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Boat of the Week: The World’s Fastest Yacht Can Transform Into a Floating Dance Club at Night

The 85 mph-plus bolide 80 is the world's first hyper muscle yacht. but the futuristic interior is just as outrageous., michael verdon, michael verdon's most recent stories.

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Yacht Bolide 80 Running shot

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Yacht Bolide 80 cockpit

With the 80, the designer is not exactly throwing sustainability to the winds—but he’s not embracing it, either. Any yacht with 6,000 hp is clearly not eco-friendly. But, counters Acampora, the Bolide (Italian for “fireball”) is more sustainable than traditional motoryachts in its class. The 80 consumes half the fuel at 50 knots that a similar-sized flybridge would use running at 25 knots. “You get from point A to point B in half the time, using half the fuel,” he tells Robb Report during a tour at the Monaco Yacht Show.

Calling the 80 the “culmination” of his career as a designer, Acampora penned hull number one for an experienced client who wanted a new definition of high performance. He got it.

high speed yacht

The 80 breathes speed all across its long, slender profile, from the steps in the hull to the air scoops along the side, to the three massive surface-piercing propellers at the stern. The boat is powered by triple 2,000 hp MAN diesels that are staggered to fit in the engine room. But they deliver a ridiculous top end, making it “the fastest yacht in the world,” according to the designer. So much so that it’s the first in what will be an even more ridiculously named category, the Hyper Muscle Yacht, or HMY. Bolide has four other models in design to fill in the gaps.

This Bolide isn’t for everyone—and, in fact, is really for one person—but anyone who stepped on board at Monaco, much less got to do a sea trial, had to admit it was very cool, even if they didn’t like the concept. It stood out among the vanilla superyachts at Monaco.

To gain the low weight but retain the structural integrity needed for churning through the ocean at high speed, the 80 is built of carbon-fiber composites. Across the exterior, Acampora also made good use of the exposed carbon to give it a space-age look. The black-nickel topsides work well with the gray cockpit, which is offset by burnt-sienna upholstery.

The styling, from the three center steps at the stern to a large u-shaped seating area for 12, emphasizes curves and fluidity. The hardtop also undulates with an aerodynamic shape matching the profile.

Yacht Bolide 80 Captain's station.

The helm is also in keeping with the rest of the boat, featuring an Alcantara F-1 steering wheel, a single, 32-inch electronics console panel, and three tall seats so the driver and passengers will feel like they’re cocooned in at those blistering speeds.

But the 80’s real surprise is the interior by Loro Piana, a dark, elegant man cave with leather trim nearly everywhere, interspersed with carbon fiber. It’s no surprise that the two-stateroom layout (it also comes in three cabins) is unusual, customized for the owner.

Acampora refers to it as the owner’s “suite.” It includes a small guest cabin to port, large center salon in the center and main suite up front.

Yacht Bolide 80 pullman's dresser

The salon is much larger than expected, with surprising headroom, skylights, and lounges on either side. Leather is everywhere, from the couches to the stylized, pullman-style drawers and cabinets, to the curved ceilings.

Yacht Bolide 80 Main Salon.

Forward is what Acampora calls the “vestibule,” a small corridor with storage that leads to the main suite. This area is much brighter up front, with a monochromatic white bed and walls, offset by a bright, mustard-colored leather dresser.

The ensuite and shower return to the darker theme, with a black marble sink with stylized (black, of course) handles. The black toilet and bidet are, naturally, carbon fiber. Even items like the fire extinguishers are noteworthy since they’re finished in mirror-polished stainless steel, and the leather straps on the dresser drawers replace latches to prevent rattling.

Yacht Bolide 80 Sink.

It’d be easy to get lost in the wonderland interior, but the Bolide 80 is still, at heart, a fast yacht. “Too many vessels these days focus on style and aesthetics,” says Acampora. “We’re really focused on performance.”

The Bolide 80 will come in a limited-edition series of 10 customized boats, costing about $10 million.

Click here for more photos of the Bolide 80.

Yacht Bolide 80 Salon

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6 of the fastest boats you can buy right now

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Serial boat owner and adrenaline junkie Elliott Maurice picks out 6 of the fastest boats available on the market…

A rarefied segment of the boating industry is dedicated to creating some of the fastest boats in the world. They’re the Bugatti Chirons and Koenigseggs of the seas. Builders of these boats work to extreme tolerances, using exotic materials and construction methods usually found in the aviation industry.

Of course, at this level, low volume production and the aforementioned construction methods combine to create an exclusive product with an even more exclusive price tag. These super high-performance boats will be hugely impractical for most purposes, when compared to a typical leisure vessel, and the skipper will need significant ability to get the most out of it.

