In 2022, Gin Kiteboarding became an official supporter and kite supplier for the SP80 project, which consists in shattering the current world sailing speed record with a giant trimaran boat developed internally, hauled by a giant kite. After introducing our collaboration last September, it is time to take stock of the situation with the SP80 Team to see how far they have come towards their ambitious goal. First major scoop: the boat will certainly be launched on the water in July 2023 for the first time, with a final deadline to achieve the record set to Spring 2024.
Click here to read more about the collaboration.
The latest main add-on to SP80’s development setup is undoubtedly their custom-built test rig that serves the purpose of validating the steering system from inside the boat. Instead of a bar like for kitesurfing, a steering wheel coupled with a lever will give the necessary power. A series of tests were conducted last November in the South of France, with wind conditions that will be the closest to reality. The whole purpose of these tests is: to manage to launch the kite from the water and steer it with a control system, “like in the boat”.
What worked well was the ease of piloting a kite, even for the ones who had never done it before. And as for the regulars, moving from a bar to a steering wheel was relatively intuitive. The tests started with a small 9m2 kite, and they increased in size until reaching 44m2.
The trim system (lever) functions smoothly, but it is relatively non-ergonomic for the boat, so it had to be refined. On top of that, piloting with video feedback was also a first. As the visibility inside the cockpit will be pretty limited, it is imperative for the pilots to have a video feed of the kite, especially for launching and landing. But fortunately, it happened to be very intuitive as well.
The team also carried out some kite launching and landing tests in situations with the same constraints as if they were launched from the water. A precise procedure to follow must be in place by July. Those precise tests were performed with a Boom V2 9m2, 11m2 and 21m2, which contributed to the elaboration of the very first kite prototype, currently in the making with Hans Bollinger, our kite foil engineer at Gin Kiteboarding.
We currently have one in the making, based on the results of the latest tests. It will be a 30m2 kite, based on a Gin kite, but with an adapted bridle plan to suit the hydraulic control system inside the boat. That prototype will be tested at the end of February in the South of France. The team will then build on that base to develop the next prototype to optimize the boat’s performance.
In addition to that prototype, a reinforced 10m2 Gin kite will be tested on a specialized car trailer equipped with a balance. The goal of these future tests is to target the kite’s performance by holding it up in a fixed position and to measure the forces that apply, as well as the direction.
The test rig also allows for testing of the kite’s emergency release system in a secure way. It is crucial for the 2 pilots onboard to be in a position to cut the kite’s power at any given time!
Globally speaking, the project is progressing well, with great goals and accomplishments for every team. Many prototypes have been gone over for the inside of the cockpit, such as the piloting system or the seats. The integration team also put a lot of work into the polycarbonate skylight, which had to be sanded to the boat’s shape and solidified with a carbon frame.
The mechanical and electrical team currently have their hands full with the external arm, to which the kite lines will eventually be attached. The whole purpose of this power module is, to turn according to the position of the kite to align the forces with the foils.
And all of this hard work will make even more sense when the second part of the boat finally enters the SP80 headquarters in March. For sure an emotional moment for the whole team, as they keep reaching major milestones together.
July 2023 is the official deadline for the first launch on the water in South France. By then, the team will have prototypes ready for the foil and the kite that will be closer than ever to the final result. The idea is to first test the boat with small kites and gradually increase in size and speed as the pilots get more comfortable.
Everything is finally coming together! Even with a boat that won’t be 100% optimized, it is a huge accomplishment to put it out on the water after 3 years of work. Everyone is absolutely psyched at that prospect, and this memorable landmark will for sure boost the troops and represent a big step forward in the project.
That wave of energy will sail the team straight to their record that will officially take place in Spring 2024.
The 3 Major Milestones to Achieve
- Launch the boat on the water
- Break the world’s current sailing speed record
- Sail as fast as possible
Find out more here!