[SailingSpeedRecord] Antoine Albeau & Marc Amerigo – UltraPerformance & Windsurfing ZEP:HIR Project
A la chasse à l’UltraPerformance avec Antoine Albeau : objectif 66 nœuds de vitesse en windsurf, les coulisses du projet fou : ZEP:HIR [Humaneness & Innovation for Records]
[English version below] Très touchant pour moi de voir ce rêve secret prendre forme avec Antoine Albeau F192, avec toute l’expérience et la confiance que nous avons chacun développées depuis 30 ans.
Ce jour-là, en poursuivant l’écriture de mon futur livre « UltraPerformance », je ne sais pas encore ce qui m’attend… Je retrace mon aventure en école d’ingénieur en 1992 et notre projet de record de vitesse sur l’eau avec mes jeunes compères tels qu’ Emmanuel, Etienne ou Samuel. Le nom d’Olivier Ponrouch me revient, comme celui du jeune Albeau qui rejoint alors la scène internationale.
Après 30 ans, j’appelle ainsi Olivier pour prendre des nouvelles et reparler de nos prototypes de l’époque… Rapidement le nom d’Antoine entre dans la conversation. Il s’avère qu’ils se connaissent très bien. Antoine a déjà fait des perfs de top niveau avec les ailerons de vitesse designés par Olivier !… Quelques jours après et l’accord d’Antoine, je me retrouve sur l’Ile de Ré chez celui qui est depuis devenu le plus grand : notre sportif français le plus titré avec ses 25 couronnes mondiales…
Nous sommes le 18 janvier 2020, ça matche bien entre nous, nos visions sont parfaitement alignées, c’est parti !
Ce bonhomme au grand cœur est à la fois une force de la nature et un félin sur ces engins de glisse. De mon côté, cette philosophie de l’UltraPerformance est aboutie avec tous ces records et réalisations en milieu complexe pour nous amener tous ensemble au bout de nos rêves.
Associés aux meilleurs experts mondiaux aux belles âmes, nous tenons le fil d’une aventure passionnante pour ces 3 prochaines années !
Chasing UltraPerformance with Antoine Albeau – objective: to reach the speed of 66 knots windsurfing. The crazy project backstage
[French Version above] I am so happy and delighted to see this secret dream come alive with Antoine Albeau. Our combined experience and mutual confidence accumulated over the past 30 years is a critical success factor to this project.
That day, while writing my future book “UltraPerformance”, I have no idea of what’s coming up… I am writing about our speed record project in engineering school back in 1992 with my friends Emmanuel, Etienne and Samuel…. our objective, the speed world record on water. I remember we partnered with Olivier Ponrouch and with the young Antoine Albeau just starting his pro international carrier.
After 30 years, I give a call to Olivier to get some news and remember our past adventure, and the prototypes from that time… Antoine’s name quickly comes up into the conversation. It turns out that they know each other very well. Antoine has already achieved top world level performances with the speed fins designed by Olivier! … A few days later, I meet on “Ile de Ré” with one of our greatest and most successful French athlete, with 25 world titles…
Today is date January 18th, 2020: there is good fit between us, our visions are perfectly aligned, it’s a GO!
This tall guy with a big heart is at the same time a force of nature and an instinctive glider on speed windsurf boards. My philosophy of UltraPerformance is fully mature with many records and achievements in complex environments … Together, we can make our dreams come true.
In collaboration with amazing individuals recognized as the world’s best experts in their fields, we are embarking on an exciting adventure for the 3 coming years!
Wind Magazine News – June-July 2020 (French news here)
Antoine Albeau – objective: to reach the speed of 66 knots windsurfing. The crazy project backstage: ZEP:HIR [Humaneness & Innovation for Records]
Antoine Albeau has set a new windsurfing speed world record at the beginning of November 2015 in Luderitz, Namibia. Now he is up for another challenge, with a new objective: beat the all sailing disciplines speed world record, set at 65.45 knots (121 km/h). Let’s take a look backstage at this XXL project with Marc Amerigo and Antoine Albeau, who are both leading this unique challenge.
