Fastest Sailboat on the Planet!

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

  1. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    What it does Franklin, or Ratliff, if you prefer, is make for a standardization of process so that all measured runs are conformed to an established norm for the purpose of comparison.

    This isn't always a political exercise, as you would have us believe. Sometimes, it is purely about establishing a norm, within which, all records can be compared. No conspiracy, no dark thoughts connected through a star chamber of heavy hitters... just normalizing the process so that it can be relevant against that which comes from future efforts.

    When you get to the bottom of the process, it is about honoring those that came before, as well as those who are yet to engage the pursuit. It would be nice if we respected the past efforts while looking through the energy of those who have come along during the existing years.

    I suspect that the "norm" will be once again adjusted in some future period as that is the way of record keepers and the changes in the environments in which these records are established.

    Is the potential record of 50 knots of today any different than the 50 knots of yesterday?

  2. RatliffFranklin

    RatliffFranklin Previous Member


    The main thing is that rules don't become so fossilized they don't make allowances for new developments in technology, since the real point of rules for record breaking is measuring technical progress.
  3. antoineb
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    antoineb Junior Member

    Hey Rattliff Franklin: do you have a point to make? It does not sound like it to me but maybe you are not of English mother tongue and fail to properly convey your thoughts in which case maybe you want to give it another try?

    You seem to want to make a difference between "performances" and "records", and seem to think that the realm on non-exact science (for example, social sciences) should be applied to the exact science of performance measurement, so that one would maybe stop measuring a speed according to exact standards. But this seems meaningless so I hope that you mean something else that you have not yet been able to convey properly in words?

    If however you really don't have a point - as would seem to be the case based on your posts to date - would you mind going somewhere else to consume your free time in meaningless posts?

    Looking forward to your making a clear point rather than contradicting yourself within posts and sometimes within paragraphs ;-)

    Take care
  4. RatliffFranklin

    RatliffFranklin Previous Member

    Made the point. That you don't get it? Don't care.

    "The History of the Gold Cup Boats -- Part III
    My Next Record Attempt: Will Jet Propulsion Make Possible a New Speed Record? --Sir Malcolm Campbell

    As all the world of sport knows now, I intend shortly to make an attempt to better the world's water speed record of 141.7 mph, which already stands to my credit. A great many persons have asked me why I am going to essay to beat my own figures. Surely, they say, it would be enough to rest content until somebody else comes along to challenge the existing record and then go out to beat the new figures. Assuming, of course, that there were new figures to beat.

    Well, it goes rather deeper than the mere desire to set up a new record. Standing by themselves, these speed records may mean much or little, as the case may be. Of course, there is a great sense of personal satisfaction in setting a figure which challenges the opposition but, if that were all, I should without much hesitation say that the effort was scarcely worth the time, trouble and expense involving in building a world-beating car or boat or aeroplane. It certainly would not be worth while if the achievement did not constitute a landmark on the road of progress. Every time we set up a new record of speed, either on land or water or in the air, we have learned something which can be applied to development and have travelled another distance towards that relative perfection of the machine which is the goal of human endeavor.

    If I am fortunate enough to attain to new water-speed figures -- as I believe I shall, for reasons I will give a little later -- some valuable lessons will have been learned as to the practicability of propulsion by jet engines. So far, we know little or nothing about the possibilities. I think we can take it as certain that the jet principle can be best adapted to those purposes. It has certain characteristics and limitations which have to be studied and the problems arising must be solved before we can even visualize the liner propelled by jet engines.

    Although we know so little about the subject, I am very firmly convinced that we stand at the threshold of a new era in power propulsion. I believe the possibilities of the jet are infinite and I look forward to the day when engines of the reciprocating type will be as extinct as the dodo. Of course, it may be that even the jet engine and its development may be put out of business by the application of atomic energy to most forms of power generation. But against that I would point out that we actually have the jet as a practical proposition, whereas atomic energy still remains in the stage of scientific possibility only. Obviously, there is only the one course to pursue and that is to study from all angles the actually proposition we have in being, leaving the other to be brought, if possible, within the realm of practicability by the scientific enquirer. It would be the height of foolishness to neglect the concrete for the merely hypothetical. These, briefly, are the chief reasons why I have decided to attempt the use of a jet engine as a means of achieving a new world's record.

