The Canal

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Coordinates: 43°27′39″N 4°27′52″E / 43.460972°N 4.464355°E / 43.460972; 4.464355 (The Canal)

The Saintes Maries de la Mer Speed Canal, known to windsurfers as The Canal, is a man-made trench near the French Mediterranean coastal town Saintes Maries de la Mer, built especially for speed record-breaking sailing by windsurfers.[1][2]

The Canal, also called The French Trench[3] by the English-speaking community of Windsurfers, is 1,100 metres long and 30 metres wide,[4] in a West-Northwest/East-Southeast orientation designed to take advantage of the Marin and Mistral winds that blow in that location.

Three consecutive Outright Speed Sailing Records, measured on a 500-metre course, were set on The Canal by windsurfers in 2004, 2005 and 2008:

  • 49.09 knots (90.91 km/h - 56.49 mph) by French windsurfer Antoine Albeau, in March 2008.[5]
  • The previous two records were held by the Irish-born windsurfer Finian Maynard, who competes for the British Virgin Islands, also on The Canal:
    • A 48.70 knots record set on 10 April 2005,[6]
    • A 46.82 knots record (24.08 m/s or 53.88 mph) set on the 13 November 2004.

In October 2008, The Canal's leading position on the world sailing map was taken by the Lüderitz Speed Challenge in Namibia, when the "holy grail" 50-knot barrier of speed sailing was first broken by a kitesurfer.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Les Saintes Maries de la Mer". 
  2. ^ "Oups !". - Surfez sur l'Actualité Voile Sportive - Course au Large - America's Cup - Voile Légère. 
  3. ^ "Redefining What A Media Company Can Be - Bonnier Corporation". Bonnier Corporation. 
  4. ^[dead link]
  5. ^ Administrator. "WSSR Newsletter No 101". 
  6. ^ Archived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Luderitz Speed Challenge 2008". Retrieved 2008-10-06.