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Lüderitz becomes windsurfers’ haven

LÜDERITZ is proving to be the ideal location for international speed sailing and could become the perfect platform for new international and outright records. Kite speeds hit astonishing new heights at Lüderitz in 2007, performances that have not been recorded or witnessed anywhere else on the planet.
Looking to capitalise on that success, organisers Sébastien Cattelan and Sophie Routaboul have since last year planned to build a new playground for windsurfers, and a newly dug canal is proving to be the answer.
The two plan to have the three types of craft – namely kite surfers, windsurfers and hydrofoil boats (which have battled for years) – compete on the same course with the right conditions for a close contest.
The Lüderitz Speed Challenge 2011 aims to create the perfect course for multiple disciplines, thereby making it a hotly contested affair.
Cattelan knows that he can reach 60 knots in kite surfing, but as an ex-pro windsurfer and because this sport still needs to express itself, he also wants to create the right conditions for them to push the limits.
Cattelan and Routaboul have worked for the past four years to make 55 knots possible, work that now needs to be leveraged to the benefit of the windsurfers.
For now the new canal has proved to be more beneficial for windsurfers than for kite surfers, but some options still remain to improve this for both disciplines and the strong wind is still on the way.
Last week was the first real test of the newly constructed speed sailing canal in Lüderitz, and it was a resounding success. Despite the organisers treating this year as a test for the new canal – dug just before the start – the results look promising thus far.
In fact windsurfing legend Anders Bringdal has managed to reach truly impressive speeds on his first day (50,72 Vmax) and recorded the highest peak speed ever recorded by a windsurfer.
Windsurfers’ average and peak speeds are very close, so this proves that a 50+ knot over 500m average is possible on the new canal.
The current world record on a windsurfer is 49,09 knots over 500m.
Further improvements will be made based on the analysis from the training sessions, which will allow for even faster speeds and make the canal safer, drawing ever close to record speed.
Kite surfing records and performances have also followed, with Wolfram Reiners setting a new German speed sailing record of record of 46,4 knots on his very first run, which is more than 4 knots faster than the previous record.
Cattelan also set some blistering speeds by recording a 50+ knot average and 55 knot peak speed.

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