In reality any boat capable of speeds more than 60 knots (69mph) is very fast indeed. Given the hugely changeable nature of water compared to tarmac, this is akin to driving a car at around 120mph.

Most of the fastest boats use race-derived hulls with roots dating back to the 1980s when the ‘Go-Fast boat’ became synonymous with the glamor and excesses of the time. TV shows like Miami Vice , with Don Johnson catching drug dealers in his iconic Wellcraft 39 Scarab , helped make these boats extremely popular.

In reality, high performance offshore boats of this type were extensively used by cartels to run drugs into Miami, with the DEA commissioning a fleet of Blue Thunder powercats to help combat the problem.

Fast forward to today, some of the fastest boats are capable of exceeding 180mph with specialist engines and are in fact faster than the boats in Class 1 Offshore racing, where horsepower is limited to twin 1,100hp.

This list is by no means exhaustive – there are also a number of phenomenal offerings out there from legendary builders like Nortech, Sunsation, Donzi and Fountain.

6 of the fastest boats you can buy

fastest-boats-GOLDFISH-46-BULLET-(2)

Goldfish 46 Bullet

World’s fastest RIB

Top speed: 85 knots (99 mph) Price: $1.2million

Starting with one of the most revered names in the world of performance RIBs, Norwegian yard Goldfish Boats build exceptionally capable open water powerboats. They are also the fastest Ridged Inflatable Boats on the market today.

The 46 Bullet is the fastest of them all – with triple 500hp V10 Mercury outboards 85 knots is achievable. Around $1.2 million will put you in the driving seat of this exquisitely built boat with a carbon superstructure, state of the art electronics and custom racing seating for six.

Perfectly capable of cruising for hours in excess of 60 knots in challenging conditions, the Goldfish is capable of holding its own in rough water against almost any offshore powerboat challenger.

Article continues below…

Fastest boat: The current holder and contenders for the world water-speed record

Mystic m5200 yacht tour: on board the 70-knot, 2,400hp bentley gt of the seas.

outerlimits-SV50-2

Outerlimits SV50

World’s fastest production monohull

Top speed: 156 knots (180 mph) Price: $900,000

At 50ft 1in LOA and only 9ft in the beam, this rocket ship is a pure raceboat in design, with five steps in the hull and staggered engines to keep the driver as close to the centerline as possible.

At the 2023 Lake of the Ozarks shootout an SV50 with enclosed cockpit and twin 2,000hp engines ran 180.47 mph on a 1km run making it the fastest production monohull on the water.

More impressive is that a standard boat with twin Mercury Racing 1,350/1,550hp can easily top 140mph. However, this is a boat requiring an exceptional skill to drive, with handling characteristics as aggressive as its outright speed suggests. Starting at around $900,000 the SV50 is the ultimate in its class.

fastest-boats-mti-52-pleasure-2

MTI Pleasure 52

Top speed: 156 knots (180mph) Price: $2 million

Another brand known for its offshore race winning boats, MTI produces nothing but high-performance boats. From its V series center consoles to its outboard -powered cats, this semi-custom builder doesn’t make a boat that does less than 80mph.

The 52 Pleasure is the fastest of the breed, with a full race version available using the same hull. With twin 1,750hp Mercury racing engines, this boat can achieve over 180mph.

With full custom options, MTI have even built a Lamborghini-inspired 48 footer to match the owner’s Lamborghini Aventador. Fitted with Aventador style tail lights and dashboard, the boat even had a matching covered starter button.

Needless to say, all this glamour doesn’t come cheap. You can expect a starting price of around $2 million for this level of exotica.

fastest-boats-cigarette-515

Cigarette 515

The most legendary go-fast boat

Top speed: 113 knots (130mph) Price: $2.2 million

No go-fast boat comes with as much pedigree as the Cigarette. Founded by the legendary Don Aronow, Cigarette Boats dominated offshore racing worldwide for over a decade, so much so that the brand name has become synonymous with offshore racers.

Still built in Florida, the brand has development ties with Mercedes AMG and Mercury Racing alike. As the largest high-performance boat in the range, the 515 offers peerless attention to detail and quality alike.

It is not the fastest production monohull, with a top speed of just over 130mph achievable with twin staggered 1,350/1,550hp Mercury Racing engines. It is, however, the best riding and one of the most capable offshore powerboats for handling rough water.

Its carbon fiber, vacuum bagged construction helps to justify its $2.2 million starting price and above all, it is the ultimate Cigarette boat.

fastest-boats-mystic-c4000-loto-2023-tom-leigh-8014

Photo: Tom Leigh

Mystic C4000

Top speed: 108 knots (125mph) Price: $699,000

Mystics founder John Cosker is responsible for some of the fastest offshore raceboats in the world. Throttling his American Ethanol 50ft Catamaran, he hit 204mph this year setting the record on the Lake of the Ozarks sprint course.

