We asked top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest record breaking boats of all time, here's what they came up with

While hyper-luxury superyachts are clearly cool to look at (and would be very cool to own) there’s no denying that speed is cool and this collection of record breaking boats selected by pro sailors and industry experts shows the diverse range of record breaking that can be done on the ocean.

Monohull, multihulls and one-off asymmetric speedsters all feature here. Of course technology moves on, so what was once a super high-tech record breaker is often overtaken by the latest technology, that makes it all the more impressive that some of these boats have held their record for many years.

Coolest record breaking boats

Photo: Thierry Seray DPPI

Vestas SailRocket 2

“With no hesitation, my choice for the world’s coolest yacht is Vestas Sailrocket 2,” says Pascal Conq.

The designer behind two-times Vendée Globe winning IMOCA 60 PRB and the new electro green FC3 53 lightweight cruiser is famous for speed, though he admits: “Sometimes I like to sail slow, very slow, and try to stop everything from moving”.

Paul Larsen’s Vestas Sailrocket 2 is one of the most extraordinary and fascinating pieces of yacht design work ever created and set a new world speed sailing record of 65 knots in 2013. A record that still stands a decade later.

Photo: Kurt Arigo / Rolex


“Comanche was built to do one thing only: be first to finish and break records,” says President of the North Sails Group Ken Read. “And that she did. The records we broke that are still in play… the 24-hour monohull record of 618 miles, the transatlantic monohull, Transpac, Bermuda Race, and many more.

“I was so fortunate to be working with an owner in Jim Clark who had a vision of all speed/no compromise. He was dared by a couple of Australian 100-footer owners to come join the party. The first lesson is never dare a billionaire to do anything! The result, was Comanche.

“VPLP and Guillaume Verdier’s design group teamed up with a great concept and created something that blew away our loftiest expectations. She had an amazing build team at Hodgdon Shipyard in Maine. On time. On weight, impeccable.”

Volvo 70 Ericsson 4

“Ericsson 4 holds a special place in my history of boats sailed. I was fortunate to be part of a very talented team that resulted in the fastest Volvo 70 of its era and it gave us many happy moments; along with some very stressful ones too!”

The Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed Volvo 70, Ericsson 4 won the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race, skippered by Torben Grael. During the very first leg of that race the crew showed her potential by setting a 24-hour monohull record, covering 596.6 miles, something Bannatyne recalls as giving “a great sense of satisfaction, both personally and for the team.”

Aerial images of Francois Gabart onboard Ultim MACIF, training before the Round the Word Solo Handed Record, off Belle Ile, on October 16th, 2017 – Photo Jean-Marie LIOT / ALEA / MACIF


“This is a boat only a handful of people have ever been aboard but it’s a boat all the cool kids would really love to sail,” says Dee Caffari – the first woman to sail non-stop round the world in both directions.

“It’s the coolest yacht in the world because it’s very, very fast and because François Gabart set the 24-hour record of 851 miles all on his own.

“And he is very cool himself!”

Photo: Thierry Martinez

B&Q Castorama

“For me ‘Moby’, as Ellen MacArthur’s trimaran was known, is one of the coolest yachts,” says top yachting photographer, Thierry Martinez of Ellen’s B&Q Castorama.

“In this photograph Ellen is 100 miles off the finish line at Ushant just before she broke her solo round the world record in 2005. I wasn’t working for Ellen at this time, but I had followed her from the boat’s launch in Sydney to the end of successful broken record.

“The trimaran was extra cool because it had two sides: one blue side with a French sponsor, and an orange side for an English sponsor. To shoot both sides was a challenge.”

PHOTO CHRISTOPHE LAUNAY / DPPI – Alain Theabault and his crew ( Jacques Vincent – Yves Parlier – Jean Le Cam – Robert Douglas )


“I thought Hydroptère was the most incredible boat for a long time,” says Vendée Globe solo sailor Pip Hare of the groundbreaking 60ft (18m) foiler. “It was the first flying boat we’d ever seen. It crossed oceans and also was going for the 50-knot record.”

The experimental hydrofoil was the brainchild of skipper, helmsman and project founder Alain Thébault, together with design studio VPLP. It was built on principles Thébault proved as early as the Nineties and launched in 2008 – over a decade decade before the Ultimes evolved into the foiling offshore multihull class we know today.

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