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Can This Eco-Friendly Sailboat Break Speed Records?

Moonshot I will soon pass the 80-knot mark (over 92 mph) in the next year.

French startup Syroco hopes its boat Moonshot I will soon pass the 80-knot mark (over 92 mph) in the next year, according to the Robb Report. To do this the firm is targeting some pretty ambitious achievements.

"Keeping true to Syroco’s pioneering spirit and thirst for discovery, research has already made it possible to question fundamental paradigms in naval architecture. For only research, coupled with excellence in commitment and execution, can make possible the Moonshot Challenges, the pioneering achievements targeted by Syroco," states Syroco's website.

The firm has the right leadership to achieve this lofty goal. Co-founder of Syroco Alexandre Caizergues is the two-time World Sailing Speed Recordman (2008, 2010), four-time Kite Speed World Champion (2007, 2009, 2013, 2017), and the current Kite Speed Recordman at 107.36 km/h. 

Caizergues and his partner, Yves de Montcheuil, used a team of sailors, naval architects, and even specialists from the helicopter sector to design their new sailboat in an attempt to make it as safe as it is efficient and speedy—and even eco friendly. The final result is a kite combined with a 20-foot-long pod that holds two people. 

Moonshot I is an expert vessel that uses foils to stay grounded to the water and kites to provide propulsion. Building the vessel was not without complications, however.

The engineers had to deal with cavitation (the air bubbles that build up as the foils move faster) at speeds that no sailing vessel had ever undertaken before. They had to find a foil shape that could work at both high and low speeds in order to use the power of cavitation instead of fighting against it. 

In order to achieve this, they engineered foils that use “super-cavitation” found most commonly in torpedoes and some propellers. Now, Syroco plans to use its innovations to help shipbuilders make more efficient and eco-friendly hulls while preparing to break speed records with Moonshot I, which it hopes to do next year.

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