During the development of its boat that is now close to its final design phase, the SP80 team has chosen
Fischer Connectors for the data-transmission solutions interconnecting the various sensors that will equip the
boat and its pilot to break the world sailing speed record. The technical challenge is to sail at a speed of 80
knots (148.16 km/h), powered only by the wind. This is 14.55 knots faster than the record of 65.45 knots
(121.21 km/h) set in 2012.
The carbon-fiber SP80 boat looks like a Formula 1 car combined with a fighter jet designed specially to glide on the water, featuring a super-ventilating triangular hydrofoil and towed by a huge kite wing. “Several projects are in the running to break the long-standing world sailing speed record,” says Mayeul van den Broek, CEO of the SP80 startup based in Renens near Lausanne, Switzerland, and created in 2019 by a team of engineers and students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). “This technological adventure is fascinating, as we’re confronted with extremely challenging physical laws. That’s why our international team of nearly 50 people, some of whom are now finalizing the innovative design of our boat which is being built in Persico Marine’s shipyard in Italy, is anxious to get the very best in terms of data- transmission performance and reliability. These technical requirements are crucial when it comes to interconnecting the various sensors with which our boat and its pilot will be equipped during the launch and the boat’s enhancement runs scheduled for the end of the year, and the record-breaking event scheduled for next year.”
The data collected by the multiple sensors and loggers monitoring the boat’s structure and the pilot’s performance will be transferred through the connectors, associated cables and electronic solutions of Fischer Connectors, the Swiss-headquartered supplier of high-performance connectivity solutions that are world-renowned for their ruggedness and resistance to demanding operating conditions such as marine and underwater, defense & security, medical and test & measurement.
“The technology partnership with Fischer Connectors is a logical step forward in our record-breaking ambition,” explains van den Broek. “The innovations we’re putting in place to enhance our boat’s aerodynamics above water and minimize the friction of its hull and foil under water need to be monitored during the boat’s development phase as well as during the speed run itself. To ensure the efficient transfer of these monitoring data, we need a solutions provider that has not only expertise in signal integrity and data transmission and management, but also a holistic approach to electronic systems in order to provide the end-to-end connectivity solutions required for our sensing system.”
During the design phase, sensors are used to improve and control the robustness of the high-performance materials (carbon, titan, stainless steel) of the boat’s structure. Thanks to the design of the super-ventilated foil, stability is optimized and the impact of cavitation – a phenomenon in which water starts boiling around foils at extreme velocities, slowing the boat down – is avoided. During the speed run, data are collected from the various electronic modules and control sensors directly integrated into the boat, and from the monitoring sensor communications between the pilot and the technical crew on shore, including biometric data transferred through sensors worn on the pilot’s body such as vital and security parameters.
“The SP80 project is exciting and inspiring,” says Fischer Connectors’ CEO Jonathan Brossard, “as it combines innovation and performance to push the boundaries of physical laws thanks to unique solutions and daring concepts. One member of the SP80 R&D team is part of our own R&D center, making the exchange of expertise all the more efficient and easier. We look forward to discovering the technological breakthroughs on which the SP80 team is working, and which Fischer Connectors is proud to support.”
The final design of the boat for the record will be revealed to the public in spring 2022. The launching of the boat will take place at the end of 2022, while the first tests are scheduled in the South of France for the spring or autumn of 2023 – the two periods of the year that offer the best weather conditions for sailing.
This press release and the HD images below can be downloaded here (Dropbox).
Two 3D renderings of the SP80 sailing on water (photo courtesy of SP80)
Under construction at Persico Marine’s shipyard. Left: bulkheads on the main hull. Right: mold of the main hull (photo courtesy of SP80)
Created in 2019 by three young engineers obsessed with kiting, sailing and speed, SP80 currently brings
together a team of nearly 50 engineers & students from EPFL with one goal: breaking the world sailing
speed record and reaching 80 knots (150km/h) on water. To do so, the team is ready to shake up sailing
conventions: SP80 has designed an innovative and daring boat powered by a kite. After testing a prototype
on Lake Geneva in 2020, the boat for the record is today under construction at Persico Marine in Italy and
will be unleashed on the water by the end of 2022.
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About Fischer Connectors
Fischer Connectors designs, develops, and deploys high-performance connectivity solutions that are world- renowned for their high reliability, durability and quality in harsh environments.
Tested to MIL-SPEC and IEC standards, RoHS and REACH compliant, Fischer Connectors’ products and solutions use the latest technologies in ruggedness, sealing, high density and data transmission, which have made the Swiss-based company the preferred supplier and global connectivity partner of leading electronic systems, device and component manufacturers worldwide for various demanding application fields such as defense & security, medical, and test & measurement.
Headquartered in Saint-Prex, Switzerland (Canton of Vaud), where its R&D Center and manufacturing facilities are also located, the Fischer Connectors Group has cable assembly sites in EMEA, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. The Group also includes local subsidiaries, a wide network of distributors and agents all over the world. In 2019, it created Wearin’, a spin-off dedicated to connected wearable technology maximizing the safety and performance of the connected human.
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