Mystic will custom build a race winning boat for you on request, however Mystic now has a range of three high performance center consoles, with the C4000 outboard cat being the fastest production boat in the range, equipped with twin 500hp Mercury Racing outboards.

The C4000 will top 125mph and cruise in the upper 80s. With a bias on cruising comfort, the C4000 is a tuned down version of the Mystic race boat, with the tunnel compression reduced to hold the boat down rather than create the less controllable lift of the 180mph capable race hull.

The engines are also mounted on hydraulic jack plates to further trim the hull and keep the boat glued down in rough water. At just under 44ft the luxuriously appointed Mystic C4000 can offer performance akin to a light aircraft over distance – think Miami to Bimini in under an hour in the right conditions.

The Mystic is designed to run at speed confidently by most owners without the extreme characteristics of boats at this performance level. Options like a full cockpit sunshade, premium stereo and open transom make the C4000 as comfortable for lounging at a sandbar as it is running at blistering speed in open ocean.

Midnight express 43 open

Midnight Express 43 Open

The fastest center console boat

Top speed: 78 knots (90mph) Price: $1million

The center console market has exploded over the past few years, with a ceneter console now available for almost any boating application. The high-performance end of the spectrum has a handful of sublime builders.

However, the fastest arguably goes to Midnight Express 43, when running 5x 500hp V10 outboards. Capable of over 90mph, the 43 can also accommodate up to 20 people in comfort and 9 people at speed in luxurious quilted ultra leather bolster seats.

So good is the hull on the Midnight Express that Miami-Dade County DEA used the 39ft version as its high speed response boats. With its all-carbon superstructure and air-conditioned helm, the 43 is an extremely desirable boat, and over 100 units of this $1 million dollar boat have been sold to date.

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Fastest yacht: The giant record breakers

Toby Heppell

  • Toby Heppell
  • October 29, 2021

Skorpios is the latest in a long list of giant monohulls designed with a view to becoming the fastest yacht on the planet. We take a look at some of her predecessors

high speed yacht

Every so often the yacht racing world sees an ambitious owner with pockets deep enough to want to step things up a gear and produce a new record-smashing fastest yacht.

The latest of these to hit the water is the jaw-dropping ClubSwan 125 Skorpios built for its Russian owner, Dmitry Rybolovlev. Almost everything about this new monster yacht is bigger, stronger, faster and higher tech than any boat which came before it.

Pretty much any metric you care to look at on Skorpios is mind-boggling. The five-spreader Southern Spars mast stands at 175 feet tall, and she can carry 11,324 square feet of sail upwind, and 21,108 square feet downwind.

high speed yacht

Enough sail? Skorpios off the Dorset coast. The ClubSwan 125 is named after owner Rybolovlev’s famous Greek island, where Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis. Photo: Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images

Skorpios has been built with the express brief to break offshore records as the world’s fastest yacht. Her recent win in the 2021 Fastnet Race – only weeks after hitting the water for the first time – shows she certainly has what it takes to take line honours in big races.

And the numbers Skorpios has shown while racing initially seem to indicate that it is really only a matter of time until she starts claiming some of the biggest records on offer in the sailing world.

But Skorpios is only the latest in a long line of new yachts built with the express purpose of winning line honours and taking records, each bigger, faster and more technologically advanced than that which came before.

The current transatlantic record holder, Comanche , is probably the yacht that most readily springs to mind when we’re looking at the development path for Skorpios .

Before Skorpios , Comanche was the most recent, highly ambitious racing yacht on the planet. She was built with one thing in mind and one thing only, to break ocean records and win line honours in some of the world’s most famous races.

ken-read-interview-north-sails-comanche-running-shot-credit-rolex-carlo-borlenghi

Comanche showing off her considerable beam. Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

“The design office were told specifically by me that if this boat wasn’t the worst rated boat in history they have failed,” stated the owner Jim Clark on Maxi, Comanche ’s launch, reaffirming the aim of the boat to break records and win line honours without any consideration for handicap wins.

Comanche was something of a revelation when she was first launched. Over the years boats had been carrying more beam (width) towards the transom to create more power – at the expense of outright light weather, upwind and VMG running performance.

Comanche took this line of thought to the extreme with what seemed an impossibly wide stern, which led to the boat being nicknamed the aircraft carrier.

Although Skorpios is technically beamier than Comanche (8.75m vs 7.85m) the ClubSwan’s hull shape has a more modest beam-to-length ratio, and far greater internal volume and higher freeboard, all products of the project starting out with some focus on cruising in addition to outright performance.

But despite a slightly less powerful hull shape compared to Comanche , when you look at the rig, you see that this will likely be overcome by sheer grunt in terms of sail area. Skorpios ’ mainsail alone is 7,093 square feet, compared to Comanche ’s 4,413 square feet.

