The 2009 SEIKO 49er Speed Challenge is won by Australians
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jenson
Throughout the recent “Sail for Gold” regatta in Weymouth, England, the competition was disrupted by high winds. While this may have frustrated the organisers, it delighted the many 49er sailors who were keen to win the US$5,000 prize in the SEIKO Speed Challenge.
Nathan Outteridge (left) and Iain Jenson with their SEIKO Velatura watches
broke the 49er speed record with a top speed of 21.6 knots.
Several teams took to the water during the week in attempts to set a new top speed for the 49ers with the newly designed sails. Going into this last event of the challenge, the 49er Class Association President, Marcus Spillane, had achieved the fastest speed of 16.1 knots, but conditions in Weymouth were so favourable that new marks were set nearly every day. First on September 15, the French team of Manu Dyer and Stephane Crisidis set a new mark of 20.4 knots. Next the Portuguese pairing of Pedro de Andrade and David Aleixo reached 20.8 but even this was eclipsed on September 16 by Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jenson’s remarkable top speed of 21.6 knots. In addition to the US$5,000 prize, the winners each received a Velatura watch, the flagship model of SEIKO’s marine collection.
For full details of the SEIKO Speed Challenge, see http://www.49er.org/.
The new 49er. Equipped with a new mast and main sail, the 49er is faster than ever.
Can a 49er go faster still? The 2010 edition of the SEIKO 49er Speed Challenge kicks off at the World Championships in the Bahamas on January 2. Time will tell!