The other Fastest Sailboat on the Planet

… apparently is now the Hydroptère – and again, right after breaking the speed record, they broke the boat.

Alain Thébault now claims to have reached 61 knots (70 MPH/113KMH) with his 6-ton sailing hydrofoil yacht before it flipped upside down! No one on the team was seriously injured, but the boat looks like it’s in rough shape. Both Thébault and Paul Larsen are seriously pushing the limits of sailing – reaching incredible speeds, and occasionally paying the price for pushing too hard. I just hope that they are careful enough and no one gets seriously injured. So far they were lucky. But still, beyond the adventure, I see this as important research, in a way, because these are radically new designs for wind propelled boats. Either of these technologies has the potential not only to make these guys famous, but to fuel the resurgence of interest in wind-propelled ships, like Skysails’ kites and other innovative designs.

Other sailing news:

Last week, I was following the story of the rescue of Yann Eliès, the skipper in the Vendée Globe race who had to be rescued by the Australian Navy in the middle of the Southern Ocean after he broke his thigh when his boat slammed into a wave. He spent more than a day on the floor of the cabin, while his 30-foot racing yacht was buffeted about by the huge swells in the Southern Ocean. The excruciating pain rendered him immobile, and he could not reach the first aid kit with the pain killers. This is a very scary scenario for these solo skippers. I remember, four years ago one of the yachts was flipped by a 30-foot (10-meter) wave and did an “Eskimo roll” – turning right side up after what must have seemed like an eternity to the skipper! He was unharmed, fixed his boat and continued the race.

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