The Swedish Speed Sailing Challenge

The outright sailing speed record is 49.09 knots, set by Antoine Albeau at Saintes Maries de la Mer in southern France on 5th March 2008. Video of the record run. The previous record speed of 48.7 knots was set by Finian Maynard in April 2005. After more than 10 years of attempts to increase record speed above 50 knots by several American, Australian and European projects, the "50-knot barrier" has become the Holy Grail of speed-sailing. We are planning to pass the 50-knot barrier with a revolutionary sailing craft and world-class composite-construction technique.

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The last year we have been sailing with our new wing-sail on Stora Värtan north of Stockholm. The advantage with this place is that the waves are quite small, but the wind has usually been too low for record speed. The new wing is an improvement, although it is smaller than the old one it has enough power. The advantage with the reduced sail area is that the wing is more robust, easier to handle in strong wind, and handles wind-gusts better at high speed. We have also built a new paravane, designed for safe sailing speed up to 60 knots in high modulus carbon. The size is the same as for the old one, but it is stiffer, and has some other small improvements in the design. We tested the new paravane at record speed beside a 32 feet Rupert RIB, which was an excellent platform for such tests. Thanks to these measurements we were able to adjust the paravane so the drag was reduced by 20 %. Our major problem seems to be that steady wind above 14 knots is unusual on our present spot of water. On one occasion e.g, we measured wind-gusts up to 30 knots, and the boat accelerated like a rocket, but stopped abruptly at some 30+ knots because the wind suddenly died. The good thing we learnt that day was that the boat is very robust, and can handle much more wind than the 17 to 20 knots required for record speed. Now we have also built an 11 m plywood box where all components of the boat and wingsail can be stowed and carried in a safe way. This will make it possible to go and practise at places with more steady wind.


Watch the latest video [7.9 Mb] from the high-speed tests in Stockholm. The Speedsailer at Stora Värtan


We are now building a new wing-sail with improved gust-characteristics. The new wingsail is built in carbon-fibre and NM-650 laminating epoxy from Epotex, which has long potlife and superior strength, on a low density foam core. We expect to be out sailing again later in the summer.


The outright world sailing speed record has been beaten again on 10th April 2005 by Finian Maynard (BVI) at St Maries de la Mer in southern France. The new world record of 48.7 knots has been ratified by the WSSRC.


The world speed sailing record has been beaten on 13th November 2004 by Finian Maynard in France. (subject to ratification by WSSRC). The new record of 46.82 knots is 0.3 knots over the previous one set by Yellow Pages Endeavour in October 1993.


Paravane Tests at 50 kn We have finished the testing of the Paravane at record speeds. This was possible thanks to Roland Fredriksson who kindly helped us with his racing powerboat, which was an excellent tool for these tests, where he used the trim-planes in a clever way to counteract the side-force from the Paravane. The trim of the Paravave have been adjusted for optimum performance at record speeds. We are now ready for speeds in the 40-50 knot range.


The Daily Sail The Daily Sail features an article about the Swedish Speed Sailing Challenge


SailingThe sailing continues outside Stockholm. The boat shows an impressive performance and have proven a lot easier to sail than we first expected. One minor problem is that the visibility for the helmsman is rather poor, but since it isn't possible to steer the boat anyway it hasn't become a problem yet. Only a few incidents resulting in a capsize have occured, all without any damage. Quicktime movie showing the boat at 30-35 knots with Alexander Sahlin pulling the sheet. (Yes, we are looking for a larger motorboat to shoot videos from.)


Sailing First sailing trials after the winter were very successful under sunny skies with a gentle breeze of 7 m/s. We logged about 33.0 knots on relatively rough waters outside Stockholm. The sailing was smooth and stable and the boat was easy to handle. Sheet in and hang on - kind of experience. Have a look at a bumpy video ( quicktime , avi ) and a few pictures . The performance of the boat is very promising to say the least. We will step up the speed during the next weeks.


Visit The Stockholm International Boat Show 2004, 27 February - 7 March 2004, and have a look at our speed boat in the innovation expo.


Snšfall bogsering The test sailing of the new boat continues in Stockholm. The weather have been unusually calm lately, with winds of about 5 m/s. This is somewhat under what we need to reach the high speeds the boat was designed for. We have mainly been sailing just above planing conditions with a few short high-speed bursts during gusts. The advantage being that we have had a lot of experience in handling the boat in conditions that we could easily manage without damaging the boat. The tests so far have given us many ideas on how to improve the boat, especially the handling characteristics at low speed where we have had some problems with the course stability before getting into planing mode.

