Gottifredi Maffioli ropes are aboard the SP80 – the boat aiming for the world sailing speed record


Among Gottifredi Maffioli’s most recent projects is one developed with a group of young engineers from EPFL University in Lausanne, Switzerland, with a focus on research and development of increasingly high-performance products that will help achieve a speed of 80 knots by sailing only with the force of the wind.

The Birth of the SP80 Project

In 2016 Mayeul van den Broek, Xavier Lepercq and Benoît Gaudiot, 3 young mechanical engineering students at EPFL, set themselves an incredible challenge: to build the fastest sailboat in the world.

Today this dream has become a reality with SP80, an adventure that unites fifty people around the same goal: to reach 80 knots (150 km/h speed) solely thanks to the wind.

Prototype SP80

Driven by their passion, Mayeul, Xavier, and Benoit started their project. They first met while they were members of Hydrocontest in 2018: an existing student association at EPFL.

In 2009, Hydroptère, was the first boat in history to sail beyond the 50-knot (92 km/h) barrier. Moreover, it is an iconic boat that has inspired a generation of sailing enthusiasts. They took inspiration from this by developing the SP80 with the ambitious goal of reaching 80 knots (150 km/h).

The founders of SP80
Mayeul, Xavier and Benoît

2019 marked a turning point for SP80. The Swiss firm P&TS, an intellectual property consulting firm with offices in Neuchâtel and Zurich, became the first sponsor by joining to support the record quest, thus enabling, the three creators, to formalize the project and implement an official structure. In addition, they are supported by the Swiss watch brand Richard Mille.

EPFL also pledged to support the group as an academic partner: the SP80 student association was founded, adding 20 more engineers and student volunteers to the team.

The Team SP80

How Gottifredi Maffioli contributes to the goal of reaching 80 knots (150 km/h)

Gottifredi Maffioli was chosen by SP80 for this project with the supply of the ropes. Among the factors that distinguish these ropes are their excellent strength-to-weight ratio and the high strength of the material from which they are made. All Gottifredi Maffioli ropes are made entirely using BIO-BASED DYNEEMA. It is appropriate to distinguish the two terms and combine them. Dyneema fiber is produced in a patented gel spinning process in which the fibers are stretched, heated, stretched and cooled. It is stronger for the same weight or lighter for the same strength-Dyneema is 15 times stronger than steel for the same weight. BIO-BASED DYNEEMA, launched in April 2020, is the first bio-based ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber. It is based on the mass balance approach, greatly reduces the manufacturer’s dependence on fossil fuel-based resources and is composed of renewable or recycled raw materials. It is a fiber that meets the needs in terms of environmental sustainability without sacrificing the strength and high performance typical of Dyneema.

Another important factor is wanting to emphasize the importance of the ultra-lightness of the ropes. It is highly appreciated by the SP80 team that Gottifredi Maffioli ropes are on average 20 percent lighter than standard ropes available on the market.

It is precisely these characteristics that allowed this interesting collaboration to come into being. The goal of the entire SP80 team is to beat the World Sailing Speed Record 2024.

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