A 60ft yacht, a hydrofoil dinghy, a kitesurfer and a windsurfer - which is fastest?

Three sailing celebrities and a world-record-breaking kitesurfer will be going head to head in a charity showdown on the

Solent at 5pm today.

The ‘Volvo Sailing

Speed Challenge’ is taking place during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

The four challengers are 2008 Olympic Laser gold medallist,

Paul Goodison – testing his speed onboard a foiling Moth, double Olympic

windsurfing medallist, Nick Dempsey, round-the-world yachtsman Alex Thomson and extreme kitesurfer,

Sam Lutman-Pauc.

They will each be vying to cross the Royal

Yacht Squadron finishing line first, to claim the £1,000 prize money for a

charity of their choice. 

The worthy causes

Paul and Nick will be racing for the ‘Andrew Simpson Memorial Fund’, set up in memory of

fellow Team GB sailor, Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.

Paul said: ‘It will be

great to race against the three guys as nobody really knows who will


‘I have only sailed my Moth in Portland Harbour so I’m a little

apprehensive about the waves off the Green, but it will be great fun and

all for a good cause.’

Alex is racing for ‘Sported’,

the leading London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games legacy charity set

up by Sir Keith Mills, while kitesurfer Sam is competing for ‘Toe in the

Water’ – the official Cowes Week charity that uses competitive sailing

to re-inspire injured servicemen and women.

Alex said: ‘I think

it is going to be about 10 minutes of a lot of fun. I have no idea who

will win between us and even though I have a strong competitive streak, I

am actually just looking forward to seeing what happens.

‘At the end of

the day it is all for charity so no matter what the outcome, it will be a

good result.’

The challenge will see the Team Volvo sailors in hot pursuit of each other around a reaching’



Statistically, the two boards are expected to be the quickest;

windsurfing held the world record for fastest sailing speed for years,

with the top speed recorded at 49.05 (knots) over 500 meters, but was

recently passed by kiting with 55.65 (knots).

The Moth, a fast hydrofoil

dinghy, can reach up to 31.1 (knots) and the IMOCA 60 record currently

sits at 32.8 (knots).


the showdown the competitors will join double Olympic gold medallist,

Shirley Robertson, on stage on Cowes Parade for pre-race banter.


contest then kicks off from the Green at 17.00 with live footage

streamed on all three event screens located on Cowes Parade, Cowes Yacht

Haven and Shepards Wharf Marina, there will also be live commentary

from Steve Ancsell and Shirley on Cowes Radio.

Place your bets here before the race starts!

Pictures: The Volvo Sailing Speed Challenge contenders:

Sam Lutman-Pauc, Nick Dempsey, Alex Thomson, Paul Goodison. Credit: Volvo Cars Sailing

Paul Goodison training off the Royal Yacht Squadron. Credit: Mark Lloyd photography.

File pics of Nick Dempsey and Alex Thomson