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Oisín van Gelderen is First Irish Sailor to Break 50-knot Speed Barrier

23rd November 2018
Oisín van Gelderen of Dublin has become the first ever Irish sailor to break the 50-knot speed barrier Oisín van Gelderen of Dublin has become the first ever Irish sailor to break the 50-knot speed barrier Photo: STEFAN CSÁKY

National Windsurfing Champion Oisín van Gelderen of Dublin has become the first ever Irish sailor to break the 50-knot speed barrier, during his final week competing at the Luderitz World Speed Sailing Challenge in Namibia, Africa.

As previously reported, Van Gelderen joined the fastest sailors in the world for the last three weeks in Luderitz, with the aim of increasing his Irish Sailing Speed record (measured over 500m), and trying to break the elusive 50-knot barrier. The Luderitz course (a canal dug in a lagoon at the edge of the desert) has been specially designed to take advantage of the gale to storm force winds common in this part of Africa.

Van Gelderen significantly improved his record, on his second day at the event, in winds gusting 90 kph (Beaufort Force 9 - Strong to Severe Gale). But it wasn’t until this week that he reached his aim: he exceeded 50 knots, hit a high of 50.8knots (94kph), and set an official WSSRC ratified National record of 47.97 knots (88.85kph) over 500m.

Commenting on his achievements, Van Gelderen noted: "With the experience I have now gained, and the changes I made to technique and tuning, I know I could possibly do a 50knot 500m run, but for now I'm very happy. It's only with the experience of doing it, that I can work out what is possible. I have peaked seven times over 50 knots (50.8), achieved my goal of setting a respectable record, and I can leave Luderitz very proud, knowing I put everything into it."

National and World Sailing Speed Records are to be ratified by the WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Records Council), and are measured as an average speed over a 500m distance.

Published in Surfing Team

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