shape as you say. Clearly hypercavitation can be a problem, but probably more so for foils shorter on the fore/aft dimension. We know that there are ferry boats doing 60 kn routinely between Finland and Russia, so we know it's doable - but I don't have the power vs. speed curve for that boat and maybe, as you suggest, there is a sudden surge in power needed.

    Though with boat companies trying to make money, I very much doubt that anyone would have designed a boat that would have needed, say, 50% more fuel per mile, to reach 25% more speed, because that would not have been economic. Right?

    I think you make an interesting point on what the foil design may be optimised for. Indeed as you say, and as I have written also, Hydroptere has been designed with ocean-going records in mind, such as 800nm-plus over 24 hours and the like. And it may be that this precludes it being optimised for high speeds?

    But again, no one seems to be sure. Moths have very thin foils, resulting in very low take-off speeds, and seem to not go much beyong 30 knots (but this may be due to other factors, than foil shape). Techniques Avancees, which has I believe a speed record around 42 knots in one of the WSSRC classes, used very thin foils rather different from the "passenger aicraft-like" foils of Hydroptere.

    i agree with you - let's hope they give it a try anyway, and achieve something noteworthy (even if only "just" 45-46-47 knots on 500m).

    if they see it does not suffice then let's hope they'll go take a look at some ocean records. I mean on one of the videos, you've goat the boat flying at 25 knots (they announce the speed), sails eased, everyone relaxed. Then the helmsman says, "keep announcing the speeds, and let me know the status of the ballasts". A little while later, he's told the ballasts are full, fore and aft. So then he says, "ok let's go". So they trim the sails, and you see the boat accelerating massively. Apparently that video was shot on a day when the peaked at only 45 knots (and then they added the bit where they have Champagne on the back of having reached 47.2 knots).

    still, I found it pretty impressive how easy it seemed to be doing 25 knots for them. Sure, ORMA 60's can reach such speeds (and a good deal more, up to maybe 35 knots for very short periods of time), but at 25 they're far from looking as easy as Hydroptere did that day.

    anyway, i've said too much. Let's keep watching their site and hope they give it a go and do something good.

  3. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest


    Antoine, have you run into any info on what the ballast amount is carried in the mainhull? I know the figure for the mini amas....
  4. antoineb
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    antoineb Junior Member

    Hydroptere: speed base almost ready

    Hydroptere have installed a Trimble GPS on the boat on Feb 15th, with a ground-based transmitter as well.

    They're now going to be testing this and await WSSRC approval before they can start trying for the records.

    For the time being they remain quite conservative, stating only that their objectives are:
    - "to beat the 500m record in our category". As a reminder this record, in the D class ie over 300 sq.ft. of sail, is held since 1997 by Techniques Avancees at "just" 42.12 knots
    - "to beat the absolute speed record on 1nm". As a reminder this was established by Finian Maynard in 2005 at 39.97 knots (there have been claims to higher speeds but none confirmed by the WSSRC)

    Based on what we've seen of Hydroptere performance so far, both objectives seem well within reach. These guys have always been a conservative bunch and all I can hope is that they'll exceed their objectives, ideally by some sizeable margin.

    We should have a better idea by March I guess
  5. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest


    More detail on the Trimble GPS:

    ** **
    Vendredi 16 février 2007 " l'Hydroptère's team is currently concentrated on the certification procedure of the first two records targeted, the 500 meters in their category and the absolute speed on a nautical mile.
    Helped by the firm Topo +, the crew installed yesterday a GPS Trimble which is a measurement equipment certified by the World Sailing speed record Council.
    The installation was done in two steps, a base was set in Quiberon's aerodrome and a mobile receiver on the boat.
    This device measures the boat's position in real time with a 1 centimetre precision.
    The crew now has to test this device while sailing and validate the measurement of a run.
    This measurement will be given to the WSSRC and the record campaign will start as soon as they receive their approval.
    This proceeding allows the crew to keep on practicing and mastering the carbon bird in various weather conditions as they expect to break these two records very soon."
  6. boogie
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    boogie Member

    great to see the l'Hydroptere team getting all the ducks in a row to make history.

