Speed Week 2017 - Weymouth Academy

Sat 14th - Fri 20th October

For all the latest information go to http://www.weymouthspeedweek.com/

From Weymouthspeedweek.com

Weymouth Speed Week is the oldest and longest-running speed sailing event in the world. Held annually since 1972, it has challenged sailors of a wide variety of wind-powered craft to sail as fast as they can over a distance of 500m with their speed being recorded as the average speed over that distance.

Weymouth Speed Week 2017 starts on Saturday 14th October at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.  Event registration will open no earlier than Sunday 13th August 2017. Get your name on the Newsletter list to be notified.

Today's competitors comprise kite boarders, sail boarders and boaters. They compete over a 500m course laid out in Portland Harbour. The number of courses and their positions can vary each day according to the prevailing and anticipated wind conditions. Each course has a start line and each competitor is free to choose their best angle to maximise their speed. Each competitor's run is now accurately measured by GPS with the recorded GPS data processed each day to generate the results for each of the competition classes. Competitors are also free to put in as many runs as they can; on a windy day, the course can be a constant buzz as the competitors relentlessly charge up and down to find the best wind.

Sailing fast is not simply about sailing in strong winds; whilst strong winds provide the basis for a fast run, a sailor's ability to sail efficiently and consistently is highly important. Sailing fast in less-than-perfect winds presents an opportunity to demonstrate a sailor's skill and judgement.

Weymouth Speed Week is a unique event. All sailors with an interest in speed sailing are invited to compete and there are no restrictions upon the craft you may sail - experimental craft are particularly welcome. There are, in fact, few rules to who can compete; so long as your craft is wind-powered, it is eligible. The event has attracted some of the world's top professional and record-holding sailors over the years. The event allows first-time competitors to compete with professionals on the same course - not something normally offered by other events.

If you're considering entering Weymouth Speed Week please sign up for the newsletter and watch out for the lastest news on our Facebook site. 

The harbour record

The current Weymouth Speed Week 500m record of 38.48 knots was set by Anders Bringdal in 2008 on a sailboard.

In 2011, four competitors exceeded 35 knots and one, a kite boarder, exceeded 36 knots. With the right wind conditions this year, the harbour record could fall. There's a prize for the competitor who breaks the record and sets the week's top speed. Many kite and sail boarders have achieved speeds of over 30 knots in the last few events; 49 of the 100 competitors exceeded 30 knots in 2011.

High speeds are, of course, dependent upon having the right wind conditions at the right time; with the event set for a single week to coincide with the best tidal conditions, the wind conditions can make or break a speed challenge. 

The world record

Competitors are challenged to beat not only the harbour record but also that of the outright World Speed Record; that currently stands at 65.45 knots and was set by Paul Larsen (AUS) sailing Vesta SpeedRocket 2 at Walvis Bay in Namibia in November 2012. Good luck!

The French trimaran, l'Hydroptère, had previously set a record of 51.36 knots over 500 meters in September 2009 and Rob Douglas, a Kite boarder, had set and held the record for more than 2 years with a speed of 56.65 knots.

The World Record for 500m was previously set by Antoine Albeau (FRA) in 2008 on a windsurfer. Antoine has subsequently achieved 52.05 knots on a windsurfer at Luderitz in 2012 but not regained the outright record..

Please refer to the World Sailing Speed Record Council for more information about the past and current world speed records over the distance of 500m.

Portland Harbour has been the location for many of the early speed sailing world records for boats and windsurfers, with Tim Colman setting several notable records with his Crossbow proa and Crossbow II catamaran in the 70's and early 80's.

Recent years

Kite boards have recently presented serious challenges to the dominance of the sail boarders at Weymouth Speed Week and have taken the week's honours in three of the last five years:

  • in 2010 James Longmuir achieved 33.419 knots on a kite board with sailboarder Kevin Greenslade marginally behind on 32.753 knots;
  • in 2011 kite boarder David Williams achieved 36.250 knots and just pipped David Garrel at 35.742 knots on a sailboard to take the week's fastest speed.
  • in 2012 Swedish sailboarder Daniel Borgelind recaptured the week's fastest speed at 33.174 knots over Martin Carter on a kite board with 29.123 knots.
  • in 2013 Kevin Greenslade reached 33.242 knots on his sailboard. The fastest kiter was James Longmuir with 32.169 knots.
  • in 2014 French kite boarder Benotit Gaudiot achieved 36.441 knots.Patrick Van Hoof (Belgium) headed the sailboard pack with 34.567 knots.

Event location

Portland Harbour, Dorset.

Hosted by the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.


Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy.

WPNSA, Osprey Quay, Portland, Dorset, DT5 1SA Tel 01305 866000

About The Academy

WPNSA officially opened on 1st April 2000, with residence taken up in the converted ex-naval offices, whilst the plans for the new Academy were taking shape.

The clubhouse was opened officially in June 2005 and includes 30 pontoons, new slipways and much expanded room for boat storage and car parking.

The academy has excellent shower, toilet and changing facilities. In addition there is a cafe style restaurant with free wi-fi including use of two computers. A viewing deck overlooks the harbour.

There is no grass for rigging and although large carpet mats have been installed these soon get full so a rigging mat is always a good idea.

The slipways at Weymouth are generally extreamly slippy, so extra care should always be taken especially at low water.

Academy Website: www.wpnsa.org.uk


By Car From DorchesterTake A354 to WeymouthFrom Poole and BournemouthTake A352, which then becomes A353 to Weymouth From BridportTake B3157 to Weymouth

When you arrive at WeymouthTake the A354 to Portland. This will bring you to the causeway linking Weymouth and Portland. Halfway along the causeway you will reach a mini-roundabout. Turn left, we are signposted 'Sailing Academy'.

By BusWeymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy has it's own bus stop.


Turnstones B&B is walking distance away, other accommodation can be found at Visit Weymouth. Other options are Sky View apartments, Contemporary Cottages, Spinnaker House, Portland Roads, The Venue and Dream Cottages. Portlandholidaylet.co.uk has a listing of B&Bs and other accomodation.

Terms of attendance

The UKWA reserves the right to exclude or expel any member / non member / family / group or individual from its event site should it be considered that they may by their actions or the perception of such bring the UKWA, its hosts other parties or individuals into disrepute. The UKWA Committee, in part or in it’s entirety, shall be the sole judge of such action, and their decision is deemed final.

Persons expelled shall leave the event site within 30 minutes of any verbal notice and shall not return. Exclusion may be deemed temporary (this event) or permanent (all events). Permanent expulsion shall be the decision of the elected committee and shall be confirmed in writing within 21 days of any temporary expulsion, however any excluded individual may not attend any UKWA events during this period of consideration.