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SAILING: Speed kings in Weymouth bid
PORTLAND Harbour will be a mecca for world speed sailing during next week.
Tomorrow, marks the start of Weymouth Speed Week, the oldest and longest-running speed sailing event in the world.
The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) will host the adrenaline-fuelled competition from October 12 to 18.
Held annually since 1972, the event challenges sailors of any wind-powered craft to sail as fast as they can over a distance of 500m, with their speed recorded as the average speed over that distance.
It is hoped the sheltered, flat waters of Portland Harbour and the forecast of strong winds will enable sailors to beat the current Weymouth Speed Week record of 38.48 knots, set by windsurfer Anders Bringdal in 2008.
Big names competing this year include Zara Davis, the double women’s world speed record holder.
North Somerset-based osteo-path Davis has enjoyed speed windsurfing since she was 13 years old and is a three-time European champion and eight-time British champion.
Davis, who is currently in the running for the prestigious ISAF Sailor of the Year 2013 award, will be using her event at Port-land as a final tune up before her upcoming trip to Namibia, south west Africa, for the BSI Steel Luderitz Speed Challenge, which she flies out to on October 17.
Her husband, Speed Week organiser Pete Davis, said television cameras will be at the event on Tuesday, October 15 when BBC Breakfast sports presenter Mike Bushell joins Zara out on the water.
Pete said many of Weymouth Speed Week’s usual competitors could not attend this year because they were out training in Namibia for the Luderitz Speed Challenge, which was being held earlier than usual.
“Weymouth Speed Week has always been oversubscribed, it’s such a popular event. The top British guys will certainly be there in force.”
Other big names to watch this year include former Weymouth Speed Week winners Pete Young and Kev Greenslade, who are both local sailors.
Members of the public are invited to watch the action, there will be free entry and free car parking at the WPNSA.
Visit WeymouthSpeedWeek. com
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