    To reinforce this line of reasoning, let me hark back to my original water-speed records. I made my first attempt in 1937, and achieved a speed of about 129 mph. The main conviction resulting from this was that much higher speeds could be attained in the future. I had used a single Rolls-Royce motor, developing something in the region of 2,000 hp. To attain a still higher speed, the question arose as to whether or not to use two similar engines. One the fact of it, it would seem obvious that here was the solution of greater speed. But there were two factors which had to be taken into consideration. There was, first of all, the one of increased weight, which would have meant that a larger hull would have to be designed and built, and it was by no means certain that even then the desired result would be attained without prolonged and expensive tests. The second factor which had to be reckoned with was an even more serious one, that of propeller slip. We found that as much as 20 per cent of the engine power developed was lost through inefficiency of the propeller. So it seemed that the best line to be explored in the search for more speed lay in the direction of improving propeller design. So we concentrated on that and, after considerable research and many exacting tests, we were able to improve the design so far that in 1939 I was able, with a new hull and the same engine, to increase the figure from 129 mph to 141.7 mph.

    Now, a new prime mover has arrived in the form of the jet engine. How is it to be applied and adapted to the propulsion of water-borne craft? In its present application to the aeroplane, the most usual form is where the jet exercises its thrust direct on the atmosphere. As we know, aircraft thus propelled have travelled at speeds well over 600 mph and there is every certainty that before long it will be possible to travel faster than the speed of sound. Indeed, it is scarcely too much to say that the future possibilities of speed in the air appear to have no practical defined limit when using the Stratosphere. And this, it must be borne in mind, has been brought into our line of vision solely through the invention and development of the jet engine. And the jet is only in its infancy as yet. Who can tell what the possibilities of the future may be? That future lies in the hands of those who are pioneering another new venture in the progress of human travel.

    Will the jet revolutionize sea travel as it has already done in the case of travel by air? Who knows? But my main reason for my forthcoming attempt on the record is to assist, so far as in me lies, in finding out just what are the possibilities.

    I have already referred to the enormous loss of propeller efficiency at high speeds. Now, we know from experience in the air that the jet engine can be used in conjunction with the conventional air screw. But if we use the combination for marine purposes we come up against the same problem of slip. So, to use a propeller for the record attempt would just tell us little more than we know now. So we have ruled that out.

    There remain, then, the two alternatives of using the jet conventionally, so to say, by directing the thrust against the atmosphere, and by submerging the jet and utilizing the pressure generated against the more resistant medium of the water itself. So far as I am aware, no exhaustive experiments in this latter direction have so far been made. Of course, propulsion by a submerged water jet is comparatively well know though I do not think it has achieved any remarkable results. In any case, this method bears no resemblance at all to the problem which will have to be tackled as some time or other. I say advisedly that it will have to be tackled, because in the light of present knowledge it seems that the main line of research in connection with marine propulsion by jet must entail its underwater use. It is perfectly obvious that it is not a practical proposition to propel ships, or even small craft, by engines that expell enormous volumes of hot gases into the atmosphere. Either we must use the jet or gas turbine to drive propellers or in the alternative manner by exhausting the gases under water.

    So far as concerns Bluebird, we are using a jet engine driving against the atmosphere. I am sorry that it is impossible for me to say at the moment anything about the technical details of the engine of its type and make.

    At the present moment, we are carrying out experimental tests in the Admiralty tank at Haslar and in the wind tunnel. These tests are chiefly directed to finding the correct line of thrust, upon which much depends. One interesting thing we have discovered is that, while the tank tests were perfectly satisfactory, leading to the belief that we had found out all we wanted to know about the hull, when we came to the wind tunnel tests we found that everything was, literally, "all over the shop." So we have had to make several important modfications in the deck design to eliminate the trouble. I think we have found out some of the things we wanted to know but it is obvious that in adopting an entirely new method of propulsion -- and one so revolutionary -- there are still many things we have to take on trust.

