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Speed Update PDF Print E-mail
Written by Basil Cambanis   
Saturday, 25 April 2009 06:44

Speed World Tour
There is only one event for the kite and windsurfing tours this year due to the world economic crisis and reduced flights to event locations according to the organiser Markus, from the Speed World Cup.
The kite wolrd cup event already took place at Port Saint Louis (France) in late March, the results were as follows : 1st Alex Caizergues, 2nd Sylvain Hoceini, 3rd Rob Douglas.
The windsurfing event will take place on the island of Karpathos (Greece) in August, this is a 250 meter course.
The Luderitz Speed Challenge will take place in November and Rob Douglas is organising a Top Gun GPS speed event at Martha's Vineyard in the States.

Yacht Contenders
Macquarie Innovation skippered by Simon McKeon became the 1st yacht to break 50 knots (50.08) on 26 March 2009 at Sandy Point. They had a bad crash shortly after that while going for the outright record which will take several months to repair.
SailRocket achieved a respectable 47.36 knot 500 meter average and the second best NM (Nautical Mile = 1.85km) at Walvis Bay. They had a spectacular 180 degree flip with skipper Paul Larsen still inside, luckily he only sustained a concussion and minor injuries. Their record attempt period stipulated by the WSSRC ended recently, so they will not contend until later in the year. Check out the video of their crash here.
Hydroptere skippered by Alain Thebault achieved a 46.14 knots over 500 meters and set a new NM record of 43.09 on 30 October 2008. They crashed late last year and are also out of the running for several months.

WotRocket also had a crash in Botany Bay (Australia) in August last year which halted their speed program for several months, but the repairs have now been done and they'll be entering the speed race once again.
The yachting advantage :
1. The water depth rule has not been applied to them, namely the depth may not be less than half the beam or 15cm throughout the course.
2. They use Trimble GPS which costs a forune, but it allows them to compete anytime anywhere. The handheld GPS kiters use only reads at 1Hz at present, and it'll take several years before the 10Hz unit required by the WSSRC is available.
3. Their GPS tracks and data remain a secret, whereas ours are made public.

The Future
With the rapid advances the yachts have been making, it won't take them much longer to surpass Alex's record of 50.57 knots.
It's time for a rethink equipment wise if the kiters are to remain competitive, as the yachts are achieving nearly the same speeds in almost half the wind.
We need a dedicated speed kite, which is super efficient with low drag. The double sided foil might be the answer; it's been tried several years ago, but was unsuccessful at the time.
The hull design also needs dramatic change, perhaps an offset hydrofoil or the like to reduce the drag, lessen the effect of chop, and allow better efficiency on a squarer course.
Since kiters perform better at a broader angle (140 deg.) when compared to yachts and windsurfers, we need a lot more wind to go fast, as the apparent wind (true wind + board speed) is lessened. If we were able to improve our efficiency on squarer courses we'd need less wind.
Kiters are approaching their limit in terms of top end (60-65 knots), and we need 40-50 knots on the perfect course to achieve this.
Imagine how it would open up the playing field once again if these same speeds were achievable in 25-30 knots of wind.
The records set by the top kiters and yachts are already out of reach for all except for a handful of contenders, so it's become very elitest.

The speed records are already out of reach for most of us, but we can still have fun speed sailing and improving upon our personal bests.
Please feel free to contact me for advice about speed kiting. Your comments, suggestions and complains are most welcome.

 

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GPS Top 5 2012

Name Ave. Max. 500m
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Top 10 All Time

Name Ave. Max. 500m
1. Sebastien C.56.0261.7853.06
2. Alex C.52.7360.5945.32
3. Gavin B.51.8955.4051.36
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6. Basil C.50.4953.4950.85
7. Jerome B.50.1255.0050.40
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9. Hennie B.49.6252.8049.47
10. Rolf v.48.6655.7547.90

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2. Laurent H.34.2934.6927.30
3. Ole K.48.3652.2948.06
4. Basil C.44.8250.8931.90
5. Ole K.42.5344.6741.01

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