Speed sailing

Speed sailing

Speed sailing is the art of sailing a craft as fast as possible over a predetermined route, and having its overall or peak speed recorded and accredited by a regulatory body. The term usually refers to sailing on water, even though sailing on land and ice is progressively faster because of the lower friction involved.

Boats used

The craft used vary from single sailor windsurfers or kitesurfers, to multi-hulls with crews of fifteen people. Many short course record attempts are made with boats based on the classic proa boat layout. Recent developments include hulls that rely on hydrofoils or planing hulls, which allow the hull to lift out of the water, and thereby increases speed by reducing friction.

Throughout 1970s, the speed sailing 500 meter records were dominated by large boats, as typified by the Crossbow and Crossbow II of Timothy Colman. This has changed since to smaller, very lightweight boats. The last sailboat (as opposed to windsurf or kitesurf board) to hold the outright 500m speed record was the Yellow Pages Endeavour, a highly optimized one-way proa design using a rigid wingsail.


Antoine Albeau who holds the windsurfing speed record (on a 500 metre course) with a speed of 49.09 knots (92km/h) on a purpose built canal at Sainte Marie de la Mer canal in Southern France. The previous record of 48.7 knots was held by Finian Maynard, an Irish born windsurfer who sails for the British Virgin Islands who achieved this speed on 10th April 2005 on the same purpose built canal. Windsurfers are not as efficient as the larger boats used in record attempts. Albeau's 49.09 knot record was set in winds of 45 to 50 knots, [cite web |url=http://www.speedworldcup.com/press-releases/speedsailing-world-records-tumble-in-saintes-maries-de-l-3.html |title= Speedsailing World Records tumble in Saintes Maries de la Mer |date=Wednesday, 05 March 2008] while the Yellow Pages Endeavour, which held a record of 46.52 knots from 1993 to 2004, was optimized to sail in a 19 knot wind. [cite web |url=http://www.macquarie.com.au/speedsailing/design.htm |title=Design] Venue has much to do with the windsurfer's success, as all windsurfing 500m records since 1988 have been made at the same canal in Marie de la Mer. [cite web |url=http://www.sailrocket.com/record-history.htm |title=THE RECORD: SPEEDS]


Frenchman kitesurfer Sebastien Cattelan became the first sailor to break the 50 knots barrier with 50.26 knots on the 3rd of October 2008 in Lüderitz, Namibia. On the 4th of October frenchman Alex Caizergues, also using a kite, broke this record with a 50.57 knots run. These speeds are verified, but are still subject to ratification by the WSSRC. [http://www.sail-world.com/Australia/Fifty-knots-broken-again---New-Speed-Record/49448]

The current speed record over a 500 meter (1,640 ft) course, officially ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, [cite web
url=http://www.sailspeedrecords.com/historical-list-of-500-metre-records.html|title=Historical List Of 500 Metre Records|publisher=WSSRC |accessdate=2008-10-06
] is held by Rob Douglas at 49.84 knots, which is the outright World Speed Sailing Record. Unlike the recent windsurfing record attempts, the record was set in natural conditions at Luderitz, Namibia. [cite web|url=http://www.seabreeze.com.au/News/Sailing/Outright-World-Speed-Sailing-Record-to-Rob-Douglas_1855456.aspx|title=Sailing Outright World Speed Sailing Record to Rob Douglas |publisher=www.seabreeze.com.au|accessdate=2008-09-25|last=|first=] [cite web|url=http://www.kiteboardingmag.com/article/News/Rob-Douglas-sets-the-new-speed-record-at-499-knots|title=Rob Douglas sets the new speed record at 49.9 knots |publisher=www.kiteboardingmag.com|accessdate=2008-09-25|last=|first=]

Around the world records

* 2005 : Bruno Peyron (FRA/Orange II). 50 days 16 h 20 min 04 sec. Averaged 22.2 knots over the 31,071 mile course.
* 2004 : Steve Fossett. 58 days 9 hours.
* 2001 : Grant Dalton (Club Med). 62 days.
* 1997 : Olivier de Kersauson (FRA/Sport Elec). 71 days 14 h 22 min 08 sec.

Longest distance run in 24 hours

The records for the longest distance sailed within 24 hours are also recorded by the WSSRC. There are different categories:

Any yacht, any number of crew

Boat: "Orange II", catamaran, 120 ft; crew: Bruno Peyron and a crew of 11; date: 2nd/3rd July 2006; distance: 766.8 nm; average speed: 31.95 kts.

Any yacht, single-handed

Boat: "Brossard", trimaran, 60 ft; Yvan Bourgnon; date: 6th/7th August 2006; distance: 610.45 nm; average speed: 25.76 kts.

Monohull, any number of crew

Boat: "ABN Amro Two", 70-feet-VOR; crew: Sebastien Josse and a crew of 9; date: 10th/11th January 2006; distance: 562.96 nm; average speed: 23.45 kts.

Monohull, single-handed

Boat: Hugo Boss, Open 60; Alex Thomson; date: 6th/7th December 2007; distance: 500.01 nm; average speed: 20.83 kts.


External links

* [http://www.monofoil.com/ Monofoil: water speed record challenger]
* [http://www.windjet.co.uk/ Windjet: details of an attempt at water and land sailing records]
* [http://www.sailspeedrecords.com/ WSSRC: The world regulatory body for speed sailing]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/sailing/4229079.stm MacArthur sails into record books]
* [http://www.patyuen.com/event/2006/speedsailing/index.htm Inaugural San Francisco Speed Sailing Event 2006]

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