Together with a selected group of the windsurfing worlds finest, legends Björn DUNKERBECK and Robby NAISH (USA) yesterday concluded their first attempt to shatter the current speed record of 46.52 knots held by Simon MCKEON (AUS) in Yellow Pages.
They were gathered in Arinaga on the Canary Islands in the Eastern Atlantic, the first stop of three locations, to challenge the speed sailing record. Known for its seasonally strong winds in July, it was hoped that the Canaries would provide the ideal conditions.
The Challengers will eventually travel to Southern France's Mediterranean Sea and onto the shores of New Zealand's Pacific coastline, leaving nothing to chance, in their search for just the right wind and water conditions that need to be almost perfect, if the record is to be broken.
The world record has now stood since 1993 and although with many millions of dollars spent and countless new technological developments applied, no one has been able to go faster for a decade.
The first mission of the Challengers will be to shatter the current record of 46.52 knots (86.16km/h or 53.53mph) and return it thereby to the windsurfers, which held it previously with 45.35 knots.
This record was set by Thierry BIELAK (FRA) in April 1993.
The second mission and the perhaps most coveted price of any sailor will be to break the 50 knot barrier. Some consider it impossible, the Challengers however see it definitely within their reach.
Report from Yesterday's Final Day on the Water at Arinaga
The organizers describe the past few weeks as a hard earned learning experience … while the Challengers prefer to call it a super encouraging practice run. Says Robby Naish "I am stoked and I had a great time and I am happy with my first speed runs".
Monday August 4th was the last day out for the two remaining Challengers Dunkerbeck & Naish, who clocked speeds around 42 knots - inhibited by a Southern swell, which made faster times an impossible task for both.
So by the end of the day it was time to pack up the camp and head for home, knowing that by October the second stop of the Challenge will reunited the magnificent four in France.
Four Teams Are Challenging the Record
AB Swedish Challenge - www.worldspeedsailing.com/team_swe_fr.html
Dunkerbeck Race Team - www.worldspeedsailing.com/team_bd_fr.html
Naish International Race Team - www.worldspeedsailing.com/team_usa_fr.html
Le Defi France - www.worldspeedsailing.com/team_france_fr.html