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#SpeedRecord - Oisín van Gelderen has released an extended video of his Irish speed sailing record-setting run in the south of France last spring.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the windsurfer took to the lagoon at La Palme in the Occitanie region on 6 April 2017, after many days of waiting for the right conditions.

His new outright Irish speed sailing record of 42.16 knots over 500 metres was later ratified by the World Speed Sailing Record Council (WSSR), smashing the late John Kenny’s then longstanding record.

“All along it was my goal to try and break the 50 knot barrier (even as a VMax peak), and push my 500m speed (and the Irish record) up as close to 50 as I could,” he told Afloat.ie.

“Unfortunately the conditions didn't allow (wind not strong enough or at the wrong angle), and although the speed I set in La Palme broke my late friend John Kenny’s previous WSSRC 500m Irish Record by a couple of knots, ironically my own GPS Speeds are much faster.

Van Gelderen added: “I have national GPS Records too by GPS - which is much cheaper to do as I can concentrate on chasing the wind and finding the perfect location such as BunBeg in Donegal, or the Dungarvan Speed Strip at Abbeyside.

“But WSSRC 500m ratified speeds are still considered the ‘official’ national/world records.”

Afloat’s sailor of the month for September 2010 said that the current season has so far not been conducive to GPS speed sailing in Ireland.

“We have had plenty of wind, but never at the right angle - when the tide is also correct to give the right conditions.

“So for me the chase continues. and I will enter the two other WSSRC events this year – one again in the south of France at Le Rouet beach, and the second in Luderitz, Namibia."

Van Gelderen said he has tried to get to Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, where Paul Larsen set the outright record on Vestas Sailrocket 2 in 2012, for a number of years.

“It’s the ultimate course,” he says of the Luderitz Speed Challenge, “where all the world records and top 40 fastest speeds in the world come from.”

Afloat.ie wishes Oisín the best of luck in his efforts to make a mark for Ireland on the world speed sailing stage.

Published in Surfing

#Ophelia - Windsurfers on the Louth coast have been roundly criticised on social media as they prompted a major rescue operation before the arrival of Storm Ophelia, as TheJournal.ie reports.

The four windsurfers, originally thought to be kitesurfers, made their own way to shore after getting 'into difficulty' this morning — but not before Clogherhead RNLI, Greenore Coast Guard and the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter had launched to their location, off Blackrock in Dundalk Bay.

The Irish Coast Guard has repeated widespread calls to stay away from the coast during the current storm conditions throughout Ireland.

This article was changed to correct an error in the number of windsurfers involved in this morning's incident.

Published in Rescue

#Windsurfing - Ireland’s windsurfing community will take over Downings in Co Donegal this coming weekend (22-23 July) for the 2017 Irish National Youth Championships.

The Blue Flag beach in the Donegal Gaeltacht has hosted a windsurfing competition each July since 1982, but this year is going national with its inaugural titles for girls and boys from under-sixes to under-18s.

Six main fleets – novice, gold, silver, longboards, konas and kiddies — will be hitting the surf after registration starts on the beach at 9am this Saturday 22 July.

The prizegiving ceremony will also take place on Downings beach from 4.30pm on Sunday 23 July.

For more see the event’s Facebook page HERE.

Published in Surfing

#RNLI - Wicklow RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched at 1.48pm on Saturday afternoon (24 June) after a member of the public reported a windsurfer in difficulty off Silver Strand, three miles south of Wicklow Harbour.

The lifeboat with three crew — helm Graham Fitzgerald, Vinne Mulvilhill and Connie O’Gara — was alongside the casualty seven minutes after launching. A local angling boat had also stood by the windsurfer until the lifeboat arrived.

The casualty was taken onto the lifeboat and assessed. He did not require any medical assistance and was landed safely back on Silver Strand a short time later.

Speaking after the callout, Wicklow RNLI lifeboat helm Graham Fitzgerald said: “We located the windsurfer about half a mile offshore. He had left the beach earlier but the wind dropped and he was unable to get back ashore.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Oisin van Gelderen regained the Irish Speed Sailing title for windsurfing. The Dubliner achieved 44.16 knots in 77kph–winds yesterday following days of waiting for the correct conditions at the at the World Record Speed Challenge at Salin De Lapalme in Languedoc-Roussillon, France.

Van Gelderen's time has yet to be ratified by the World Speed Sailinng Record Council (WSSR) but he broke the late John Kenny's long standing record of 40.44 three times in the ideal conditions yesterday afternoon.

Published in Kitesurfing

Multiple Irish Windsurfing Champion Oisín van Gelderen from Dublin joins the fastest windsurfers in the world, in a bid to break the Windsurfing Speed World Record, at a newly designed speed course at Salins De La Palme, in the south of France. The Irish GPS Speed Record Holder qualified for a wildcard invitation to the event, based on his previous speeds and potential to perform. Being invited to join the fastest windsurfers in the world at a specialised location, is the equivalent of being invited to play in the Croke Park Final, or the Golf Masters. He aims to use the opportunity to break his own personal best speeds and smash the 50knot barrier (92.6kph), and set a new official Irish Speed Record over 500merres - ratified by the WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Records Council).

