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In 2009, l’Hydroptère broke the symbolic barrier of 50 knots and became the world fastest sailing boat over both 500 meters and 1 nautical mile. This major achievement relied on the high skills of the sailing team but also on technical advances of the boat, resulting from the scientific collaboration between the Hydroptère Design Team and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). In the present article, we highlight the multidisciplinary research activity performed within EPFL in the course of this collaboration involving aero- and hydrodynamics, materials and structure as well as computer vision. Various foils were tested at reduced scale in a high speed water tunnel, and the results used to validate the numerical simulations. Composite materials, their processing parameters and assembly components were tested. The structural behaviour was also investigated to determine strains and stresses in normal and extreme sailing conditions, taking waves into account, and a combined model was derived for dynamic simulation. Finally, advanced computer vision methods were developed and implemented on the boat to monitor foil immersion and cross beams deformations.