One goal: breaking the sailing speed record


On November 24th 2012, Paul Larsen took the sailing world by surprise by smashing the World Speed Sailing Record with an average speed of 121,1 km/h on a 500m track. Today, his record remains unbeaten.

SP80 is a team of EPFL students and Alumni who believe that through the combination of sailing, kitesurfing and engineering principles, they can significantly outperform this standing World Sailing Speed Record.

They are imagining unique solutions and novel concepts that have potential in the sailing world. By establishing a new record, they will demonstrate the application of a new set of tools in fast marine transport, offshore sailing and energy production.

The SP80 team is now building a boat capable of reaching 150 km/h (80 knots) with the wind as its sole source of power.

Created in 2018, the project is composed of 2 entities : the SP80 company owns and manages the overall project and the SP80 student association furthers the link with the EPFL community.

With this organisation, the students get the chance to contribute to a challenging project which will make them better engineers while the SP80 team gains access to a talent pool of creative minds as well as the school’s facilities to increase their chances of breaking the record in 2023.

Website: https://sp80.ch/

Why is it important to prototype your ideas? To progress quickly in your project and test your hypotheses.

Below is the story behind the SP80 prototype (scale 1/2), developed in part by EPFL students, which validated many hypotheses that were difficult to test by computer simulation. This prototype is partly responsible for the important evolution of the initial design imagined by the SP80 team (see gallery below).


Manager: Mayeul van den Broek

EPFL Coordinator: Robin Amacher (Laboratory of Processing of Advanced Composites – LPAC)

Academic Responsible : Véronique Michaud (LPAC)