Comanche was, indeed is, a yacht that pushed technology to the absolute limit and when she was launched her extreme design caused quite a stir.

She is still considered one of the fastest yachts on the face of the earth and, in addition to her transatlantic record, Comanche also holds the monohull 24 hour sailing record at an impressive 618.01nm (averaging 25.75 knots) in a 24 hour period.

These two records will almost certainly be two of the key prize scalps Skorpios will be hoping to take.

Mari Cha IV

Although for many Comanche is the most obvious boat to which Skorpios can be compared, arguably a closer comparison could be that of Mari Cha IV , particularly when you consider length and ambition to break oceanic records.

The 140ft Mari Cha IV was launched in 2003, at this size both Mari Cha IV and (140ft) Skorpios face a similar problem, there are several top races that have an upper LOA limit of 100ft – neither could take part in the Sydney Hobart race for example.

Philippe-Briand-superyacht-designer-profile-Mari-Cha-IV-Thierry-Martinez

Mari-Cha IV held the Atlantic record for 12 years. Photo: Thierry Martinez

In 2003, Mari-Cha IV set a new west-east transatlantic record with a total time of 6 days, 17 hours. During the run, she also set a new 24 hour monohull distance record of 525.5 nautical miles . This record stood until Comanche snatched the crown in 2016.

Due to her size and the sail area needed to power the giant, Mari Cha IV was built as a two-masted schooner. This meant that each mast could be smaller – within the bounds of the technology available at the time.

The twin rig on Mari Cha IV also meant each of the sails could be smaller than would be needed on a single masted yacht, reducing loads and enabling the boat to be sailed without resorting to powered winches.

That Skorpios is a single masted 140 footer demonstrates two things. The ClubSwan 125 shows the advances in technology with a single 175ft mast now being much more easily managed and understood – thanks, in no small part to advancements in load sensing technology which have filtered down from the America’s Cup and high tech offshore yachts such as the Ultime trimaran and IMOCA 60 fleets.

However, sail handling for sails of the size needed on Skorpios is still an issue and the ClubSwan 125 still needs powered winches, which will put her out of contention for a number of records that require exclusively human power.

In 2008, Speedboat was launched . The Juan Kouyoumdjian -designed 100ft Maxi was a yacht designed to produce blistering speeds and was built with the express purpose of ocean record breaking.

Speedboat, Newport Bermuda Race 2010

Speedboat , Newport Bermuda Race 2010

The yacht was built by Mick Cookson at Cookson Boats in New Zealand and her radical underwater features, including an incredibly flat run aft were all features that would later be included in the design of Comanche – features that demonstrate a yacht built for record breaking as they offer serious compromises in lighter winds.

In many respects Speedboat was the first to take the wide flat hull concept and transplant it wholesale into a 100ft Maxi.

Speedboat was also the first Maxi to have a deck-stepped rig, which was produced by Southern Spars, and she has plenty of other radical features.

To an extent Speedboat was built as a scaled up version of the Volvo 70 ’s which had been impressing in the Volvo Ocean Race . As such it is hardly a surprise the boat was the product of Kouyoumdjian’s design house, as he had created several of the fastest Volvo 70s then racing.

Unfortunately Speedboat arrived at the very start of the financial crisis and she only sailed in a number of events before she was mothballed and eventually sold.

She went through a couple of incarnations before being purchased by George David and was sailed as Rambler 100 during which time she dramatically lost her keel and capsized while competing in the Fastnet Race .

For his part David would go on to commission Kouyoumdjian to draw Rambler 88 , an impressive bit of kit in its own right and aimed at winning line honours and races outright in an 88ft package.

Wild Oats XI

No list of record breakers and record holders would be complete without a mention of Wild Oats XI , the 100 ft Maxi belonging to the Oatley family, which has won the Sydney Hobart no less than seven times.

Wild Oats XI ( WOXI for short) was actually launched back in 2005 and is a prime example of what can be done to a yacht to keep her on pace with current trends and developments.

In 2009 she was lengthened at bow and stern from 98ft to 100ft. In 2011 her forward balanced spade canard was removed and twin daggerboards were added amidships. In 2012 she received a bow centreboard as well as caudal fin winglets on her torpedo bulb.

high speed yacht

Wild Oats XI . Photo: Kurt Arigo / Rolex

In 2013 she was equipped with a Dynamic Stability System (DSS) foil, which is a retractable horizontal foil deployed on the leeward side of the boat.

In 2015 her stern was shortened by 2m and her 12m forward sections were replaced by a 14m longer, sleeker bow, keeping her midship sections unmodified and in effect moving her entire existing sailplan aft by 2m, a trend which had been seen in many of the newer maxis to be produced since.

