Trench Warp Air
The Saintes Maries speed canal challenge sprung into life early within the 5-month waiting period.
An excellent start to the campaign to break 50-knots saw PWA racers Patrik Diethelm (F2 / North) and Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde) break the windsurfing production board, and French windsurfing records respectively.
A rare Southeasterly storm battered the ‘French Trench’ for two days to give early hope for a new outright record.
The breeze was strongest during the early afternoon of Tuesday the 20th with 35-40 knots and occasionally higher gusts.
Diethelm set a new production board world record with an excellent time of 44.71-knots on his F2 XS Missile, and Antoine Albeau set a new French record with a run of 46.55-knots.
Unfortunately the direction was too ‘square’ for a shot at the record with a constant orientation of 105-110 degrees making the apparent wind effect too strong.
Current world record holder Finian Maynard (F2 / NeilPryde) and Albeau’s times were remarkable considering the exceptionally gusty set-up which is abnormal for this direction.
Some competitors such as Maynard had flown-in especially from Maui for just two-days and even driven 12 hours down to the Mediterranean coast from his base in Bavaria.
The PWA ladies were also in action with strong performances from Slalom world champ Karin Jaggi (F2 / North), French speed merchant Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou) and Marion Raisi (Exocet / Naish).
Top Clocked Runs over 500m
Antoine Albeau 46.55
Finian Maynard 46.31
Patrik Diethelm 44.71
Cedric Bordes 43.96
Karin Jaggi 37.24
Valerie Ghibaudo 37.49
Marion Raisi 33.51
The Canal survived the onslaught of the ocean during the night and the course was re-opened at first light on Wednesday 21st.
However the access road was blocked by bulldozers clearing the sand so many competitors were forced to wait for the road to open during the best period of the day.
But, the angle was too ‘square’ once again and there were small windows of opportunity during the day before the wind died off in the afternoon.
All eyes are now glued to the long-term forecast, which predicts strong Mistral wind for next week.
Masters of Speed and windsurfjournal.com will bring coverage via their live tickers if the green flag goes up.
You can stay up-to-date at www.mastersofspeed.com
©PWA / Brian McDowell