When Australian Paul Larsen shattered the outright speed record in Namibia on November 24, 2012, piloting Vestas SailRocket to 65.45 knots on theWalvis Bay 500 meter track, it was the result of a decade of diligence.
But what is Sailrocket, and how did it eclipse the speed of 55.65 knots set by American kiter Rob Douglas in 2010?
One of the fundamental keys to Sailrocket's performance is eliminating the heeling force, but she's not the first to this by a long way. By canting their rigs to windward and with the sails above their heads, windsurfers do it all the time to balance out the forces. Once in equilibrium, as they hammer along in straight line, there is no heeling moment on the board itself. Instead, it's all about balancing the sail forces against the skeg.
In practice, Sailrocket is rather more complex because of her size, but essentially she is just a big windsurfer with the hull and crew pulling down on the tip of the mast and a strut lower down instead of sitting in a harness attached to the wishbone.
Comments: Current record: Karin Yaggi. SUI, 41.25 kts in 2005 at Les Saintes Maries. Zara Davis broke the record on 4 occasions over 3 days of attempts.
The annual competition held on the man made canal in Namibia has come to a close for another year.
After so many records were broken many riders were hopeful that the last Thursday would deliver more wind that would enable the speeds to be pushed a little further, but unfortunately it was not to be. Yet this will surely go down as one of the best speed sailing competitions in history, with many record broken, many times, and of course the overall speed record not only being taken over 50knots, but over 52 by Antoine Albeau!
Here on Boards we have covered the event every step of the way, so to check out all the coverage just head here; posts include videos, interviews with Antoine Albeau and Zara Davis, images and of course details of even record broken and top speed reached!
We would also like to congratulate all the riders that took part this year, it has been incredible to see everyone pushing the top speeds and it's certainly inspired us to get the GPS out! Article on Boards
Zara Davis on BBC 1 Breakfast Talking about her trip to Namibia and Her new womens world record
50 knots+ at Luderitz!!
Both Antoine Albeau and Anders Bringdal broke the 'Holy Grail' half century threshold at the man-made channel in Luderitz, Namibia.
Sweden's Bringdal was the first man over-the-line, smashing through with an average speed over 500m of 50.41 knots followed closely by a 50.46 knot run. Shortly afterwards France's previous record-holder and 2012 PWA Slalom World Champ Antoine Albeau logged an astonishing 50.59 knots!
Tonnes of other national records and PBs followed, including Farrell O'Shea who achieved a new UK record of 48.21 knots. At this point it is unclear whether Bringdal's top speed constitutes a Production board record or not. The speeds quoted here are as-quoted by the Luderitz Speed event organisers, but the GPS 'Speed Surfing' website is showing some even higher peaks and ,although no official WSSRC confirmation has been received, currently displays Anders Bringdal as holding a mammoth 50.62 knot (500m) run at the top of its all-time speeds ladder. Report from Windsurf Magazine
Great news and bad news for Zara Davis . . . She broke her women's world record again with an amazing run of 44.69 knots. But on the last run of the day she fell past the finish line and was caught by a gust and hit the mast hard and had to be taken to hospital for 7 stiches. Zara says "it was a great day and I'm fine and will be back for the next session on Saturday when I hope to go faster!!!"
The first 2 days of this Windsurfing World Record Attempt have already created a communication buzz all over the world!
Antoine Albeau, who is currently - and has been for 20 times in the past - the World Champion in Slalom held the previous World Windsurfing Record of 49.09 kts (2008), has just broken it again today with 49.41 kts! The fact that this close-to-50-knots record was set in only 38 knots of wind, makes us all see the possibilities of the next days with more serious wind conditions!
The Swedish legend Anders Bringdal, who lead the 1st day, broke the World Record in Windsurfing on Production board twice on day two - and he improved his national Record to 48.38 knots !
The Female World Record in Windsurfing was broken twice by Zara Davis who obviously enjoys the new concept and the new "Luderitz Speed Challenge" channel! With 44.19 knots she is also the fastest Female British windsurfer. Read more . . .
The 40th Anniversary of Weymouth Speed Week was the host to the final round of the European Speed Tour. Light winds for the first few days but they built towards the end of the week. The conditions were tough on the first 4 rounds with winds from the east meaning a course set in the harbour and the inevitable chop! the final two rounds on the last day was the best with winds from the traditional SW and a flat course along the beach.
The racing was close between the top 4 contenders David Garrel LUX Last years winner, Thorsten Mallon GER 2nd last year and leading coming in to this event, Daniel Borgelind SWE on the back of a win from Germany was on great form and so was his fellow countryman Anders Bjorqvist.
The Walvis Bay Speedweek wrapped up with the prize giving ceremony on Saturday 29 September after a highly successful event.
There were three days during the week were the course was open for speed sailing and the competitors took to the water in challenging conditions.
The open format where the sailors would go out and record their runs over the gated 500m course on a GPS worked very well. There was no time pressure and sailors could tune their equipment and recharge their energy levels when they needed to. This lead to very good performances by the competitors and a lot of personal bests were recorded.
The Walvis bay Speedweek is making a comeback in 2012!
This will be a recognised event by the ISWC and the winners will be awarded the title African Speed Windsurfing Champions.
The event is being staged by the legendary Hennie Bredenkamp and will run from the 23rd to the 29th of September. Full details can be found including details on accommodation, NOR and Entry forms on their website.
The dates of the 2012 Luderitz Speed Challenge have been confirmed and registration opened. Scheduled to run from the 5th November until the 2nd December, the 2012 Luderitz World Speed Sailing attempt is set to be better than ever before.
Two years have been spent constructing a new course in Namibia and this will be the first time many of the top names have fired themselves down it attempting to break the 50-knot barrier. Built 300m further inland from the original course, the new speed run is said to have cleaner wind and be set at a better angle to the prevailing wind - all essential factors in world record attempts.
Current entries include Anders Bringdal, Farrel O'Shea, Andrea Baldini and Zara Davis, who will join them in November? Keep an eye on http://www.luderitz-speed.com/ to find out!
Zara Davis the UK's queen of speed has been voted UK windsurfer of the year
The UKWA (United Kingdom Windsurfing Association) is very pleased to announce the winner of the UK windsurfer of the year Zara Davis. Zara had a fantastic year to gain her nomination including achieving a new women's production speed record in Namibia. Then back to back wins, in three rounds of the European speed tour to become the ISWC European champion for the second time in her career. She also won the UK Weymouth speed week for a record 6th time as well as the women's British GPS 2011 speed ladder.
During the month of November, the Luderitz Speed Challenge 2011 took place in one of the windiest places on Earth, in the howling landscape of Namibia in Africa. Winds often reach 60 knots, and blast offshore across a flat barren beach - which is the ideal recipe for speedsailing!
Long time Windsurfing legend Anders Bringdal, who now spends his all time running Mistral Windsurfing, jumped at the chance to test out the course in Luderitz, and in doing so instantly became the fastest windsurfer in the world!