Lüderitz-Some of the world’s top-speed windsurfers and kiteboarders recently docked at Lüderitz and are preparing to grill each other in one of the world’s biggest speed sailing event.
The 2017 Lüderitz Speed Challenge was officially launched at the town’s Nest Hotel on Sunday, during a glitzy ceremony, which was attended by various local bigwigs including the Lüderitz Town Council CEO, Aunie Gideon.
According to Bruno de Comarmond of Lüderitz Nest Hotel, the last event held in 2015 saw Antoine Albeau of France break his previous world windsurf speed record with a blisteringly fast 53.27 knots (98.66kph).
Karin Jaggi broke the ladies windsurf world record, which was previously held by double world-record holder Zara Davis from UK, with a splendid 46.31 knots 85.77kph.
Speed sailors at this year’s event include Sebastien Cattelan from France, event-founder and first person to break the mythical 50 and 55 knots (101kph) record. Mark Grinnell from South Africa is the event’s new organiser and holder of the world speed record on a production board.
He is also the all-Africa champion and third fastest windsurfer in the world. Other speed legends attending the 2017 event is Red Bull rider and 43x world champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck. National champions from Namibia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Italy and Holland will be competing.
The primary objective is to generate a maximum average speed over an officially designated 500-metre distance. The event is officiated and recognised by the World Speed Sailing Record Council (WSSRC) and a British official will be there to personally ratify speeds and records.
To date, the Lüderitz Speed Challenge, first held in 2007 at the Lüderitz Second lagoon, has produced more than 100 national and 17 world speed sailing record holders. This is the only Namibian sporting event to appear in multiple editions of Guinness World Records.
The 2017 event will no doubt produce many more national records. The event is closely followed by thousands of speed sailing enthusiasts from around the world.