Skill and strength versus money and machines in the quest to be the world's fastest on water.
The third annual Lüderitz Speed Challenge will begin in less than two weeks hoping to better last years success when speed sailors shattered the previously unbeatable 50knot barrier (93kph), setting a string of world and national records in this 'Formula One of Sailing'. Throughout the month of November many of the world's top kitesurfers will once again descend on the remote Namibian town of Lüderitz to compete against each other and the clock to prove what is the world's fastest wind-powered craft.
Last year's kitesurfer Alex Caizergues of France set a new outright world record of 50.57knots (93.6kph) over 500m, with Rob Douglas of the U.S.A. and Sebastien Cattelan of France, also breaking the 50 knot barrier, recording times of 50.54 and 50.52 knots respectively.
Speed sailing is becoming incredibly hotly contested in the past year ? not only because the technology is allowing previously undreamed of speeds to be reached, but also because with the recent focus on climate change and new, alternative energy sources, wind-power is very much in fashion and looks set to one day be, literally, a life saver.
The greatest battle in the bid for speed is contested between two very different worlds ? on one side we have the skill, strength and sheer bravery of the kitesurfers and windsurfers, and on the other like towering skyscrapers we have the well-funded sailboat teams that make use of the latest computer and material technology to design ever more outlandish sailboats. Last year the kitesurfers beat the windsurfers, who had before beaten the sailboats. This year the sailboats have come back roaring and hungry for glory. In September the Swiss/French sailboat l'Hydropt?re took the world record back with an astonishing 51.36knots (95kph) at Hy?res off the south coast of France.
In the running this year representing the UK is the Sailrocket, which is currently chasing the record in Walvis Bay, Namibia. The question has to be, will kitesurfers again achieve high-speed glory on water in this year's Lüderitz Speed Challenge? Or will the immense resources and technology of the sailors prove to be too formidable an obstacle to overcome.
Click hereto watch on action video of pure speed. Roll on November!
Current registered competitors:
Sebastien Cattelan (FRA) Sacha de Ridder (SUI) Tim Turner (AUS) Ronan Harvey (GBR) Sophie Routaboul (FRA) Basil Cambanis (RSA) Alexandre Caizergues (FRA) Maxime Richard (FRA) Christian Baret (BEL) Taro Niehaus (RSA) Jérôme Bila (FRA) Jernej Privsek (SLO) M.Suer Sayir (TUR) Rob Munro (GBR) Rob Douglas (USA) Christophe Prin-Guenon (FRA) Marc Antoine Martin (FRA) Mike Hall (USA) Sjoukje Bredenkamp (RSA) Manu Taub (FRA) Marc Avella (ESP) Peter Bjarke Olsen (DNK) Patrice Menossi (FRA) Jamie Douglas (USA) Hennie Bredenkamp (RSA) Charlotte Consorti (FRA) Fred Kloren (NLD)
Johannpeter Felipe (BRA) Geoffrey Mascarell (FRA) Stephane Caous (FRA)
Check out Science.tv to find out if the British team did what they set out to do in Namibia
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