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Southern Spars

Salt and Speed - Kitesurfers in great shape for record attempt

by Tanguy Blondel on 16 Mar 2013
Alex Caizergues © AQUATERRA / Beneteau Gregory http://www.aqua-terra.info

In the strong winds (Force 9) of the past two days, kitesurfers Alexandre Caizergues and Rob Douglas have linked together a number of runs at over fifty knots on the 500m 'Volkswagen Transporter Arena' course in France’s Salin-de-Giraud. The best performance so far this year has gone to the Frenchman with a speed of 54.84 knots (101.56 km/hr), whilst the American World Kitesurfing record holder reached 54.35 knots.


They have yet to improve on Rob Douglas’ record of 55.65 knots, but in the space of two days they have demonstrated their great ability to go fast on a regular basis. At the Salins du Midi spot, which lies right at the heart of the Groupe des Salins, the riders have endured a biting cold to remind the ‘speed sailing’ planet, just what they’re made of. With this in mind, 'Salt and Speed' Act 2, will continue through to 18 April and is certainly the fastest sailing event in Europe.


'I’m not really far off my personal best,' explains Alex. 'That proves that we’re on the right track after just three or four days of sailing at Salt and Speed. With a slightly more northerly wind, like the one we had yesterday morning, we can expect great things. I’m very happy with my performance. The duel Rob and I are having is very interesting. The second 'Salt and Speed' session will continue until 18 April. Thanks to the whole team, who are doing a great job here… Thanks to our partners too, who are enabling us to satisfy our thirst for speed sailing at this spot.'

Alexandre Caizergues: Born on 14 March 1979

- 3 x World Speed Champion (2007, 2008, 2009)
- 2 x World Speed Record all categories combined in 2008 and 2010
- 2 x World Kite Speed Record in 2007 and 2009
- 2 x FFVL (French Free Flight Federation) French Speed Champion
- European Long Distance Number Two 2008
- World Speed Number Two 2006
- First man to break 100 km/hr on the water, propelled by the wind

Rob Douglas: Born on 16 June 1971

- World Speed Record all categories combined in 2011 with 55.65 knots and 49.84 knots in 2008.
- World Speed Champion 2012


In figures:

65.45 knots: Sailrocket 2 November 2012
55.65 knots: Rob Douglas 28 October 2010 Namibia
55.49 knots: Seb Cattelan 28 October 2010 Namibia
54.10 knots: Alexandre Caizergues 12 October 2010 Luderitz, Namibia exceeding 100km/hr
51.36 knots: Hydroptère on 6 September 2009
50.57 knots: Alexandre Caizergues 4 October 2008 Luderitz, Namibia
50.26 knots: Seb Cattelan 3 October 2008 Luderitz, Namibia
49.84 knots: Rob Douglas 19 September 2008 Luderitz, Namibia
49.09 knots: World Speed Record Antoine Albeau 5 March 2008 in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France
46.82 knots: Record set by windsurfer Finian Maynard in the autumn of 2004, bringing an end to the hegemony of the sailboat Yellow Pages in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France
46.52 knots: Yellow Pages Endeavour in 1993 at the Sandy Point spot, Australia
38.86 knots: Pascal Maka the first windsurfer to rack up a new official record with 38.86 knots in Sotavento
26.30 knots: Crossbow Catamaran in Portland in 1972

NB: the outright World Sailing Speed Record is the best average speed over 500m by a sail-powered contraption… As such it is different to a peak speed!

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