    We simply do not know how the boat is going to behave until we have an opportunity of actually trying her out under record-breaking conditions. While every possible test and trial is being made to ensure that things shall be right, we are faced with the fact that, while models tested in tank and wind tunnel may show perfect results, the unexpected may happen when we get down to the serious business of record breaking with the complete craft based on the results of these carefully carried out tests. However, all things lie in the lap of the gods and we can only hope for the best.

    I intend to make the attempt over the same course I used when I made my existing record in 1939. One of the chief difficulties which has to be surmounted by the aspirant for water-speed honors in England is to find a suitable stretch of water. In my previous attempts I tried all sorts of waters, both here and in Italy and Switzerland, but was never able to find the ideal stretch which would give sufficient smooth water for accelerating to maximum speed, then the clear mile for the record, succeeded by length enough for pulling up and then the acceleration stretch for the return run. It should be remarked that, to constitute a world's record, a mean of the speed over out and home runs is taken as the ultimate figure. Finally, I discovered Lake Coniston which came nearest to the conditions I was seeking. It is by no means ideal but I found it the best available. I dare say I could have found something better in the U.S. or on the Continent except for one thing, the expense attendant on conveying boat and staff to the selected venue.

    One important condition has to be observed if success is to be attained. That is, you must have dead smooth water for the attempt. You may have otherwise ideal conditions -- all the space you want, no obstructions and perfect visibility for timekeeping and the rest -- but you MUST have smooth water. I had investigated such waters as Loch Lomond, Lake Windermere, and several others in the Lake District of England, but there was always the trouble that either the lake was subject to the curious wind conditions so often found on landlocked waters, or the surface was disturbed by steam and motor craft to an extent that made it impossible to attempt really high speeds.

    So I decided at last on Coniston, which fulfils most of the necessary conditions. You do from time to time get smooth water -- unless, of course, there is a gale blowing; in that case you just hang around until it subsides. There is no traffic on the lake -- at least, none to speak of -- so there is no interference as there is, for instance, on Windermere, where by the way, the late Sir Henry Segrave came to his unfortunate end.

    So Coniston it is to be again. It has its drawbacks, chief of which is that it is in places only a half mile wide, which means that there is only some 44 yards on either side of the course. If all goes well, that does not matter, but it is certainly not too much if anything should happen to make Bluebird, traveling at full speed, take a sudden sheer. There are plenty of rocks at one end of the course, too, to make things more awkward! However!

    When do I intend to make the attempt? As soon as possible. I had planned to make it about the middle of September but, as I have already explained, the results of some of our tests have made necessary considerable modifications in the hull design of Bluebird, which will, I am afraid, mean that she will not be ready until early in the following month. October is a bit late in the year for these attempts, but I am hoping to have the luck of the weather and to bring off the attempt before we have real autumn conditions to contend with.

    What speed do I think I shall reach? I have no idea, except that it should be in excess of the existing figure of 141.7 mph. It certainly ought to be. Although, as I have already explained, I am precluded from saying anything about the engine I am going to use, I can say this: that the total power output, expressed in terms of thrust, will be a long way ahead of the power generated by the Rolls engine I used in setting up the present figures. I hope to be able, later on, to give the readers of Yachting not only all the essential details of engine and craft, but something about a new record and how it was achieved. But one never knows!

    (ED. NOTE--Sir Malcolm Campbell first tested his jet-powered Bluebird on June 12-13, 1947, on Lake Coniston. The boat proved unstable at 150 miles an hour in straightaway speed, prompting Campbell to postpone further high speed trials. The engine was a de Havilland Goblin II jet unit as used in the Vampire interceptor aircraft. The horsepower rating was 6,250.)

