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Caizergues and Douglas to attempt Salt and Speed Record

by Tanguy Blondel on 14 Nov 2012
Salt and Speed record attempt Tanguy Blondel
Salt and Speed is the title of a new outright World Sailing Speed Record attempt over 500 metres… Provence’s Alexandre Caizergues, the first man to smash through the legendary 100 km/hr barrier with a speed of 54.10 knots and America’s Rob Douglas, current record holder with a speed of 55.65 knots, are two top-level kitesurfers. Together they will be attempting to reach 110km/hr on France’s brand new nautical arena in Salin-de-Giraud in the Bouches-du-Rhône department from 17 November through until 10 December 2012.

Frenchman Alexandre Caizergues, three-time World Speed Champion and two-time World Speed record holder all categories combined, has been thinking about this for a long while. Re-establishing a speed spot in France had become a goal for this native of Port Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, as has the mission to reach an average of 60 knots over 500 metres…

'We found the spot using Google Earth. As is always the case with this type of speed attempt, it had to be well-positioned in relation to the strong Mistral in our region', explains the instigator of 'Salt and Speed'. 'We’ve set our heart on a lake situated on one of Groupe Salins’ production sites in Salin-de-Giraud, which is an important site for salt production in Europe. We managed to come to an agreement and very quickly we began work to firm up the banks of this 800-metre stretch of water, which is some 10 metres wide.'

After some conclusive tests, the kitesurfer naturally decided to establish an event. 'It will be a private affair. Initially, over a period spanning 17 November to 10 December, we’re inviting the current holder of the outright World Sailing Speed Record, Rob Douglas, to join us.'

This France/ America match will continue at the 'Volkswagen Transporter Arena', in the spring, with the opening of the site to other riders. 'The idea is to try to break some new records over a series of acts, which will be held over the next three years. This type of attempt takes time. We won’t always have the best sailing conditions, even though the statistics for a strong mistral are very favourable in this region', Caizergues continues.

A ten-strong team will be in attendance during the first speed runs. Added to this, a WSSRC observer, Christophe Simian, assisted by Jean-Pierre Brun, (former organiser of the famous Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer speed records along with Pascal Maka), will also be present.


Furthermore, the 'Salt and Speed' organisation has kitted itself up with a sophisticated timing system. 'Everything’s in place to clock up some very fast times,' Alexandre Caizergues says. 'Volkswagen will be our official transporter, whilst the Zenith brand of watches, the event’s timekeeper, and the FFVL (French Free Flight Federation), will also be supporting the event. 'I’m looking forward to it,' says Rob Douglas, who will be making the journey to France specially. 'This spot looks completely crazy! Alexandre and I will be up against each other obviously but over the years we’ve forged some close links. We’ll be driving each other into a corner'.

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
1st 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:

55.65 knots: Rob Douglas 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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