Sunday, December 4, 2011

Worlds Fastest Sailboats

I thought you all might like to see the officially recorded fastest speeds for sailboats. The debate about how fast sailboats can go and/or speed differences between monohulls and multihulls can sometimes be a ridiculously serious debate. It can be like talking about politics. So I think the best way to resolve this debate is to state facts, so here are the facts as supplied by the World Speed Sailing Records Council.

Currently the all out top speed record (over 500 meters) is 51.36 knots, which is almost 60 mph (59.33 MPH). This record goes to the trimaran on foils called the l’Hydroptere. Currently this boat is sailed on protected waters away from big waves when hitting those speeds but the inventors of this boat are currently testing an Ocean going model that they say currently is living up to their expectations. So look for many ocean records to be broke shortly. Currently the kiteboard (not considered a boat or sailboat) is the fastest wind power craft at 55 knots, however I think the I’Hydroptere developed with a wing sail will surpass this record. The windsurfer (sailboard) is close at 49.09 knots (also not really considered a sailboat. Some call it a monohull sailboat, really?). Check out the I’Hydroptere video.

The 131 trimaran Banque Populaire skipper by Pascal Bidegorry of France currently holds the fastest 24 hour record at 37.84 knots for 908.2 nautical miles. Check out the video!

Not only does the 131 foot Trimaran Banque Populaire V skippered by Loick Peyron have the 24 hour record but also has what some considered previously to be an impossible feat, that is to break 48 days sailing around the world. Banque Populaire V set the Circumnavigation record at 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes, 53 seconds averaging 26.50 knots. Even more amazing is the closest a power boat could get to this record was 60 days with the jet boat Ady Gil. However this was not non stop as they had to stop 12 times to refuel. The USS Navy nuclear-powered submarine USS Triton also did it in 60 days… 2 hours faster and non stop totally submerged. There is another project in the works to create a powerboat called Good Hart to break the record however it will not beat the sailboat record for non stop circumnavigation due to the fact they will make four stops. Check out the celebration video and click here to see the boat flying along... Banque Populaire


The fastest speeds around a race course go to the Americas Cup (AC) catamarans. The Americas Cup catamarans will be pushing the envelope of speed around a course, etc. The AC 45 foot catamarans are already recording 30+ knot speeds and in summer of 2012 these speeds will be pushed even higher when the new larger AC 72 catamarans hit the race course. Estimates for these new catamarans are average speeds of 30+ knots with short periods of 40+ knots. One thing for sure the Americas Cup has finally entered the modern era of high tech and high speed racing, the formula 1 level of racing on water. Watch videos here Click here to learn about the technical aspects of the boat and how a 44' boat fits into a 40' container... AC45 specs.



Top speed unofficially is 32.45 knots aboard the 140' Mari-Cha IV, sustained for short bursts. Since no monohull is hitting speeds of 40 knots or more the World Sailing Speed Record Council has no records of top speeds other than during monohulls record attempts at 24 hours or longer. Again some large high performance monohulls have hit over 30 knots for a very short time.

2008, the 70 foot monohull Ericsson 4 skippered by Torben Grael average a speed of 24.85 Knots for a distance of 596.6 nautical miles. Check out the video!

The 84 foot Foncia, skippered by Sables d’Olonne went around the world in 84 days at an average speed of 10.78 knots. Check out the video!

Some sailors think the 140 foot super monohull yacht Mari-Cha IV will become the world’s fastest ocean going monohull and it is living up to that goal. They say its potential top speed is 40 knots; however it has not come close to this yet, so far they have recorded 32.45 knots unofficially. When it was first built on their website for a short period they called it the worlds fastest sailboat but have since dropped that claim. On shorter distances they are recording 14+ knots averages and on WSSRC website, currently its longer distance averages are around 12.77 knots. Check out the video!

CONCLUSION: So there you have it the official records to establish the facts.

And just to get another debate going what top speed have you had your sailboat going? Make a comment below.

Hobie Co. indicated in the mid 70's of a H16 doing 26.2 mph, and officially advertised a speed of 25.9 mph in the early 80's. Check out the Hobie forum for speed info. A Hobie 21 was recorded going 32.5 knots (proof is posted) . Take a look at this video of a Hobie 16 doing 22.3 mph. I recorded the speed of 26 knots on my Reynolds 33 catamaran. I bet I have gone faster on this big cat but unfortunately I did not have a GPS with me.

An Olympic Tornado catamaran was recorded hitting 36 knots. And a Laser monohull was recorded doing 16.8 knots in a storm.

No matter what speed you are going its slicing silently across the water that makes it all so enjoyable.

By Miles Moore of


  1. My top speed in a monohull,( in my Venture 24 was 7 knots) GPS. Top speed in my ComPac 16,( while running downwind from Powderhorn Bay to Carlin Bay) trying to out run a storm,( wind speeds in excess of 35 mph I must have been somewhere between 8 to 10 knots. No GPS that time. I was not worried about the standing rigging but, had my doubts about the sails. Hope to set a new record with my,( new to me) Hobie 16 next year 2012. Come on Spring.
    Capt. Mitch

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