    (reprinted from Yachting magazine, November 1946)"
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007
  5. Vega
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Vega Senior Member

    Many good things come from France, regarding sailing boats, but I agree with you about the Hydroptere. It is not a machine made only to break a record on a very strict set of wind and sail conditions, but a boat that will go also after ocean sailing records in very different sea and wind conditions. It is a real sailboat, not only a sail speed machine:)
    Another remarkable thing is the development time...long, very long (and very expensive) and always improving on a concept. I am a fan, I wish them the best of luck. They deserve that 50k record.
  6. RatliffFranklin

    RatliffFranklin Previous Member

    Neat Stuff

    I thought the 350 mph train was pretty cool too.

    Here were people in street clothes going about 150 mph faster than the typical racecar driver.
  7. antoineb
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    antoineb Junior Member

    Hey Vega, you're right

    you know, I just wonder why people keep emphasizing how long it took to develop the Hydroptère, and at what cost, and typically then compare to winsurfers.

    Let's start with development time: as far as I know windsurfers have been around since the late 60's for the earliest models, and the "Windsurfer" brand dates back to 1973. So between the first commercial "Windsurfer" models, and today's high speed boards, you've got over 30 YEARS of development until the current high speeds were reached.

    Let's then look at the money. Sure the extra board and sail produced today, cost a mere thousand bucks. This is because of economies of scale in production, and because of all the R&D that was done on the tens if not hundreds of thousands of high performance boards in the past. Suppose each new slightly modified design costs a few thousand at the marginal production cost, multiply this by a few thousand boards on which small changes were tested (including by consumers), you easily get to a few million dollars. Add to this all the design labs and the cost of building the factories that make the boards and the sails, and you very certainly get to a total amount of R&D money that dwards the money spent on Hydroptère.

    So, sure, the last marginal board produced is cheap. But that's not a fair comparison because one craft is a unique item, and the other is produced in huge numbers with the usual economies of scale.

    Again, I'm not taking sides here: let's have people beat speed records, and who cares what kind of craft they use.

    But I wanted to correct what I perceive as an error in the perception of the process.
  8. boogie
    Joined: Feb 2004
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    boogie Member

    hey antoineb,

    i don't think it is quite fair to isolate the development of l'Hydroptere out of the general developments of boats and then throw all windsurfers into one basket.

    boats have been around for a lot longer than windsurfers and even if you cut it down to race sailing boats, they have been around for a lot longer than the whole windsurfing industry. it is pretty obvious that a lot of the features on l'Hydroptere are based on yacht design...

    there is so much cross devolpment in this whole field of wind driven water craft that you can never make a true comparison of development time or resources.
    it will always be a comparison of apples and oranges.

  9. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Records Ratified!

    The WSSR Council announces the ratification of 2 new World Records, both by Hydroptère, an 18m ocean going hydrofoil sailing yacht:
    Record: World Record Nautical Mile
    Yacht: Hydroptère
    Sailed by: Alain Thebault FRA and a crew of 6. Dates: 4th April 2007 Elapsed Time: 86.7 seconds over 1853.93 metres. Average speed corrected for current: 41.69 kts Venue: Quiberon Bay, France. Previous nautical mile record: Bjorn Dunkerbeck, Windsurfer. 41.14 kts, Walvis Bay in October 2006.
    Record: World Record "D Class"
    Yacht: Hydroptère
    Sailed by: Alain Thebault FRA and a crew of 6. Dates: 4th April 2007 Elapsed Time: 21.80 seconds over 500.96 metres Average speed corrected for current: 44.81 kts Venue: Quiberon Bay, France. Previous "D" class record: Navarin/Columbo, Techniques Avancees. 42.12 kts, Toulon 1997
    For photos and video of Hydroptère: Congratulations to Hyrdroptere! Now for 50!
  10. xarax

    xarax Previous Member

  11. antoineb
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    antoineb Junior Member

    Hydroptere team announces it will shoot for 50 knots this winter

    The Hydroptere team have announced that they will give a serious shot at the 50 knots this winter 2007.

    Either they've read all our posts and the emails sent them, or they're simply pretty smart. In any case they will work w the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in order to modify the craft to have it more likely to go faster. As man of us have suggested, this will likely involve a lot of small aerodynamic improvements (the arms have a square front section, and a gap in the middle creating a lot of drag, there are lots of cables hanging out, etc.). And if the sponsors are generous enough I guess one could imagine to see a wing to be rigged for absolute record attempts only.

