Oisin Van Gelderen, Sailor of the Year Nomination

Oisin Van Gelderen, Sailor of the Year Nomination

Setting records for speed with no sign of slowing down. 

Oisin has been nominated for his new speed record in windsurfing. At the Lüderitz Speed Challenge 2022 in Namibia, he reached speeds of 49.89knots over a 500m stretch, (a new Irish Record ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council) not just for windsurfing but the overall Irish Sailing Speed Record. But where did this all begin? We caught up with Oisin to find out more.  

Almost six years ago, after a lot of GPS speed-sailing in Ireland, Oisin dreamed of seeing if he could break the 50knot barrier (peak speed). In Ireland it is so difficult to get the ideal conditions - the tide is often wrong, the wind a few degrees off or not strong enough.  

The first opportunity was to go to the South of France for the ‘La Palme Speed Challenge’, and then have another crack at 50knots at ' the Prince of Speed' event.  

Oisin says that: 

“We never got the conditions at these events, and in the back of my mind the ultimate goal was always to get to Luderitz, where hopefully the ‘waiting for conditions’ part would never be in question.” 

“My motivation has always been: that I simply wanted to line up with the biggest fastest guys, at the best course in the world on a nuking wind day” 

And that’s just what he did. His first time at Luderitz allowed him to experience going faster than he had ever been before. He says that potentially the most interesting part about this challenging course is that before trying to reach top speeds you have to deal with the stones flying across the start box in 50-60 knots of wind! Not sand; stones! Place this on top of having to manage not hitting the sand bags or the far wall. And, if you make it to the end, figuring out how to stop. 

Luderitz is a WSSRC ratified event and to be in contention you have to complete the full video-timed 500m course.  

Oisin writes that his “immediate thoughts turned to whether it’s possible for an 81kg sailor to do 50knots on the 500m course? As soon as you achieve one goal, you start to dream of the next” 

And what an inspiration this is, always looking forward to the next goal on your sailing journey! 


Don’t forget to sign up for the Irish Sailing Awards taking place this Saturday, 25th March LINK HERE 

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