The various appendages which have been added and removed over the years have lent the yacht the affectionate nickname the ‘Swiss army knife’.

By today’s standards WOXI remains a very skinny boat in the Maxi world – she and almost-sistership at the time of launch, Alfa Romeo II both had a max beam of a little over 5m.

Wild Oats XI remains a potent race boat and particularly for races like the Sydney Hobart, her relatively narrow beam gives her an edge in light winds, VMG running and beating, all of which mean she is still very hard to beat over a race with mixed conditions – if ultimately working against her should she ever look to set oceanic records.

Leopard 3 ( ICAP Leopard as she was launched) hit the water in 2007 for serial Maxi owner, Mike Slade. The Farr design had a number of unique features at the time of launch, which made her one of the most impressive superyachts on the circuit.

ICAP Round Britain and Ireland Race 2010

ICAP Round Britain and Ireland Race 2010

Leopard ’s mast was a towering 154ft and she could set a total downwind sail area of 17,265 sq ft. At the time this was a vast amount of sail – though Skorpios ’ 21,108 sq ft is something of a stark comparison.

Leopard is capable of speeds of over 35 knots. But her similarities to Skorpios actually centre around the plans the British boat had from the start to enable cruising and racing in a little more comfort.

Leopard featured a luxurious removable interior, which could be removed for racing and refitted for cruising or for charter – for which she had also been specifically designed and built.

Although Skorpios does not go quite as far as a fully removable interior, there is, at least, a nod to comfort in her design when compared to the out and out racer that is Comanche .

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Sail GP: how do supercharged racing yachts go so fast? An engineer explains

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Head of Engineering, Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, Solent University

Disclosure statement

Jonathan Ridley does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Sailing used to be considered as a rather sedate pastime. But in the past few years, the world of yacht racing has been revolutionised by the arrival of hydrofoil-supported catamarans, known as “foilers”. These vessels, more akin to high-performance aircraft than yachts, combine the laws of aerodynamics and hydrodynamics to create vessels capable of speeds of up to 50 knots, which is far faster than the wind propelling them.

An F50 catamaran preparing for the Sail GP series recently even broke this barrier, reaching an incredible speed of 50.22 knots (57.8mph) purely powered by the wind. This was achieved in a wind of just 19.3 knots (22.2mph). F50s are 15-metre-long, 8.8-metre-wide hydrofoil catamarans propelled by rigid sails and capable of such astounding speeds that Sail GP has been called the “ Formula One of sailing ”. How are these yachts able to go so fast? The answer lies in some simple fluid dynamics.

As a vessel’s hull moves through the water, there are two primary physical mechanisms that create drag and slow the vessel down. To build a faster boat you have to find ways to overcome the drag force.

The first mechanism is friction. As the water flows past the hull, a microscopic layer of water is effectively attached to the hull and is pulled along with the yacht. A second layer of water then attaches to the first layer, and the sliding or shearing between them creates friction.

On the outside of this is a third layer, which slides over the inner layers creating more friction, and so on. Together, these layers are known as the boundary layer – and it’s the shearing of the boundary layer’s molecules against each other that creates frictional drag.

high speed yacht

A yacht also makes waves as it pushes the water around and under the hull from the bow (front) to the stern (back) of the boat. The waves form two distinctive patterns around the yacht (one at each end), known as Kelvin Wave patterns.

These waves, which move at the same speed as the yacht, are very energetic. This creates drag on the boat known as the wave-making drag, which is responsible for around 90% of the total drag. As the yacht accelerates to faster speeds (close to the “hull speed”, explained later), these waves get higher and longer.

These two effects combine to produce a phenomenon known as “ hull speed ”, which is the fastest the boat can travel – and in conventional single-hull yachts it is very slow. A single-hull yacht of the same size as the F50 has a hull speed of around 12 mph.

However, it’s possible to reduce both the frictional and wave-making drag and overcome this hull-speed limit by building a yacht with hydrofoils . Hydrofoils are small, underwater wings. These act in the same way as an aircraft wing, creating a lift force which acts against gravity, lifting our yacht upwards so that the hull is clear of the water.

high speed yacht

While an aircraft’s wings are very large, the high density of water compared to air means that we only need very small hydrofoils to produce a lot of the important lift force. A hydrofoil just the size of three A3 sheets of paper, when moving at just 10 mph, can produce enough lift to pick up a large person.

This significantly reduces the surface area and the volume of the boat that is underwater, which cuts the frictional drag and the wave-making drag, respectively. The combined effect is a reduction in the overall drag to a fraction of its original amount, so that the yacht is capable of sailing much faster than it could without hydrofoils.

