New World Record Broken - Antoine Albeau in Luderitz
Deep in the Namibian desert, a small group of the worlds fastest windsurfers have spent the last 5 weeks in a shallow channel, just a few meters wide, at speeds close to 100km per hour.
It's the Chris Benz Luderitz Speed Challenge, and during week 5 the sailors were graced with the wind they've all been waiting for. Strong, from the right direction and blowing in the daylight, that was enough for them, and when it all came down to the wire, Antoine Albeau sailed faster than any windsurfer has ever sailed before. Over 500m, he averaged a speed of 53.27 kts, beating his previous world record of 52.05 knots set back in 2012 at the very same location.
Well, not quite the exact location, to make the event happen each year, a dedicated team of sailors and kiteboarders roll out of the dunes with a few bobcats and a digger, to create the perfect channel for speed records. The angle is critical, as is the depth, because hitting the bottom at 50 knots doesn't end well for anyone! Womens sailing also saw the previous record (also set in 2012 at Ludertiz) pipped by less than a knot, with Karin Jaggi from Switzerland averaging 46.31 kts over the 500m course.
Rounding out week 5 of the speed challenge was a great little tradition called 'Kids Day', where the sailors invite local kids out to the channel to see what it's all about. This time there was no wind, so stand up paddleboards were in order! With more than 200 local kids showing up for the event, it turned out to be a great day for all, with plenty of smiles and of course a little inspiration.
With the forecast promising even better results next week, could the windsurfing records be smashed again? With speeds so close to 100kmph, sailors will be working on their gear this week to extract every last 0.1 of a knot!