French kitesurfer Alex Caizergues has become the first person to break the 100 kmh speed sailing mark, setting a new world record at an event in Namibia, organisers said on Wednesday.
Caizergues clocked an average speed of 54.1 knots (100.2 kmh) during his first run Tuesday at the 500m Luderitz Speed Challenge, an annual speed sailing event held on a windy lagoon off Namibia's Atlantic coast, organisers said on the event's web site.
'I am extremely happy about this world record,' Caizergues told AFP.
'It is my second record for speed sailing. I have two other records in kiteboarding and all four of them I broke in Namibia,' he said from Luderitz, a small harbour town some 750km south-west of the capital Windhoek. (Location in the Marine GeoGarage)
Organisers said the record has been officially recognised by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC). The WSSRC awards records based on average speeds clocked over a 500m course.
Caizergues, 31, broke the previous record of 51.36 knots (95.1 kmh) held by fellow Frenchman Alain Thebault, who set the record last year using a hydroptere, an experimental multi-hull sailing craft that Thebault designed especially for speed (see GeoGarage blog).
This record also checks off the 60-mile and 100-kph mark, which have been coveted, and it raises the bar considerably for speed sailing programs that develop "real boats" like l'Hydroptere, Sail Rocket, SpeedDream etc.
Second-fastest was Sebastien Cattelan at 52.33 knots, who was the first person breaking the elusive 50 knots mark - the holy gral of speedsailing in 2008.
Five other national records were broken, including the US record by Rob Douglas, who pushed his own personal best to an average speed of 51.88 kts. measured over the 500-meter distance.
More records are expected as more big breeze is forecast for Luderitz on Friday and all through October.