On Sunday, November 1, French windsurf legend Antoine Albeau bettered his own world record, achieving 53.27 knots while speed sailing in Luderitz, Namibia, in a custom-built ‘ditch’ designed to offer the perfect water conditions.
It’s the fastest anyone has gone on a windsurfing board, ever – and it wasn’t easy to do.
The French sailor hit 53.27 knots (98.65 km/h) and smashed the previous record set at 52.05 knots.
Wind conditions improved dramatically in the last days of October, and windsurfers kept raising the bar in the iconic speed channel.
Albeau has never stopped trying to improve his own world record. In two days of speed attempts, he made 54 runs.
Ten of them were over 50 knots, and six were over 51 knots. Breaking a new record was only a matter of time.
“The day didn’t look super promising. The weather forecast was not for 40 knots; it was a little bit less, and then, in the end, it became amazing. Suddenly, sand was flying everywhere, and it was up to 50 knots of wind,” explains Antoine Albeau.
“This is amazing because yesterday I did 28 runs, and I couldn’t do 52 knots. It was apocalyptic because I was really inside. I didn’t see outside.“
“In two or three runs, I couldn’t see where I was going. Sometimes I could see the upwind side of the canal, but it was difficult and dangerous sometimes.“
Antoine Albeau sailed at 52.39 knots over 500 meters, with winds blowing at more than 40 knots and at a perfect angle.
At the end of the day, the French had broken his previous record five times. But he was not alone breaking world speed sailing records.
Karin Jaggi is now the fastest female windsurfer on the planet. She sailed at 46.31 knots and broke the record set by Zara Davis (45.83 knots) in 2012.
“For me, it’s the first time here in Luderitz. I didn’t really know what to expect. Patrik said it is really fast. I wasn’t fit, but today the wind picked up, and I felt I was improving in every run a little bit. It didn’t feel like the perfect run, though,” added Jaggi.