One week tomorrow till I leave for Luderitz and with all the times posted I can't wait.
Lots of questions being bantered around, is the canal as fast, what equipment choice etc etc.
My thoughts so far from what I have seen (my thoughts / may be wrong in some peoples eyes / not meant to offend)
The canal looks better than last year, straighter and with a better cleaner windward edge. Speeds haven't been as fast yet but the big boys are still on their big toys. Antoine hit 50 knots with a 5.8, Patrik (mid 49's) is right up there on a 5.6 and Anders and Hans hit 49.
The windier it gets more often than not the wind swings broader and the rolling chop gets worse. If the chop gets up than you have to increase the size of your fin which slows you down, also the fact you are bouncing over chop will slow you down as well. So with Luderitz there is a compromise between wind speed, angle and your fastest run. If you can catch the right time between the wind increasing and getting broader before the chop get up your styling.
Is it easy to get top speeds in Luderitz? NO
I have heard a comment from one rider that it is easy to achieve fast speeds in Luderitz, we have to define a fast speed.
Everyone who hasn't sailed Luderitz before would get a faster time if they went, I'm pretty sure of that. Is it easy, you certainly don't just turn up and go. 50 knots is I believe what most people in the windsurf world are thinking of as a really top speed. I believe there are no more than 10 people in the world who can achieve that.
The first obstacle is that you have to have your gear spot on before you go. That's very difficult because you only get Luderitz conditions in Luderitz. You have to have some collaboration with others to get it right, that's easier this year as everyone knows what was used last year.
Luderitz canal is the fastest stretch of water we have but I have sailed on flatter water at West Kirby, Southend and even Fuerteventura and they are certainly not as daunting. It's not flat flat like a sheet of corrugated iron and I would say it's not easy.
Last year I travelled with 49 and 44cm boards and sails from 5.2 - 6.6, I never used the 5.2 or 6.6. My new fins got lost in the post so I only had a Black Project X45, 21.9cm long.
Sails: We know the Prydes and Loft sails are working well this year, we've also got to presume that Severne will be up there as per last year. I'll have the Evo 5.4, 5.8 & 6.4m2 sails.
Boards: Max size needed for me, 43cm, I'll also have a 41 and 39. (the 39 if it blows 55 knots) Antoine has a new 40 and 42 and I think from the pics something smaller, Anders and Jurgen a 39 and 41 (also something smaller), Patrik 37 and 39, Bjorn and Hans like to keep it all top secret (heads up, it's too late to give anyone an advantage, now share a little!)
Fins: There are two camps here, narrow swept or small triangle. Last year Antoine, Anders, Patrik were narrow swept, Bjorn and Jurgen small triangle. Antoine has stated that his 18cm from last year is the fastest so far this year. My starting choice will be the Black Project X55 (19.3cm) in the 41cm board and X50 (20.4cm) in the 43. I'll change to test the XLS 17.3cm and 16.5.
Every part of your setup can make a huge difference that is why I have tried to take some of the need to test out of my setup equation. My Neil Pryde Evo 5's are tested and we know they are fast, my PATRIK DIETHELM boards are shaped by not only one of the fastest men in the world but also the only shaper to sail the Luderitz canal and a history of shaping world record boards stretching back years. I have a fin quiver of 8 ranging from 16cm to 20cm in 3 different styles which is the only thing I'll have to experiment with.
Can I be one of those to record over 50 knots - I hope so. I think I can but only time will tell.
Have I the best equipment there is - YES
Am I in shape - Yes (I didn't say what shape) I'm 5kg lighter than last year which I hope will get me into the run quicker.