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Windsurfer aims for speed record

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Champion windsurfer Bjorn Dunkerbeck is preparing to break the world speed sailing record.

For almost ten years the record has stood at just over 46 knots the elusive 50 knot barrier seemingly impossible to break.

But 13-time world windsurf champion Danish-born Dunkerbeck believes he can achieve a new record.

"For me there's no doubt that with the equipment I've got now I can break the record... the challenge of beating records is to being ready to rock, at all times, knowing where the conditions are to be found and this is going to be the toughest one," he said.

"But if it was easy anyone could do it."

Dunkerbeck learnt his craft in the Canary Islands at his father's windsurfing school. He became formidable on the professional circuit, but now at the age of 33, he has sought new challenges, including the world speed sailing record.

"For me it's the ultimate record in sailing.

"You need perfectly angled wind -- 125 degrees off shore, completely smooth and flat water and you need 45-50 knots to reach this speed of 46.5 plus knots."

In 1993 the yacht called Yellow Pages Endeavour set the record in Australia. Challengers since then have failed to break it.

British sailor Simon Sanderson has built an 18-meter catamaran, which needs far more time and money than a windsurfing board.

"A big boat is a lot more expensive to build, maintain, keep going.

"For windsurfers, the actual equipment to physically build a windsurfer probably only takes $250 of materials," Sanderson said.

"We probably have three-man crew sailing, eight on shore, helping launch the boat and getting it ready, two or three in the rescue boat and it probably costs $100,000 a year to keep the boat operated and modified.

"And $50,000 on top of that to organise a world speed sailing attempt," he added.

Despite the costs, there are currently just over 20 teams building yachts to make an attempt on the record.

The major difficulty for all of them is controlling the craft at such high speeds.

When things go wrong, the damage can be serious, but there are fewer risks for a windsurfer.

Dunkerbeck will go to the windiest of the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura to make his attempt on the record later this year.

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