April 22 2021
North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT), a world leader in pre-impregnated materials, has also contributed to the endeavour by supplying Carbon TPT for the boat’s structure.
The team can now get to work on the crucial stage of producing the sailing boat, which will have to reach a speed of 80 knots (150 km/h) using the wind as its sole source of power.
“Fuelled by the desire to achieve their goal, SP80 are ready to shake up sailing conventions. This same daring spirit has been guiding our brand for the last 20 years. In this young company, we see the effervescence of an enthusiastic and talented team,” says Tim Malachard, Marketing Director at Richard Mille.
SP80 was founded in 2018 by Xavier Lepercq, Benoît Gaudiot and Mayeul van den Broek, three engineers who are passionate about kitesurfing, sailing boats of every kind, and ocean crossings. Today, their company comprises some 40 engineers and students from EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne).
To break the world speed record of 65,45 knots (121,21 km/h) set in 2012, the SP80 team set out to find a completely innovative solution.
It is thus developing a sailing boat with a design unlike any other, measuring 7 m long and 6 m wide with a hull made entirely from Carbon TPT and propelled by a kite spanning 20 m.
Midway between a boat, a plane and a Formula 1 car, the engineering company has developed a special ‘super-ventilated’ foil that positions the sailing boat at the surface of the water to guarantee its stability at high speed. In doing so, this technology avoids the phenomenon of cavitation, where water vaporised due to an excessive decrease in pressure affects performance.
The team has also filed a patent for a power management system, which transmits all the power from the kite to the boat’s foil while maintaining stability at high speed. It is a design that is sure to go down in history.
“This is a partnership between two Swiss companies that are committed to high performance, exceptional feats and innovation,” explains Mayeul van den Broek, co-founder of SP80. “Even our respective production processes are similar in their use of Carbon TPT, which features in both Mille watches and our boat. Richard Mille’s involvement in the SP80 adventure is a source of great pride and incredible motivation for our young team. It means that we can step up our development and begin building our sailing boat, so that it can make its first journeys out to sea in 2022.”