The current windsurfing Speed World Record, held by Frenchman Antoine Albeau (France), stands at 53.27 knots (98.65kph) over 500 metres, which was set at purpose built speed canal in Luderitz, Namibia. This country is currently home to all the fastest speeds in the World - in both Windsurfing and Kitesurfing - and the Outright Sailing Speed World Record by Australian Sailor Paul Larsen (Aus), who in a custom build carbon fibre boat, blew everyone else away with a speed of 65.45 knots (121.21kph).

The La Palme course in France, is the brainchild of UK windsurfer Erik Beale, who in 1988 became the first sailor (of any kind) in history to break 40–knot barrier. With his vast experience, he sourced out potential locations that could provide world record breaking conditions, and found a location in France that could provide the essential combination of gale force wind and very flat water. The Tramontana wind howls offshore throughout this part of France, and the course itself is set in a salt marsh just inland of the Mediterranean, close to Leucate.

The world record challenge runs for seven weeks until the end of April, and Oisín's bid lasts for the first three weeks. To date, he has experienced moderate wind conditions for the start of the challenge, which has given good training runs but nothing near a record. For now, all the windsurfers wait for the Tramontana to properly show it's full force, and then the hope is that records will fall

Published in News Update

Jason Polakow is well known for his big wave exploits - often travelling the globe to search out the biggest and best waves on the planet and he's just completed his latest mission.

With El Niño producing a colossal winter of pumping swells the Australian couldn't resist the opportunity to become the first windsurfer to sail Nazaré, Portugal, and the first footage of him doing just that is starting to emerge.

Published in Surfing

#SpeedSailing - Ireland may have a new speed sailing record after Oisin van Gelderen laid claim to a 46.67-knot run at West Kirby Marine Lake in northwest England yesterday (Wednesday 28 January).

The multiple-time national champion says the WGPSSRC, the governing body for GPS speed sailing records, is currently analysing the files from his two GPS units before ratifying the new record, which he set on the man-made lake in the Wirral in winds of up to 45 knots and amid "huge squalls in hail showers".

He explained of his chosen location: "When wind direction is correct (120-135 degrees off wind) we can sail extremely close to the wall of the lake to get flattest water, uninterrupted by the strength of the wind.

"Yesterday was one of those days, though the wind turned out a little too broad, making the water too choppy and ultimately slowing us down as there was not enough space to do longer runs, meaning crashing was a huge possibility."

Van Gelderen says one fellow speedster was hospitalised with suspected concussion and whiplash from crashing "into the water - not the wall".

The potential new record, representing van Gelderen's average speed over 10 seconds, beats his previous record of 45.02. He also says he upped his average of five fastest 10-second runs to 44.97 knots, and peaked at 47.3 knots. Details of his session are available HERE.

At time of writing, the record would put him fourth in the world for GPS speed sessions in 2015 - though the table is subject to change at any time as windsurfers from around the world contribute their data.

Van Gelderen also points out that the Irish record set by his late friend John Kenny and sanctioned by the WSSRC still stands.

But the Skerries windsurfer isn't resting on his laurels, aiming for an even stronger run at Bunbeg in Donegal, where he sailed last week.

"It has huge potential [for me] to go much faster," he says. "Fifty knots is in my sights."

Bunbeg GPS Speedsailing 11-1-15. Fast Course from IR 777 on Vimeo.

Published in Surfing

#Windsurfing - The Round Cobh Windsurf Race will make its return this summer as part of SailCork's 40th anniversary festivities.

The revival of the famous Cork Harbour windsurfing race is listed in the provisional birthday programme for the sail training business, a winner in our recent Maritime Web Awards.

Events lined up so far run from the Royal Cork Yacht Club Dinner on Saturday 8 March to the cruise to Cork City on 8 October.

For more on SailCork's summer plans visit their website HERE.

Published in Surfing

#Surfing - A trio of Galway windsurfers completed the 95km round trip to and from the Aran Islands last weekend - setting a new Irish record for stand-up paddle boarding in the process.

The Irish Times reports on the successful adventure by Dan Gardner, Daniel King and Joe Gallagher, who embarked on the challenge to raise funds for the Galway RNLI lifeboat service.

Setting out before 5.30am on the morning of Saturday 8 June, they returned to the Galway Docks before 11pm that night - stopping at the halfway mark for lunch on Inis Mór.

The trio are each believed to have covered some 4,000 strokes an hour to make their record time of 17 hours 33 minutes. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

In other surfing news, the Sunday Independent reports on a website that's seeking to connect surfers of all levels with the right waves for them.

Waterford-based Liam Sinnott set up Swellseekers.ie with business partner James Hassey two years ago, filling a gap in the market for booking surfing trips online at a time when Ireland was only just emerging as a world-class surfing destination.

Though the site currently only takes bookings for surfing and other watersports in the Waterford area, Sinnott says he hopes to expand his site's scope nationwide by next year to serve a growing wave-riding community of "50,000 surfing all year round".

Published in Surfing
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