When the America’s Cup and SailGP boast about boat speeds, there is a sector of the sport that snicker at the swiftness – land and ice sailors. While sailing on the hard can face more fickle conditions to get up to pace, when they do, they quickly eclipse those with the soggy dollars.
As the designers for the America’s Cup defender seek to create a weapon to break the current land sailing record of 126.2 mph set in 2009 by Richard Jenkins set on Ivanpah Dry Lake, Duncan Harrison takes the opportunity to promote this USA venue and his corner of the sport:
Ivanpah is not well known to most water sailors. The playa lies in eastern California, just west of Primm, Nevada and is bisected by Interstate 15, the highway linking Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
Yup, the world’s fastest sailing surface hiding in plain sight!
Ivanpah Dry Lake is around 3 hours drive time from all of the water sailors along the west coast between Santa Barbara and San Diego. Millions of people drive across Ivanpah Dry Lake annually, yet rarely do a handful of curious passersby stop and visit a landsailing event.
Even fewer brave souls ask for (and get) a ride in a dirtboat, but let’s imagine sailing at 90 mph in 30 mph of true wind.
It’s your first time landsailing – you’ve just begun rolling and the sail catches a puff. You’re acceleration shoves you into the seat as the boat speed skyrockets to over 40 mph. Continue sheeting in! The yacht accelerates to over 50 mph! Catch the next puff and accelerate to speeds you never imagined possible – this is extreme sailing!
Seatbelts and helmets are required…