The Lüderitz Speed Challenge 2008 is to be held in Lüderitz, Namibia, from 15 September 2008 to 13 October 2008. This is the second edition of the event.
The event is held under the scrutiny of the World Speed Sailing Record Council (WSSRC) and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). As such, it conforms to the WSSRC rules and allows for international validation of national, continental or world records established during the event.
The first edition of the Lüderitz Speed Challenge, held in September and October 2007, saw a number of impressive performances, suddenly placing Lüderitz on the world sailing map in a major way! Sjoukje Bredenkamp, a professional kiteboarder from Langebaan in South Africa, established a new outright female speed sailing world record in Lüderitz, becoming the fastest sailing woman in the world, with 42.35 knots over 500m. Alex Caizergues, Manu Taub and Sebastien Cattelan, all French professional kiteboarders, established several new kitesurfing speed records, and took respectively the second, third and fourth outright all-time speed sailing records, with 47.92 knots, 46.98 knots and 46.71 knots.
With landscape similar to the moon, but warmer, Lüderitz is a speed sailor’s dream. It is a ten hour drive from Cape Town, easily done overnight. The road goes through the dry semi-desert area of South Africa’s Northern Cape province, to gradually enter the Namibian desert areas around mid-way. It slowly transforms into a steadily more and more incredible landscape. The adventure really starts on the road, and the images will stay for ever in your memories, because this is one of the most beautiful you’ve likely driven!
At the coast at Lüderitz itself is a natural speed strip, with a great angle that provides conditions perfect for breaking the outright WSSRC 500m record.
Lüderitz has generated enough wind over the aeons to move all of the desert sand away, leaving bare rock, diamonds and no vegetation.
Lüderitz is now recognized as the best speed sailing spot on the planet for kitesurfing, and will likely soon also reach this status for windsurfers. There are a number of reasons to this…
First, the wind:
The wind in Lüderitz blows consistently, in the same direction, from August to March every year. The wind is strong, and in spite of the surrounding desert, is not hot, which gives higher density to the airflow and contributes to better performances. It is accelerated by a funnel effect as it comes from the cold Atlantic Ocean waters, over the dry savannah of south Namibia, and into the Namibian desert. It is precisely in Lüderitz that the wind, channelled through a range of high hills perfectly shaped to increase its speed, reaches the sand desert, which high daytime temperatures amplify by creating an additional low-pressure “suction effect”. As a result, we benefit from extra strong winds, very regular in direction and strength. http://www.windguru.com/
Lüderitz is normally windy for a four to five day period without a break at least three to four times a month, and we could say from experience that in-season, 50-70% of the time is good for record conditions. In 2007, we ran 11 sessions for just under World Record conditions over the 28 days duration of the event.
Secondly, the water:
The run is situated at the bottom of a lagoon, and is very flat.
Thirdly, the angle to the wind:
The ideal angle to the wind to reach very high speed in kitesurfing or windsurfing is to be around 140 degrees. This is the exact angle on the run in Lüderitz…
It seems like this spot has been created just for speed!
Our objective for the 2008 edition of the Lüderitz Speed Challenge is nothing less than making history and reaching the mythical 50 knots for the first time! Indeed, Sebastian Cattelan and Alex Caizergues, in private sessions in February, have already had their GPS panicking: Go check it out on GPS-kitesurfing.com
We have made the necessary arrangements for the event to be prolonged up to 15 December 2008 if it proves to be necessary to reach the 50 knot record. The decision on this might be taken at any point in time during the event. We invite the competitors to make the necessary arrangements to allow maximum flexibility in their travel arrangements.
In order to also improve our chances to reach the magical 50 knots barrier, we are making some improvements on the run, in collaboration with the Namibian authorities. These changes will reduce the chop on the run, especially in the launch area and at the exit of the two river mouths, which we also call the “swimming pools”. However the main element is that the 2008 Lüderitz run will have a perfect angle of 140 degrees over the entire 500m distance. In 2007, only the last 250m were at a perfect angle, the first 250m suffering from a slightly off-peak 110 degree angle.
The performances of Alex, Manu and Sebastian were realised with a first half run below 43 knots, and a second part run of over 50 knots, with amazing top speeds (over 50m) recorded by the GPS of over 54 knots for Alex and 56 knots for Sebastian. This is a peak speed of over 100km/h! What we have tried to do this year is to improve the angle on the first part to stretch out the best portion of the run to increase the average speed over the course.
Another interesting feature of the speed strip we have designed for the 2008 Lüderitz Speed Challenge is that the depth of the water over the 500m is very consistent. Professional measuring shows that the water depth does not vary more than 20 cm between maximum and minimum depth over the entire distance. Combining this with the tide charts, we have determined a scheduled 60 hours of afternoon sailing with the water level over 50cm deep over the entire 500m of the run (the wind blows harder from around 14h00 to 18h00 every day). This is fantastic news for the windsurfers!
So, we firmly believe that 50 knots will happen in Lüderitz in 2008!
We have prepared ourselves accordingly, so that when this happens, the whole world will know.
We have contracted a Sport Marketing Agent in France, and a Communication and Media Relation Agency.
Our Sport Marketing Agency is currently chasing for the biggest prize money we can get on the 50 knots performance (92.6km/h), as well as on the 60mph (96.6km/h), outright world record (men, women) as well as the first woman over 45 knots. We trust the good news will come soon.
Our Communication and Media Relations Agents are working on carrying the news in the mainstream press in Europe and elsewhere. Apart from magazine coverage and documentary films, like the 26 minute segment on the Lüderitz Speed Challenge 2007 that was recently broadcast five times by SuperSport satellite TV channel in South Africa and on the DSTV network throughout Africa, one key aspect is the possibility to have images broadcasted on major television evening news on the day of a record being established. For this, high resolution images will be downloadable through the Media Centre on our Website by all registered media. Our Agents are relaying the news to close to 1,000 media throughout Europe and the world, covering all types: print daily, weekly and magazine press, television networks, radios, websites and more. Skype interviews with riders and/or organisers will be organised daily with the press in Europe and elsewhere.
The last world record that was broken recently by Antoine Albeau received intense coverage throughout the world, and was featured on most evening news televisions networks in Europe the same day. We expect nothing less!http://www.luderitz-speed.com/Media/cached/epimages/09.jpg
Images will be available freely to the press and the competitors or their sponsors. Photos, as well as video images, will be provided by outsourced professional and will be also featured daily on our website. Stories, interviews, results, newsletters, breaking news, and race notices will be written live and published daily by our Press Centre manager.
See you in Lüderitz…http://www.luderitz-speed.com