There has been no wind in Salin-de-Giraud, France, since the start of Salt and Speed ( a new outright World Speed Sailing record attempt in Salin-de-Giraud) on November 17.

Kitesurfer Rob Douglas has been training in light airs, actively preparing for his first session. He has been  keeping a close eye on the performances by Sailrocket 2; the new holder of the outright World Speed Sailing record, with an average speed achieved in Namibia of 59.23 knots over 500 metres (see Sailrocket Smashes Outright World Sailing Speed Record and Sailrocket Hits 61.92 Knots!).

Rob Douglas

Former outright world speed sailing record holder Rob Douglas

The former record holder
Rob Douglas was recently stripped of his title of fastest man of the ‘sailing’ world:

What does he think about the Volkswagen Transporter Arena, France’s new speed sailing arena? "The new Volkswagen Transporter Arena is amazing. It’s the first of its kind. This new trench is a prototype in speed sailing and is going to allow kiteboarders the possibility of setting another new kitesurfing world speed record and chasing down the new outright record of Sailrocket. This new speed course in Salin Du Giraud is fast, dynamic and beautiful to look at!  It is a revolution and I am honoured to be able to participate in this exciting world record attempt with Alex. It is a big step in the world of speed kiting and one that could have global and historical impact in sailing.  It's a place to think, dream and test our ideas as we push on to 60 knots... and that is why I'm here! This Arena will allow us to develop and sharpen our tools for the coming attack on Sailrocket. We are the hunters again and this arena could be our ultimate weapon."

What’s his view the new outright Speed Sailing record set by Sailrocket 2 last week?
"I knew the news of Sailrocket was coming... I could feel it. My record was too old and most old things do not last long. I am glad that Alex was the one who told me the news. The news came at a good time as we are here together planning and developing the kitesurfing comeback. Sailrocket’s performance was amazing and they earned it through their massive amounts of energy, time and money spent. Congratulations to them and their sponsors. World records come and go and this evolution is a good thing… It’s the survival of the fittest. This new record of Sailrocket has pushed kiteboarders faster already... New gear and speed courses are in development that will give us more knots. We will adapt and become faster! I look forward to this opportunity. Today is day three of the quest to return the crown of speed to kitesurfing."

Salt and Speed runs until December 12, 2012  Kitesurfers Rob Douglas and Alex Caizergues are the two participants in this unique France-based event.

High speed sailing in numbers
59.23 knots: Vestas Sailrocket 2 November 2012 (awaiting WSSRC approval), Namibia
55.65 knots: Rob Douglas 28 October 2010, Namibia
54.10 knots: Alexandre Caizergues 12 October 2010 Luderitz, Namibia
51.36 knots: Hydroptère on 6 September 2009 (see 10 Fantastic Foiling Boats)
50.57 knots: Alexandre Caizergues 4 October 2008 Luderitz, Namibia
50.26 knots: Seb Cattelan 3 October 2008 Luderitz, Namibia
49.84 knots: Rob Douglas 19 September 2008 Luderitz, Namibia
49.09 knots: Antoine Albeau 5 March 2008 Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France
46.82 knots: Windsurfer Finian Maynard, autumn 2004, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France
46.52 knots: Yellow Pages Endeavour in 1993 at the Sandy Point spot, Australia
38.86 knots: Pascal MAKA the first windsurfer to rack up a new official record in Sotavento
26.30 knots: Crossbow Catamaran in Portland, UK in 1972

Note: the outright World Sailing Speed Record is the best average speed over 500m by a sail-powered contraption, so it is different to a peak speed.