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Royal Navy Windsurfer breaks 40 Knot Barrier

RC (Windsurfing) - 23 Sep 16 Windsurfing

RNSA windsurfer Paul Morris headed to Le Franqui in the South of France in search of speed in an attempt to break the elusive 40kt barrier

Le Franqui is about 10km further West than Gruissan, the venue for the annual Defi WInd endurance race frequented by the RNSA Windusrfers, and it benefits from the same epic conditions. The beaches are sandy, long, wide, flat and low and are whipped by the Tremontana wind blowing offshore at 25kts on a calm day and it is very happy to blow a leisurely 45kts plus for days at a time. Offshore winds are discouraged for less experienced windsurfers for obvious reasons, but for speed and race sailors they offer that rare nirvana; flat water and howling winds, oh and it is warm and sunny. Le Franqui attracts professional speed sailors and is still capable of producing world record speeds.

Paul advertised for fellow RN sailors to join him: 'Anyone fancy La Franqui this weekend? Cracking forecast!! I'm going to make the most of my retirement and pop down for a couple of days!' But alas no-one could make it so Paul travelled alone:

"Well, the trip turned out to be worth it eventually. Bad day yesterday with not much speed to talk of and a snapped mast (yes another one, Its ok though as I was at the end of the course so had a good walk back carrying my kit!) Much better day today and I've finally broken through the 40 knot barrier, boy was it good!! 4 times to be precise with a max of 41.85 kts. That's another lifetime achievement ticked off at long last. Hans Kreisel managed 51kts - it's crazy and I have no idea how they do it???"

And then, in a typical Paul understatement: "I should mention that most people were on 5m to 5.6m sails. I only had my beat up old 6m Vapor but it did the job and it was only 45 knot gusts!"

The idea of holding on to a 6m sail standing on the beach in 45kts is frightening enough!

Congratulations Paul, wonderful achievement!

The world record stands at 53.27 Knots, a record held by the Frenchman Antoine Albeau who trains at Gruissan and Le Franqui, you can get an idea of the speed involved (and what it is like to crash at 50 kts) and see his record run at the link below

If you are interested in what the Defi and conditions at Franqui are like, the Defi 2015 video at the link is a good representation

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