Tuesday, October 21, 2008
CNN reports that the French trimiran ________ (imagine a bunch of vowels and accents in that space) has sailed at a speed of 53 knots, about 60 miles per hour, in training runs before going for the record. The official test is over a 500 meter course. Current record is about 48 knots and held by kite or wind surfer. This site shows some video of this crazy boat underway.
The crew was happy enough after the test run but pretty down about the fact that they can't possibly light their cigarettes at this speed. Se la vie!
Interesting is the fact that the perfect winds for breaking the record are between 20 and 25 knots. That's about half their speed over the water which is a dramatic example of the fact that sailboats are not simply being blown across the water but are cleverly designed wings to redirect the airflow and get 'lifted' (sideways) across the water. Certainly the faster the wind the more force can be generated but boat speed is not equal to wind speed typically.