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Watch Windsurfer Oisín Van Gelderen Set Irish Speed Sailing Record

13th February 2018
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Oisín van Gelderen catches the wind at La Palme last spring on the way to setting the new Irish speed sailing record Oisín van Gelderen catches the wind at La Palme last spring on the way to setting the new Irish speed sailing record Photo: Vimeo/IR 777

#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.

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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