    if they are serious enough to spend the money on a Trimble GPS for this purpose then i bet they are working up a set of speed foils as well.

    btw, the nautical mile record of 41.14kn by bjorn dunkerbeck achieved in namibia in october2006 is now verified and on the WSSRC website.

    for the two weeks around easter i'll be going down to the south of france for two weeks of speed sailing madness.
    there are three events down there. one windsurf event in Leucate and one in Gruissan. one kitesurf event in Port St. Louis.
    if anything interesting in new designs or developments comes up i'll post it on my speed sailing design site.

  7. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    There's another team, leaded by Paul Larson, going for it in Namibia with "Sailrocket", but they are still far away from the record:
  8. kach22i
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    kach22i Architect

  9. boogie
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    boogie Member

    thnx. glad to hear you like it.

    if anyone has something to contribute like links or articles, i'm happy to put it up there.

  10. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    ... and they dropped the rig out of the boat ...

    the cause?

    Sailing barefoot ... seems the pressure required on the pedals with the new rudder was more than bare feet could stand ... :D
  11. boogie
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    boogie Member

    i read Paul's blog too and as far as i can read it they changed the rudder angle to more rake so they have more "feel'. i guess they had too much feel now.
    they actually got away quite lucky to some extent. as Paul said himself he doesn't fancy the idea of rounding up onto the beach when doing 50kn at all.
    a smashed rig would be their least worries then... :eek:

    they are are on a steep learning curve for sure now. let's hope they can keep it in one piece long enough to get some results.

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2007
  12. antoineb
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    antoineb Junior Member

    Hydroptère at 44.5kn on 500m and 41.5kn on the nm

    OK they've finally started. After about 1.5 months waiting in vain for good conditions (25-30 knots from SW) at their certified base in the Baie de Quiberon, they moved to another location nearby where they could use the forecast 25kn NW breeze.

    Not an ideal spot but better than nothing - the sponsors still want something to chew on, you know.

    So as I expected they've done well enough, but given far from perfect conditions they didn't do anything out of this world, either.

    The 41.5 knots on the mile is pretty solid, and is interesting because it is in the line of what the boat was designed for - go fast, at sea, over measurable distances not just short sprints. Sure it beats Bjorn Dunkerbeck by a measly margin (he had 41.14) so it's far from good enough to stay in the record books for long. But again, far from perfect conditions and not quite enough breeze. And Hydroptère may well be able to sustain this for 5 miles - not Bjorn.

    The 44.5 knots on 500m is no surprise, they had gone that fast (uncertified) back in January when the winds were less fickle and stronger. So sure it beats the old D Class record of 42.12 knots but so what - Yellow Pages has done 46.52. Still, it seems pretty clear that, with 25-30 knots of wind (closer to 30), and in flatter water, and if allowed to push hard (which the sponsor may not allow given that the program is for 24 hour then ocea-going records), Hydroptère should be able to sustain 47 or more over 500 meters.

    I've said it in the past: the 500m record is NOT the main aim of the boat or the sponsor. My take is that now that they've shown some decent speed even not where the boat sweet spot is, they will spend time and energy on the 24 hour then ocean records.

    Then, if say 1 year from now they have, say, set the 24 hour mark at 800 or 850 (let's dream a bit) vs. Orange II's 760 (w double the waterline), then they MAY go back to their speed base, and be allowed to go all out, and do something that would be more headline material.