The other innovation that helps boost the speed of racing yachts is the use of rigid sails . The power available from traditional sails to drive the boat forward is relatively small, limited by the fact that the sail’s forces have to act in equilibrium with a range of other forces, and that fabric sails do not make an ideal shape for creating power. Rigid sails, which are very similar in design to an aircraft wing, form a much more efficient shape than traditional sails, effectively giving the yacht a larger engine and more power.

As the yacht accelerates from the driving force of these sails, it experiences what is known as “ apparent wind ”. Imagine a completely calm day, with no wind. As you walk, you experience a breeze in your face at the same speed that you are walking. If there was a wind blowing too, you would feel a mixture of the real (or “true” wind) and the breeze you have generated.

The two together form the apparent wind, which can be faster than the true wind. If there is enough true wind combined with this apparent wind, then significant force and power can be generated from the sail to propel the yacht, so it can easily sail faster than the wind speed itself.

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The combined effect of reducing the drag and increasing the driving power results in a yacht that is far faster than those of even a few years ago. But all of this would not be possible without one further advance: materials. In order to be able to “fly”, the yacht must have a low mass, and the hydrofoil itself must be very strong. To achieve the required mass, strength and rigidity using traditional boat-building materials such as wood or aluminium would be very difficult.

This is where modern advanced composite materials such as carbon fibre come in. Production techniques optimising weight, rigidity and strength allow the production of structures that are strong and light enough to produce incredible yachts like the F50.

The engineers who design these high-performance boats (known as naval architects ) are always looking to use new materials and science to get an optimum design. In theory, the F50 should be able to go even faster.

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High Performance Boat

High performance boats are the best way to go for boaters who enjoy a bit of speed on the water and wind in their hair. Performance-oriented powerboats range in size from 20 to more than 50 feet and ride on V-bottom and catamaran hulls .

They range small outboard-engine-powered sport catamarans to giant performance center consoles to closed-deck V-bottoms with full canopies over the cockpit and inboard power. Likewise, amenities vary widely from vessel to vessel. A luxurious 50-foot V-bottom high performance boat might have a complete cabin ideal for a weekend getaway, whereas a 34-foot sport catamaran hot rode might have just six seats in the cockpit and nothing below its deck.

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Activities with High Performance Boats

GREAT FOR Day Cruising  • Saltwater Fishing

While high performance boats are designed to deliver thrills at speed, there’s a lot more you can do with one than simply run fast. In fact, there is a whole host of organized activities for performance-boat owners around the country every season. The most popular of these activities are poker runs, which involve a fleet of performance-boats running from point to point to collect five cards. Participants play those cards at the end of the day to earn prizes and share good times with new and familiar friends. There also are brand-specific events year known as owner rendezvous organized by specific boat builders, as well as simple lunch runs and fun runs organized by various clubs around the country.

As Social Platforms

As enjoyable as organized events can be as social experiences, they’re not your only option with a high performance boat—at least if you chose a performance-oriented center console. Predominantly powered by outboard engines, the new generation of go-fast center consoles have abandoned their traditional angling setups for bountiful seating and open spaces in the cockpit. Models in this category range from 34 to 60 feet, which means they offer the most passenger seating and space of anything in the go-fast boat world. On the water or at the docks, a high-performance center can be the ultimate social platform for spending time with family and friends. 

Ultimate Canvas for Customization

From paint to power, no powerboat category offers greater opportunities for customization than the high-performance realm. Elaborate, high-dollar paintjobs are more the rule than the exception in the upper end of the go-fast boating world, and most builders will even color-match a boat’s interior colors to those of its exterior. On the power side, buyers have an array stern-drive and outboard options depending on the model in question. Your options are, for the most part, only limited by your budget.

Ownership Costs of High Performance Boats

For the most part, high performance boat ownership tends to be significantly higher than those for other types of powerboats. New model prices start in the low six-figure range and can reach well past the $1 million mark. Because of their potentially high speeds—the fastest go-fast catamarans can top 180 mph—and powerful engines, high performance boats also tend to be substantially more expensive to insure than their conventional powerboat counterparts such as a bowrider or pontoon boat . 

Our Boat Loan Calculator can help you determine if a high performance boat works for your unique budget and needs.

In the high performance boat world, the general rule of thumb is that the more-powerful the engines involved the more expensive the boat is to maintain. Service and rebuilds for big-power stern-drive engines of 1,000 horsepower and beyond are costly. Go-fast boats equipped with today’s reliable outboard engines are far less expensive to maintain and can be purchased with substantial factory protection, as long as eight years in some cases.

As a high performance-boat owner, your No. 1 operational cost will be fuel. The more powerful the engines involved, the more fuel they will burn and the higher-octane gasoline they will require for performance and reliability. Higher-octane fuel is more expensive than lower-octane fuel. Also, worth noting is that high-octane fuel tends to be less readily available on the water. 

