Sailor and broadcaster Hannah White has launched a record bid to become the fastest woman on water over one nautical mile with Project Speedbird
In a purpose built, state of the art boat, Speedbird, Hannah will be attempting to break the women’s speed record over one nautical mile while also becoming the first woman to ever set that record above the 40 knot barrier (equivalent to 46mph).
With Speedbird on display at the Science Museum in central London from 26-28 May 2015, Hannah and her team have been giving people the opportunity to see the boat first hand and find out more about the technology that has gone into ensuring that Speedbird can sail as fast as possible. The Science Museum has given access to this space during half term, allowing youngsters visiting the museum to see Speedbird first hand to not only be inspired by Hannah and what she is attempting to achieve but also to learn more about Speedbird and importantly, the science behind it.
Speedbird has been designed and built by project engineer Dave Chisholm. In order to achieve this record, Project Speedbird will need to bring together both technological and engineering innovation and combine it with Hannah’s grit, determination and physical ability.
Dave Chisholm commented: ‘If you want to break records, you have to do things differently. Highspeed sailing is an ancient art, but if you have no rule books or guidelines to work from, you have to use and trust your own research, thoughts and ideas. Combine these with technology and you can then develop ideas into tangible forms and manufacturing components in titanium and carbon fibre. We have been lucky to have had access to our partner Land Rover’s engineering expertise and technology to enable us to fine tune our designs to give us the best possible shot at breaking this record.’
In order to prepare for this record Hannah isgoing to huge lengths to get herself in the best possible condition which has started with learning how to sail the hydrofoiling Moth that the Speedbird design is based on. Hannah is taking training support and advice from an experienced team of world-class athletes across a multitude of sports, to give her the best all round performance edge. Those athletes providing support include a number of professional sailors currently competing on the Extreme Sailing Series™ – an international inshore racing circuit.
Hannah will also need to change her body strength needing to drop 4-6kgs and build new muscle groups to have enough strength to sail such a fast boat. She is on a strict regime that includes over 10 sessions a week with around 15 hours of sailing and 8 hours in the gym. She is also on a strict, high protein diet that is closely monitored and adjusted to aid her performance.
Speaking about Project Speedbird, Hannah said: ‘I knew this was an ambitious project both technologically and physically when we set out to break the women’s speed sailing record. I knew the key to success would be securing the support of partners, like Land Rover, who are world leaders in the innovation and expertise required to streamline Speedbird into a record-breaking machine.
‘I am enormously grateful for the support of all of our partners as they will give me the competitive edge required to secure and harness the ultimate advantage over the elements to push the boundaries of this project and achieve a world record.’
After the event at the Science Museum, Hannah will be attempting to make the first crossing of the English Channel in a Moth setting off from Cap de Gris, France to Folkestone, England in early June (depending on weather conditions). Hannah’s sailing background is in endurance sailing at sea and learning to sail a high-speed Moth has meant that she has had to learn a whole new set of skills. No-one has attempted to cross the Channel in a Moth before and Hannah will need to apply all of her skills from endurance sailing and combine them with the high speed skills required for Hydrofoiling.
Hannah and her team will be exhibiting Speedbird in Cardiff at the Extreme Sailing Series™ presented by Land Rover from 19-21 June 2015.