The summer of 2021 saw the unveiling of a prototype of the Syroco speedcraft in Monaco. The capsule was built to scale: one third of its final size. Unlike the final speedcraft which will shatter the sailing speed record, the prototype does not have a pilot onboard: it is radio-controlled.
Prototyping is one of the decisive phases of research and development: the purpose of this stage is to give shape to the speedcraft but also to pursue further applications of the research.
Why choose the one-third scale
To start building the prototype, it was necessary to define the size of the capsule. To do this, the team carried out an iterative cycle, in order to validate several steps and take into account the constraints identified:
- Systems to integrate: the prototype must fulfill all functions specified and must make it possible to validate the proper working of the on-board systems.
- Volume: you have to think about the systems to integrate, while paying attention to aerodynamic and hydrodynamic performance. Volume studies allowed electronics and mechanics to become part of the design, that their integration does not hinder the assembly of the prototype, all of this while keeping in mind the buoyancy requirements.
- Structure: this area, based on an understanding of the combination of hydrodynamic and aerodynamic forces and of the worst case impact scenarios, takes into account the expected movements and accelerations. Indeed, the structure absorbs potential crashes, as well as the weight distribution, the shocks of the waves, the drag caused by the movement in water and by the wind pressure, and the various constraints of navigation, to ensure the stability of the prototype.
- Ergonomics: the concepts of comfort, safety and efficiency come into play. This point is used to test use and usability.
- Design: it is about visuals and aesthetics. This includes detailed modeling of the 3D shape, which takes into account all the other constraints but also a criterion - subjective but nevertheless important - of visual quality.
This thought cycle was repeated until each point was validated. When all of the stages could be confirmed, the length obtained was 2.50m, or about a third of the final size of the speedcraft. Subsequently, production could be launched at Persico Marine, technology partner of Syroco and specialist in the construction of high performance boats, cars and airplanes.
By giving substance to the prototype, the Syroco team was able to initiate the tests phase in order to confirm the initial hypotheses and the results of the numerical simulation. Since its reception, sea trails have followed one another and have brought Syroco closer to the first attempts at a world sailing speed record. Because as the saying goes, "it is not enough to think to build, you also have to build to think!"