    And while the engineers and architects think about all this, and then while the shipyard which already made the newer amas works at building the modified parts (this is the same shipyard that made the Alinghis, and that makes the Decision 35 super-light one class catamarans), the Hydroptere sailors will, as announced earlier, aim to establish a few ocean going records.

    We know they can do over 44 knots average over 500m, and top speed of 47.6 knots. In my view, and as i've said earlier, at such speeds better aerodynamics can add a few knots. And, on the day they achieved their current records, they had a forgiving sea but clearly were a little light on the wind. So say 1-2 extra knots if they have perfect wind. So the question will be about how big is the sum from the "few knots" of better aerodynamics, plus the 1-2 from ideal wind. For the time being I'd say 50-50 for their chance of doing 50 or more over 500m (and nearly 100pc chance of achieving instantaneous top speed of 50).

    All this with a craft that can sail for days, i.e. something that represents a huge breakthrough.
    1 person likes this.
  12. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Reach vs Grasp

    Not to be too cheesy about this, Antoine... but sailing for days is a quantum leap beyond shooting for very short course records, whatever the boat. Has Hydroptere ever demonstrated that it can "sail for days" at consistently high speeds, much less at the conventionally regarded high speeds of the maxi-cats and tris?

    I would equate this difference to the launching of a rocket for a couple of hundred miles vs sending one to the moon, accurately. Not the same ball game at all.

  13. antoineb
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    antoineb Junior Member

    don't worry Chris

    i'm sure you're not cheesy don't worry, i follow your posts regularly and you sound quite reasonable ;-)

    you're right, we don't have data for the ocean-going capabilities of the newer version of Hydroptere.

    As for the previous version (very aged rig and sails, pods that planted into the waves) we have only the Channel crossing of a mere 19 nm at a modest 33 knots average speed (though this included a few "crash landings" that the new version would be much less likely to experience). And 33 knots while solid, is not beyond the capabilities of, say, a Groupama 2 (ORMA class).

    the most classic ocean-going record, North Atlantic, is 2950nm on the shortest route. So the older version of Hydroptere had shown good speed at sea on about 0.6 percent of a North Atlantic record.

    to use your rocket analogy, this would be a rocket going up not "a few miles", but rather 1'500 miles. This may be modest, but it would already be pretty impressive (note that Burt Rutan's craft went up to 60 miles to win the X-Prize). Meanwhile, the 500 meters of the world speed record would be the equivalent of a rocket going up 21 miles.

    Hydroptere's older version's only trans-atlantic attempt, which ended up with an accident on the 2nd day, only served to show that the craft was under powered for light airs. And my personal take is that the short "amas" are not ideal for light air sailing, even if the new rig is much more powerful, allowing the boat to take off in about 10 knots of wind.

    I totally agree with you when you advise moderation in the enthusiasm around Hydroptere's future potential. The Hydroptere team themselves only speak of "attempts" and don't make any claims that it will be certain or easy.

    Where I agree with you less, is when you seem to put windsurfers, with their ability to do high speeds only on very, very short distances, above anything else. I don't think that taking partisan views is a good thing. Personally if a windsurfer takes back the nautical mile record I'll be happy for the greater good of sailing. And should a windsurfer average a mere 33 knots over 19 nm, I'd be very happy also.

    The point is, let's be open-minded, and let's continue to watch, as these are exciting and fun times.

    take care
  14. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest


    Hate to have to wait for 50 but their approach sounds well thought out. One of the most important contributions Hydroptere will, hopefully, make is to prove their radar/sonar system which should allow them to avoid partially submerged or just under the surface floating junk. I hope that system works-it will be quite an advance for ocean going sailing hydrofoils.

  15. BWD
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    BWD Senior Member

    not to stir it up at all but don't forget the alternative(s):
    Kitesurfer speed bursts >50knots, >45 over 500m already (thx tilman heinig)
    Longboarding may stage a comeback! ;) -again
    The future beckons....

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