Luderitz Speed Challenge reaches mid-point

Charlotte Consorti sets new French women's kitesurf record with 39.9 kts, Rolf van der Vlugt and Katja Roose set new men and women's Dutch kitesurf records with 41.31 and 34.61 respectively and Jernev Privsek ups Sovenian outright record to 40.36 knots.

The Luderitz Speed Challenge 2008.  Competitors returned to Lüderitz for the latest set of speed sailing record attempts this week, again filling this remote Namibian town with speed sailing champions. With Rob Douglas' unratified world record time of 49.84 knots to beat, and the tantalisingly close 50 knot barrier still to fall, competitors are setting in for a tough month of competition. Personal skill and commitment are stacked against patience and determination to wait for record-setting weather conditions – which must come before October 15th, when this year's Luderitz Speed Challenge ends.

Many of the top contenders returned to Cape Town during the past week's wind hiatus to have repairs done to their boards and other equipment, and to stock up on vital supplies. Rob Douglas (USA) and coach Mike Gebhard arrived back in time to get to the strip for yesterday's speed session, along with new arrival, Charlotte Consorti (FRA), F.One rider and Caizergues' team-mate.

The Luderitz Speed Challenge 2008.  She arrived just in time to got in some runs on the strip to get used to the conditions - and still managed a new French women's kitesurfing national record of 39.9 knots (unratified). They were joined on the water by the competitors that remained in town, including Many Taub (FRA), Christophe Prin Guenon (FRA), Joan Haneff (NCD) and Alex Caizergues (FRA).

Also fresh in the competition is Netherlands' Rolf van der Vlugt (who finished second in PKRA Speed World Cup event in Port Saint Louis), and Katje Roose (who finished third in the women's ranking), and Frenchman Sylvain Hoceini (Optimumkite.fr), who finished sixth in Port St Louis. In yesterday's runs the two managed to set new personal bests, and new Dutch kitesurf speed records (unratified).

Yesterday's best times in very rough conditions with very broad wind angle included 47.3 knots from Christophe Prin Guenon (F.One, Roots, Mystic, Cool) and 46.9 knots from Alex Caizergues (F.One, Ouest Provence, VW, ION, Placide). Prin Guenon again managed to handle the exceedingly choppy conditions today to get the best runs of over 45 knots, in relatively weak winds.

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