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New Irish Sailing Speed Record - Nautical Mile - 35.88 knots

9th July 2018
Irish sailing speed record holder Oisin Van Gelderen Irish sailing speed record holder Oisin Van Gelderen

27 times National Windsurfing Champion Oisin van Gelderen of Dublin, continued his quest to be the first Irish Sailor to break the 50knot (92kph) barrier last week, when competing in the 'Prince of Speed' event in the South of France at Plage Du Rouet, beside the village of La Palme. (Langdoc-Roussillon Region). This area is famous for relentless offshore winds (tramontana) which are ideal for speed windsurfing, and Le Rouet beach has long been known as the European Mecca for Speed. Van Gelderen spent a month in the area last year at the nearby Salins de La Palme, where he achieved a new Irish 500m Speed Sailing Record of 42.04 knots, but was disappointed as the wind did not come in full force to improve his own personal best held on GPS (set in Ireland).

The times are subject to final verification by WSSRC.

Van Gelderen's main aim during the event last week was to improve on his 500m WSSRC Record, and get an opportunity to break the 50knot barrier. But on the first morning of the event - 5th July - conditions were ideal to make an attempt on the outright World Record for Nautical Mile. Van Gelderen was joined by Antoine Albeau (France) - 24x World Champion and previous Outright Sailing Speed World Record holder - along with Swiss Windsurfer Christian Arnold and French Speed Kitesurfers Marine Tlattla and Chris Ballois.

Conditions were almost ideal along the 4km beach, with wind blowing between 38-43 knots - and relatively flat water on most on the course, but some small chop and waves over sandbanks further down the run. Van Gelderen was first to get full run down the course (having first tested the entire course first for sandbanks and shallow water) and achieved a new Irish Record of 35.88knots average over the distance - despite a kitesurfing school dropping a kite in front of him towards the end of the run. Albeau soon followed, and showed his talent by achieving 41.01knots, just 0.12knots shy of the world record. The Swiss sailor also set a new National Record of 32.62knots, while both kitesurfer crashed out of the run mid-way.

Van Gelderen’s second run was aborted half way due to a lull in wind which coincided with a footstrap pulling from his board, causing him to crash hard. Soon after the session was ended, and the WSSRC course reset to 500m distance, in order for the Prince of Speed Competition to start - a series of 2 hour heats over the 500m course - in which Van Gelderen finished =5th overall.

For now, Van Gelderen returns home to Ireland, but is on call - waiting for a return for strong (40-50knot) winds in France to make another attempt at the Nautical Mile Record. If conditions are not suitable before 23rd July in France, Van Gelderen’’s next Challenge is in November when he travels to the Luderitz Speed Challenge in Namibia, which is the location for all the fastest windsurfing speeds and the current world record were set (by Albeau).

Video of Van Gelderen’s Nautical Mile Record can be seen below

Published in Kitesurfing
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