Kitesurfer almost breaks the 50 knot barrier

With a run of 49.84 knots, American kitesurfer Rob Douglas beat the outright World Speed Sailing Record over 500 metres today at the speed strip at Luderitz in Namibia. The “Luderitz Speed Challenge” has kicked off with a set of impressive performances, with the riders still having 25 days left to better the mythical 50 knots barrier. The previous record of 49.09 knots was held by French windsurfer Antoine Albeau.

Sebastian Cattelan, alias “Catman”, was not far off the pace. The Toulouse-born Frenchman, living in South Africa and an organiser of the event with Fred Dasse, clocked a run at 49.59 knots. He was initially credited with an unratified speed of 50.10 knots, but this speed was revised down by the WSSRC Commissioner after careful examination of timing data.

It can’t be long now before someone manages that tiny 0.16 knots extra.