    Nice to see these guys going well, nice to see them being mature and prudent about it, taking one step at a time.
  13. antoineb
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    antoineb Junior Member

    A comparison with the world of motor racing

    was having dinner w an old friend the other day, and I mentioned the Hydroptere but he was not really with me because he is much more into motor sports.

    so I came up with this for him:

    imagine a team develops a rally-raid car to cover long distances at record speed in rough terrain

    Now imagine that, for fun, after a few successful high speed tests in rough terrain, the team decide to take that car out on a racing circuit where Formula One races take place.

    and now imagine that on the long straight the car comes up to within 9 percent of the fastest speed ever recorded on that circuit in a Formula One car, i.e. say 330 kph (206mph) vs. 360kph (225mph)

    and imagine further that, on a full lap, the car ends up going actually 0.9 percent FASTER than the best average speed on a lap, by a Formula One car

    and remember that, in the meantime, it is still expected that the rally-raid car will be the fastest on anything longer, and in terrain.

    my friend's jaw dropped, and he said, "geez, that would make massive headlines!"

    imho that's why the Hydroptere story is just so damn impressive

    (*) apologies for comparing a sport using a renewable energy, the wind, with a sport requiring a non-renewable energy. And apologies for comparing a windsurfer to a F1 car. But it was for the good cause (I think) ;-)
  14. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Rally Car Comparison

    No apologies necessary, Antoine. I used to race a rally prepped Cooper S back in 1969 and I found the comparison apt with a single major problem.

    If you really wanted to make the comparison complete, then you'd have to ask yourself a couple of very important questions along with a parallel observation of equipment.

    It's more than clear that the foiler is totally dependent upon its foils for this performance potential while underway. Rally cars have a similar dependency on their tires and the need for them to stay in contact with the ground.

    When a rally car gets a flat tire, they simply pull over and replace the entire wheel on the spot and continue on within minutes.. sometimes not even losing a place to a rival.

    What does Hydroptere do when it drops a foil? (You pick the reason for this, but there's already evidence that it's an issue for this boat) Are there spares on board? Can they be refitted out on the ocean? Could they resume these rally car speeds once refitted or would there need to be some serious tinkering involved back at port to once again join the fray?

    What happens when Hydroptere rolls over on its back?

    I rolled my Cooper in a German rally and I got out with my navigator and we calmly pushed the Cooper back over on her wheels, had a warm drink while we inventoried the potential damage and promptly carried on. I see lots of the World Champ rally cars involved in rolls and they can frequently resume the race once righted, so it's not a phenomenon particular to 1969 race machines.

    I don't see any of those things happening with Hydroptere and so the comparison has some very serious flaws when you address the parallel comprehensively.

    Oh, and the Cooper could be driven daily, though my sponsor frowned on the practice.

    Actually, I'd probably be in the mood to compare Hydroptere more to the potential of a specialized vehicle for speed purposes like one would find on the Bonneville salt flats.


  15. antoineb
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    antoineb Junior Member

    a Cooper: very cool!

    Thanks for sharing this, Chris - must have been cool. Very cool indeed.

    Of course you've got a point - Hydroptère would indeed be stopped terminally if a foil broke. But then the VW Touaregs that were leading the Paris-Dakar earlier this year, also suffered - a turbo fire, an electronics issue. I think it's fairer to compare the foils to a turbo / engine management chips.

    As usual, the proof will have to come from the pudding. Either Hydroptere, helped by their radar / sonars, avoid damaging collisions and establish an ocean going record in the not too distant future - and then they'll have proved that they're indeed in the rally car category, rather than Bonneville Flats material (to use your example). Or they don't manage this, and the jury will still be out.

    Of course, a foil is inherently more exposed to collisions, than a floating hull. Whether that means foils are inherently bad i.e. a design dead-end, or whether that means foils need further improvement (very solid leading edges, coupled with "crash mechanics" that would allow them to flip back on the case of a collision), I don't know. Early automobile tyres got flats all the time - but they were not a design dead end, it just took a few decades before they could be made reliable enough. Too early to tell.

    Still, Hydroptere have already proved they could remain at sea for a few days - so that's already quite a bit more autonomy than one of those pure record-setting machines that can be driven for at most a few minutes at a time, isn't it?

    I'm in no particular camp, and I'll just be watching what happens. But I would still consider it cool if these guys at Hydroptere ever managed, say, 800-plus nm's on 24 hours. Time will tell.
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