High Performance Boat Technology/Materials/Features

When it comes to construction materials used to build them, high performance boats run the gamut from vinylester resin and fiberglass to carbon fiber and epoxy. While the latter tends to be lighter, stiffer and equally strong, it also is more expensive than “conventional” fiberglass and resin materials still used by most builders.

Expect to find the latest electronics in today’s high-performance boats and you won’t be disappointed. Where once a speedometer and tachometer was everything an operator needed, current go-fast boats are loaded with the latest GPS monitors, accessory switching systems, live front-and-rear video cameras that display on screens in real time, massive stereo systems and in-cockpit and underwater LED lighting systems.

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Marine Insight

Boats with a Difference: The High Speed Crafts

There are many different types of boats that can be used for civilian purposes. The high speed craft (HSC) is one such example. High speed crafts use air pressure to keep them moving at a fast pace on the water and have engines and turbine-propellers to move them. The high speed craft was a very popular boat from the time it was launched and still maintains its popularity. Over the years there have been many variations in the high speed craft. These variations can be elaborated as follows:

Hovercraft:

A high speed craft designed in the form of a hovercraft was the earliest boat introduced. A hovercraft uses air pressure to propel itself in the water. It is reliable and is the most preferred means of transportation used especially as rescue vehicles in case of natural calamities, especially in water. The craft was named such because the boat tends to hover above the surface without actually touching it, due to the air pressure released.

Hovercraft

The system of hydrofoil in a high speed craft was simultaneously used along with the hovercraft system. The hydrofoil system incorporates the use of wings or lifts to raise the boat from the surface of the water and move forward. The wings or the hydrofoil attached make sure that the speed of the boat is maintained. The system of hydrofoil is also used in aircrafts that land on water or use a water-surface for take-off.

Catamarans:

A high speed craft in the format of a catamaran came into existence from the 90s. The catamarans offered a high speed craft not just speed but also stability, balance and the ability to withstand gales and strong winds. It has to be noted that the catamaran employed a dual hull that gave it the above mentioned features and thereby superiority over the previous two variations of the high speed boats.

As the name suggests, this type of high speed craft has a single or a mono hull rather than the two in the catamaran type. Monhulls became popular alongside the catamarans in the same time period adding a lot of variety to the existing types of the high speed crafts. The most important reason why monohulls were used was because of the feasibility aspect of the ballast (weight added to support the boat from blockages coming from sideways). The better ability of ballast ensured that the high speed craft was provided an overall stability.

Monohull

The system of designing and the safety aspect of the high speed craft have to comply with the standards and regulations set by the International Maritime Organisation along with the Maritime Safety Committee. These set of rules and regulations were decided upon in the year 1994 and then later re-modified in the year 2000.These rules still provide the basis for each and every high speed vessel that is operating now. It has to be noted that in certain places, such high speed vessels in addition to being used as passenger and civilian boats are also used to haul cargo.

All the high speed boat systems that are available make it feasible for safe cargo transfer too. Some of the examples of high speed boats are the PacifiCat series, the Hawaii Superferry system and the Lake Express – which is plied only on the Lake Michigan. A high speed craft is something that deserves to be greatly admired. The smallness of the vessel does not impact the servicing ability of the boat. Keeping in mind all these aspects, it needs to be noted that the high speed craft is something that will be present not only in the present but also in the future, quite strongly.

You may also like to read – Top 11 Books On Boating

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Firefighter died in high-speed inflatable boat crash

A firefighter was killed in a high-speed crash when two inflatable boats collided during a training exercise, an inquest has heard.

Father-of-two Joshua Gardener, 35, suffered a “deep chop wound” to the head during the incident in Pembrokeshire on 17 September 2019.

A coroner said the boats were carrying out "uncoordinated exercises" at high speed and could not avoid a crash.

The jury was also told that crew members were not wearing protective head gear at the time as they were “uncomfortable”.

The inquest at the County Hall in Haverfordwest heard that Mr Gardener had been sitting at the front of one of the inflatable boats when they hit each other on the Cleddau Estuary in Milford Haven.

As he lay "motionless” in the water, the trainer immediately jumped in to rescue him.

However, it quickly became apparent that his injuries were fatal.

He was pronounced dead at Neyland Yacht Club at 11:55am, a post-mortem examination finding he suffered a “high velocity impact” and a “deep chop wound” to the head.

Pembrokeshire Senior Coroner Paul Bennett said in his opening statement that “the collision occurred with both boats operating at speed".

A report by the MAIB (Marine Accident Investigation Branch) concluded that neither boat's crew were keeping an effective lookout or knew of each other’s locations.

A tribute to him from family and friends was read at the hearing, in which he was described as "a committed and caring family man” who always wanted to work for the emergency services.

The inquest continues.