Pictures show Alexander preparing to leave the harbour before being towed out on the bay by Jens.


sailing Today we made some highly successful runs at wind speeds around 5 m/s. Despite the terrible weather in Stockholm now, with temperatures around 0 °C and only 4 °C in the water and persistent snow fall all day. We have overcome the control problems at low speed, that we had in the beginning, and made the transition into planing mode. The boat accelerates very quickly and is completely stable at high speed, as our previous model and full scale studies have shown. We will continue the testing this year until it's no longer possible (ice).


sailing The last month we have done a lot of testing on the water, sailing as well as towing the boat and the paravane. The sailing tests have confirmed that the boat is practical to handle when launching the paravane, when sailing and when towing backwards. We have made a lot of minor adjustments on the paravane, on the lines between the wing and paravane and on the bowsprit. After a windward capsize during a start at too large true wind-angle we are very happy with our all carbonfibre wingsail and very rigid wing-attachment, that suffered no damage at all. Now we are just waiting for 12 knots+ winds so we can start exploring the speed-potential for the boat with proper tuning.


Our speedsailer is featured on the last page of the swedish weakly technical newspaper Ny Teknik (no. 46, nov. 12, 2003). Read the article (in swedish) and have a look at the illustration.


Sailing First sailing trials today. Winds of 8-10 m/s stopped us from sailing during the day but just before sunset the wind decreased to 2-4 m/s so we launched the boat and pulled it out on the bay. The wind was not strong enough to lift the leeward hull but it was a start. The light disappeared so we really don't have any good pictures.


Roll-out Roll-out. The speedsailer is now ready for sailing and was taken out of the workshop today. The wingsail was mounted for the first time. The Champagne was flowing (and the rain too) at this special event that was witnessed by some twenty friends and supporters. Göran, Alexander and Jens is seen standing in front of the craft. Sailing begins shortly.


Alex and Jens with main hull The hull is now ready for painting and instrumentation. The all-up weight excluding paint and instrumentation and crew is 101 kg. Silva are supporting us with all instruments for the boat. The system will allow us to monitor all the relevant data during the runs with high accuracy.


The hull and deck was built in one piece, using the same technique as Sail-Center does for their A-cat hulls.


A two-piece hull mold was built on the plug in carbon-fiber from Svenska Tanso and heat-resistant Araldite epoxy.


Alex and Jens with the mold Alexander and Jens besides the male mold for the main hull that was finished today. The female mold will be made in carbon and epoxy allowing us to use the autoclave at sail-center for the curing of the pre-preg nomex sandwich of the final hull. The male mold was cut from blocks of styrofoam using a CNC hot-wire cutter at FOI and then sanded and painted to finish.


Famous swedish powerboat designer Ocke Mannerfeldt was engaged to help with the hydrodynamic design of the planing hull.


Stockholm Boat Show March 2003 The wing-sail and a model of our craft is shown on Stockholm Boat Show in at a section showing innovations for boating. A large interest was generated by the 11 m long wing, weighing only 35 kg, cutting off most of the exhibition area. Take part of the information leaflet (in swedish) that was handed out at the fair.

Sept-2002 to January-2003

Wingsail under construction The wingsail was built in Sail-Centers facilities in Åtvidaberg. 11 m long with area 12.5 m^2. Total weight: 37 kg.

June to August-2002

Mold for the wing The moulds for the wing-sail was built.


Some high-precision moulds for paravane-components was built.


The wing-section was redesigned to become more tolerant for turbulence and having a more gentle stall behavior.


The wing-section for the sail was tested in a wind-tunnel at FOIfor evaluating the high-lift performance.


Based on the results from the paravane tests on the M-20 and towing tests on the paravane we designed a 12.5 m^2 wing-sail one-tack paravane-stabilized boat with planing hull and planing ski on bowsprit.


Paravane on M20 This weekend we have been evaluating the Paravane concept in Loftahammar, for the second time, using a modified Marström M20 catamaran. The highest recorded speed achieved was about 29 knots measured by the GPS set at 10 seconds averaging. The main source of drag seems to be the catamaran hull that is optimized for substantially lower speeds. We are also are also having difficulties with the rig that is to soft for the forces generated by the high speeds. It is almost impossible to sheet in hard enough at speed. The sheeting have to be done at standstill which is not very optimal.


First trials using the M20 First test of the Paravane concept using a Marström M-20 catamaran. In the light summer breeze we sailed up to 20 kn in the beautiful harbour of Loftahammar.

March to May-2001

A new paravane, optimized for speed around 50 knots was designed and built.


Paravane on M20 We contacted Göran Marström at Sail-Center, who was also very keen on having a shot at the 50-knot "barrier". Now we had 3 of 4 necessary ingredients: 1) the concept of a sailing craft faster than anything on water. 2) A sound knowledge of fluid-dynamics. 3) world-class composite construction techniques. The 4:th ingredient, i.e. sponsorship was expected to become available when we got something to show on the water.
A novel craft using the Paravane to counteract the sail force to create a boat without a healing moment was designed. The 'Swedish Speed Sailing Challenge' was formed.

Before 2001

Alexander and Jens have discussed different high-speed sailing craft during some 15 years. 1999 to 2000 Alexander made some very successful developments on paravanes for stabilizing sailboats.