When is a sail not a sail? When is a boat not a boat? When some guy on a kiteboard sets a new world sailing speed record.
In recent times, kitesurfers like Sebastien Cattelan and Alexandre Caizergues have been smashing through the 50 knot barrier. Cattelan, sailing a Xcelerator board powered with a Genetrix kite, travelled 500 metres at an average speed of 50.26 knots in Namibia in October, breaking the earlier speed record by Robert Douglas at 49.84 knots.
Members of the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) have now come into line with the International Sailing Federation(ISAF), and have now said that kite-powered craft do not qualify as a sailing boats for the purposes of being the ‘fastest performance under sail.’
The International Kiteboarding Association says…
‘The International Speed Windsurfing Class (ISWC) and the International Kiteboarding Class Associstion (IKA) both officially acknowledge kiteboarders as rightful speed sailing outright world record holders. Kiteboards fully qualify under the ISAF Equipment Rules of Sailing and the WSSRC rulebook for the outright record. ‘
Perhaps a new category is needed – fastest thing on water, powered by the wind with no engine, but not a sailing craft. You gotta love the politics sometimes.