Antoine Albeau to become again the all sailing disciplines ultimate world record holder?
The challenge seems unattainable (reaching 66 knots, 12 knots more than his previous world record in 2015, set at 53.27 knots) but we know Antoine’s mental strength and his ability to triumph over obstacles. With 25 world titles in his pocket, Antoine found this challenge to be a formidable source of motivation, should he lack any.
It all starts with Marc Amerigo, an outstanding engineer who founded UltraPerformance approach in coaching projects, contacting Antoine Albeau last winter. At the end of January 2020, both men meet and the connection is so strong that they decide to face this fascinating challenge: beat the all sailing disciplines speed world record.
“When Marc presented me this project, I realized it was exactly what I had been waiting for a few years. Now is the right time, this is the best timing in my carrier to go for this challenge” Antoine Albeau admits.
The “Colossus of Ile de Ré” and Marc Amerigo waste no time, they integrate in the project a trio of experts. Robert Stroj (designer of the NeilPryde sails), Chris Radkowski (F4 foils) and Olivier Ponrouch (designer of the Mxr and UFO fins) join the core team for this adventure. Another big name in sailing has just joined them: Martin Fischer, yacht designer of racing boats and international specialist in foiling mono and multihulls.
The objectives of this Dream Team are ambitious: “Create a revolution in the windsurfing world! We continue to drag ourselves along today with foils; the performances are not extraordinary… Whereas on a boat, they sail at 50 knots on foils, the gap is huge!”, hammers Marc Amerigo.
For Wind Magazine, Marc explains the technical progress on this World Record Challenge: “We’re working on all aspects: Antoine’s aerodynamics, the stability of a hydrofoil system, a different sail… We’re reinventing the discipline. If you don’t make a technological breakthrough, you can’t go any faster, you’re stuck… In this mindset, for example we are pushing our partner Neil Pryde to explore designs they’ve never thought of before! »
In order to succeed, Albeau and Amerigo agreed to run the project over a three-year period, until 2023. A logical decision for Marc Amerigo: “We have to recreate a discipline, Antoine has to discover new sensations, he is entering a new world! We are jumping into the unknown, especially on technical aspects, we have to reinvent just about everything. Our wisdom and experience justify this 3-year project.”
Antoine Albeau is preparing himself for a great adventure on this world record project, surrounded by experts. He is delighted: “Regrouping the best people in their field will be one of the critical success factors on this challenge. This project is a new experience and a new discovery for me. I want to take windsurfing one step further than other sailing crafts! »
And to achieve those goals, Antoine Albeau’s team is already working hard on the winning combination. Stability, comfort and commitment have been identified as the key words of the adventure, they will allow Antoine to go faster and faster on his board, with minimal effort.
Marc Amerigo tells us more about the initial thoughts on the equipment: “The sail is going to become a semi-rigid wing, which is something I developed when I was at Centrale (French engineering school) for a 50-knot World Record project. This wing is the initial concept for the next development; indeed it performs very well… We have planned some tests starting at the end of June, we will work a lot around Gruissan and Leucate. The next step is Luderitz in October, with already a technical breakthrough approach. »
Let’s leave the last word to Antoine Albeau: “This challenge means extensive research and development, we will look for financial support in order to sustain advanced research, in order to reach decisive results. »
We wish Antoine Albeau and his team all the best, and we can’t wait to hear more about this project for a new sailing speed ultimate world record!
Just for fun, here are some videos of Antoine Albeau during his last windsurfing speed world record (53.27 knots, 98.65 km/h). The absolute sailing speed world record is set at 65.45 knots, achieved on 24 November 2012 in Walvis Bay (Namibia) by the multihull Vestas Sailrocket 2. [LINK HERE]
Photo credits: Jean Souville / Erwan Jauffroy / Jérémy Lacave