Sailing Speed Records

IDEC Sport is the current record holder for the fastest circumnavigationPhoto courtesy of Jean-Marie Liot/ IDEC Sport

Although the 1903 defender of the America’s Cup, Reliance, was deemed a “racing freak”—the boat pushed design rules to their limit and couldn’t be beaten, at least in very specific conditions—designer Nat Herreshoff was nonetheless onto something. A century later, purpose-built boats have become a staple in the world of speed records, whether they be race records, course records or outright records. Among these records are a few that eclipse all others in terms of prestige: the Outright, Nautical Mile, 24-Hour, Transatlantic and Circumnavigation Records. Each of these records is currently held by a multihull, some more unusual than others, but all representing the absolute cutting edge of design development. Here’s a brief history of the ultra-fast and how we got here.

Though hardly a speedster by modern standards, Lightning is the first recorded ship to hold the 24-Hour RecordPhoto courtesy of Francis Demanse/DCNS

Outright (500m) Record

Current record holder: Vestas Sailrocket 2 with an average speed of 65.5 knots

The Outright Record is a 500-meter speed test that is notable for the cutting-edge (and sometimes strange) designs that have won it over the years. Some of the more recent designs have even faced criticism about whether they’re technically sailing at all. However, the World Sailing Speed Record Council, which monitors many of the major records, considers a craft eligible if it fits broad criteria, like using exclusively wind and water to influence speed, having at least one person onboard and sailing on liquid water not ice…

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Baja Ha-Ha 2022

2022 Baja Ha-Ha Sign-Ups Start at Noon Today!

Baja Ha-Ha 2022

You can capture the beauty of Baja with a fleet of new friends. © 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Richard

There’s no better day than today to sign up for Baja Ha-Ha XXVIII, the 750-mile cruisers’ rally between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas that starts on October 31. Over 10,000 sailors have done the Ha-Ha. If you’re not one of them, today is the day you might want to make that commitment to adventure and become one of them.

What’s in it for you? Sailing that gets better and warmer by the day. Two weeks of life immersed in nature that feels like two months. Escape from humdrum reality. Numerous unusual social events. And friends, tons of new sailing friends. Here’s what the Grand Poobah has to say about the cruise south:

“It’s often cool and overcast for the first 300 miles. But once boats pass Isla Cedros, the climatic border between northern and southern Baja, the skies tend to clear and it’s time for shorts and T-shirts.

“Usually it’s a close reach to the Coronado Islands to start the Ha-Ha, after which it’s possible to carry spinnakers. And who would want to sail upwind anyway? Sometimes the wind goes light, so it’s nice that the Ha-Ha is a rally and boats have the option of motoring as much as they want.

“After two or three days of sailing, the calm waters of Turtle Bay, with room for 1,000 anchored boats, are a welcome refuge. The locals, about 1,500 of them, are always eager for the arrival of the Ha-Ha fleet, as it’s sort of like their New Year’s Eve. Garbage, ice, fuel, rides to the beach … the locals will take care of you.”

Sign up today at, where you’ll also find the Notice of the Rally.

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