Everyone wants to be FASTEST….
The prospect of sailing fastest has tantalised many - including us.
Lots of attempts have been made to break Yellow Pages Endeavour's 1993 world record of 46.52 knots.
It would be 12 years before Finian Maynard achieved 48.70 knots - on a sailboard!
In March 2008, Antoine ALBEAU lifted the outright world speed record to 49.09 knots.
The French team developing Hydropteré are serious contenders.
In recent weeks a British group have reported their Sailrocket has exceeded 40 knots in Namibia.
Australian teams Macquarie Innovation and WotRocket have their ‘eyes on the prize’ as well.
However, after 10 years, 50 knots/ 57 mph/ 93 km/hr is still a dream.
Sailing technology is ready for a breakthrough.
What are the factors that limit the speed of conventional sailing craft?
In all 'conventional' craft there is a tipping moment that is produced by the driving and keel reaction forces.
In particular, the wind-generated driving forces which may be visualised as acting part-way up the mainsail, are opposed by keel reaction forces acting just below the waterline.
The effect of this moment is to tip the craft leeward or, in a following breeze, cause it to pitch-pole.
All measures used to oppose or 'balance' this moment have a negative impact on speed.
For example:
1. Adding ballast increases weight > increases the wetted area > greater drag.
2. Using body weight or multi hulls to balance the wind force works OK to the point of instability - which determines the ultimate speed.
It is as if the laws of physics have conspired to limit the speed of wind-driven craft to less than 50 knots - until now...
Left: On 5 March 2008 Antoine ALBEAU set the current outright world speed record of 49.09 knots in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, France on a custom Neil Pryde Sailboard.
Below: Another serious contender is Hydroptére which has achieved >47 knots
Yellow Pages Endeavour achieved 46.52 knots  in 1993.
Sails on one tack only and so has limited real-world relevance