Karo van Tonder sent us a nice report from her latest adventures. New records have been set and this lady is on a mission. Read the full story below.
I have been very privileged to represent my country and the African continent at the Luderitz World Speed records from the 4th of November until the 6th of November 2017. On November the 5th, I reached my top speed with a specialized speed sail, custom made for me by Severne Sails, which was a 4.5 Severne Mach Overdrive cambered sail. I used my 17 cm speed fin from my fin sponsor, Zulu Fins. My record and the new African and South African Women’s Speed Record was 38.9 knots average over the 500 m run.
It was an incredible experience! I arrived in Luderitz on Saturday afternoon and had a half day to get used to the channel and speed equipment and to learn everything. “Speed sailing” is completely different from slalom racing that I’m used to. I was very excited but also extremely nervous! The channel is only 7 m wide and about 30 cm deep. I only had three days of wind to do my best, so a lot of pressure to learn everything and get used to the channel as fast as possible. The next morning, I felt ready to give my everything. I was very happy to make the first run of the day, because it was just 30 minutes that wind was at its maximum strength of that day (30-35 knots). I then set my record with my 2nd attempt at that day!
It was a terrifying experience to charge at such a high speed on a narrow and very shallow channel! It was the biggest psychological challenge of my life!! Every time you go you have a great chance getting seriously injured. The 3rd day was the last day of wind, but the wind was not strong enough to improve my record even further. I was very fortunate to have my father (Joos Bester) and my husband (Charl van Tonder) there who supported me fully and helped keep me calm. I could not have done it without them!
I’m very happy with my record!! It was definitely the best I could have done with the wind power of that day! It is a great achievement for me, especially because I have never done speed sailing and that I only had one day with good wind! I will be definitely go again next year to further improve my record for Africa! It was a great honor to be there with the world’s best windsurfers!
Earlier this year I also became the African women’s slalom champion at the Mauritius IFCA African/Asian Slalom Championship. I also took part in the Mauritius Défi and became the first woman in the world to finish an 80 km windsurf race. I was very happy to achieve this goal and could definitely not have done it without my Starboard iSonics!
-Karo van Tonder
Follow Karo on her social media here.