  • Firefighter's boat death 'could have been avoided'
  • Funeral planned for firefighter who died training

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COMMENTS

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    Even the Hollywood movies promoted and reflected this high speed lifestyle throughout the era. James Bond's iconic speed boat chase in the 1973 film Live and Let Die featured a record-breaking jump of over 120 feet over a highway roadway. That boat was a Glastron, and reportedly 17 of the boats were destroyed while filming the sequence.

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    The fastest center console boat. Top speed: 78 knots (90mph) Price: $1million. ... So good is the hull on the Midnight Express that Miami-Dade County DEA used the 39ft version as its high speed response boats. With its all-carbon superstructure and air-conditioned helm, the 43 is an extremely desirable boat, and over 100 units of this $1 ...

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    Introducing the High-Speed Yacht Alamshar. Meet the extraordinary yacht Alamshar, a marvel of engineering built by Devonport Yachts and equipped with six gas turbines to achieve an ambitious top speed of 65 knots.Although test runs resulted in a top speed of only 45 knots, this motor yacht still stands as a testament to innovation and performance.

  11. High-Performance Speed Boats: The Ultimate Guide

    Typically, high-performance V-bottoms measure from, say, 21 feet to upward of 50 feet. The longer the boat, the bigger the seas you can take on comfortably. The above Pantera 24 Sport is a good example of a relatively small V-bottom speed boat, though some smaller ones do exist. Propulsion systems also are varied.

  12. The World's Fastest Center Console Boats

    The 2024 Cigarette 52 Thunder combines luxury with high-speed capability, setting a benchmark in marine design and engineering. A remarkable level of performance is achieved through the use of six Mercury Racing 500R engines (3,000hp total), the latest and most powerful outboard motors in Mercury's lineup, supported by a hull that is designed for optimal handling.

  13. Bestselling High Performance Yachts

    The high-performance yacht category consists of boats with a sporty character, capable of reaching speeds of 40 knots and more. While 40 knots might not seem like much in car terms, that speed becomes a whole different sensation on the water.

  14. The Register

    The Register. The Register is the definitive guide to the largest, fastest and most iconic superyachts in the world. BOAT International's list of the top 25 largest yachts in the world profiles the biggest, most innovative and most notable motor and sailing superyachts on the water today.. Find a breakdown of the 50 largest sailing yachts in the world and the 50 largest luxury yachts built ...

  15. Sail GP: how do supercharged racing yachts go so fast? An engineer explains

    A single-hull yacht of the same size as the F50 has a hull speed of around 12 mph. Hydrofoils However, it's possible to reduce both the frictional and wave-making drag and overcome this hull ...

  16. High Performance boats for sale

    These boats are built and assembled by a wide variety of boat makers with hull types including deep vee, modified vee, catamaran, planing and other designs. Boat Trader currently has 1,568 high performance boats for sale, including 747 new vessels and 821 used boats, listed by individual owners and professional dealerships nationwide.

  17. High performance power boats for sale

    Skipper-BSK 42NC. 2024. Request Price. The Skipper-BSK 42NC is the flagship of the Skipper Powerboats line and the ultimate expression of Skipper's research, development, and craftsmanship. The 42 features a deep-V hull with 4-steps and aerodynamic lines for quick planing and thrilling acceleration.

  18. Best Speed Boats of 2024

    Above: Cigarette speed boats. Image via Marine 365/boats.com Browse on our boat listings site for new and used Cigarette 515 boats. Browse on our boat listings site for all high-performance powerboats. 5. Outerlimits SL-41 The Outerlimits SL-41 vee-bottomed, equipped with a Mercury Racing Staggered pair of 520 Engines w/ Sportmaster drives speeds of 95+mph can be achieved, and hits 56 MPH in ...

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    High Performance Boat. 8 passengers max. 16 - 24 ft long. Trailerable. High performance boats are the best way to go for boaters who enjoy a bit of speed on the water and wind in their hair. Performance-oriented powerboats range in size from 20 to more than 50 feet and ride on V-bottom and catamaran hulls. Read more.

  20. High Performance boats for sale

    High-performance speed boats are characterized by their high-horsepower engines and powerful drive motors that are designed for the biggest adrenaline rush the water has to offer. These boats are in the high-end market starting in the £200k price range, and most require premium racing or performance fuel and high-priced boat insurance that isn ...

  21. 15 of the world's fastest yachts

    We present a selection of 10 of the world's fastest yachts. Find out how a 42m superyacht manages to top out at 70 knots on SYT: Fleet Updates 15 of the world's fastest yachts. Written by Jason Spinks. Thu, 24 Oct 2019 | 11:00.

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  23. Boats with a Difference: The High Speed Crafts

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  24. Firefighter died in high-speed inflatable boat crash

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