Lüderitz Speed Challenge
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The Lüderitz Speed Challenge is an annual speed sailing event, held since 2007 in Lüderitz, Namibia, in the southern hemisphere spring. It is observed by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
The event is held at the southern end of the 1x7 km lagoon west of Lüderitz, where between August and March every year there is a consistent, strong wind, blowing from the south at the perfect angle of 140 degrees to the sailing course. In the first, 2007 edition of the event, participants sailed over a curved course. For the second edition, in 2008, a straight course was created by digging along the shore, providing also a very uniform water depth over the entire run. Performance was further enhanced by placing sandbags upwind of the run, and by using temporary wood “chop killers” that reduce the chop caused by the Lüderitz 40 knots (74 km/h) to 50 knots (93 km/h) winds. The total course length is 800m, including the launching and slow-down phases, before and after the 500m official WSSRC distance.
The first Speed Challenge event was held in 2007, in which French kitesurfer Alex Caizergues made the best 500m run at 47.92 knots – only 0.78 knots (1.44 km/h) short of the then-current 48.70 knots (90.19 km/h) world record, set in 2005 on The Canal by windsurfer Finian Maynard.
The second event saw the first ever over-50 knots (93 km/h) outright speed sailing record, when on October 3 Sebastien Cattelan made 50.26 knots (93.08 km/h), only to lose the title one day later to Alex Caizergues at 50.57 knots (93.66 km/h). This achievement marked the end of the race of the speed sailing world to cross the 50 knots (93 km/h) mark, between kitesurfers, windsurfers and sailboats, and opened the race towards the next "mythical frontier" of 100 km/h.
Earlier in the event, on September 19, kitesurfer Rob Douglas (United States) made a 49.84 knots (92.30 km/h) run, becoming the first kitesurfer to establish an outright speed sailing world record – held until that date only by sailboats or windsurfers. However, the international sailing community changed its definition of sailing so that kitesurfing is no longer sailing. Douglas also became the world's third over-50 knots (93 km/h) sailor, when on September 8 he made a 50.54 knots (93.60 km/h) run.
Top Results for 2010 Lüderitz Speed Challenge
- "World's best at Luderitz Speed Challenge | Sailing News". Seabreeze.com.au. 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
-  Archived October 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Naish Africa. "Luderitz Speed Challenge". Luderitz-speed.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
- "BYM Sailing & Sports News". Bymnews.com. 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
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