One of the oldest and longest-running speed sail events, Weymouth Speed Week, will start this weekend. Find out how to watch all of the action


Competitors will once again be trying to break the record of 38.48 knots during Weymouth Speed Week, which starts tomorrow (14 October).

According to organisers, the event is the oldest and longest-running speed sailing event in the world.

Held every year since 1972, sailors, kite boarders and sail boarders have to sail as fast as they can over 500 metres, with their speed being recorded as the average speed over that distance.

The current record of 38.48 knots was set in 2008 by Anders Bringdal on a sailboard.

A man in a boat taking part in Weymouth Speed Week

Sailors have to compete around a 500m course. Credit: Weymouth Speed Week

The competition, which is held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, is open to any sailor with an interest in speed sailing.

There are no restrictions on craft – it just has to be powered by the wind.

According to the organisers: “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”.

Competitors at this year’s Weymouth Speed Week will compete over a 500 metre course laid out in Portland Harbour.

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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.

Pink and yellow sails of windsurfers at Portland

The event attracts international competitors. Credit: Tim Daish/Weymouth Speed Week

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.

Weymouth Speed Week runs until 20 October 2017.

The briefing for all competitors takes place at 9.30am each day, followed by the action on the water.

Spectators are invited to watch the event from the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.

Overnight campervanning spaces are available onsite at the academy during the event, at a cost of £18 per night.