Awaiting the wind
There has been no wind in Salin-de-Giraud, France, since the start of “Salt and Speed”* on 17 November and this week, kitesurfers Alex Caizergues and Rob Douglas are training in light airs, actively preparing for their first session. They are keeping a close eye on the performances by the sailboat “Sailrocket 2”; the new holder of the outright World Speed Sailing record, with an average speed achieved in Namibia of 59.23 knots over 500 metres.
Two questions to Rob Douglas, recently stripped of his title of fastest man of the ‘sailing’ world:
What do you think about the “Volkswagen Transporter Arena”, France’s new nautical arena?
The new Volkswagen Transporter Arena is amazing. It’s the first of its kind. This new trench is a prototype in speed sailing and is going to allow kiteboarders the possibility of setting another new kitesurfing world speed record and chasing down the new outright record of Sailrocket. Just like the new VW Transporter, this new speed course in Salin Du Giraud is fast, dynamic and beautiful to look at! It is a revolution and I am honoured to be able to participate in this exciting world record attempt with Alex. It is a big step in the world of speed kiting and one that could have global and historical impact in sailing. It's a place to think, dream and test our ideas as we push on to 60kts... and that is why I'm here! This Arena will allow us to develop and sharpen our tools for the coming attack on Sailrocket. We are the hunters again and this arena could be our ultimate weapon.
What’s your view of the new outright Speed Sailing record by the sailboat “Sailrocket 2” set last week?
I knew the news of Sailrocket was coming... I could feel it. My record was too old and most old things do not last long. I am glad that Alex was the one who told me the news. The news came at a good time as we are here together planning and developing the kitesurfing comeback. Sailrocket’s performance was amazing and they earned it through their massive amounts of energy, time and money spent. Congratulations to them and their sponsors. World records come and go and this evolution is a good thing… It’s the survival of the fittest. This new record of Sailrocket has pushed kiteboarders faster already... New gear and speed courses are in development that will give us more knots. We will adapt and become faster! I look forward to this opportunity. Today is day 3 of the quest to return the crown of speed to kitesurfing.
* Reminder: “Salt and Speed” is a new outright World Speed Sailing record attempt in Salin-de-Giraud running from 17 November to 14 December 2012. Kitesurfers Rob Douglas and Alex Caizergues are the two participants in this unique France-based event.
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
Partners: Ouest Provence – AlpEnergie par GDF SUEZ - Volkswagen Véhicules Utilitaires (Commercial Vehicles) – Zenith – Orange.
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
Partners: The Black Dog - Cabrinha - Lynch Associates - NPX - Dakine - Curtis Fins- Mike's Lab custom boards
59.23 knots: Sailrocket 2 November 2012 (awaiting WSSRC approval)
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!