A female British daredevil has set a new windsurfing world speed record after reaching 53mph – in the desert.
Zara Davis, 46, recorded an amazing 45.83 knots along a narrow channel in Namibia, west Africa, which is renowned for its high winds.
The blonde smashed the previous record of 41.25 knots and then bettered her speed three times to reach 53mph – faster than most speed boats.
Zara, who has been windsurfing from the age of seven, juggles her training with her full-time job as an osteopath in Portishead near Bristol.
She said: “The hard work and dedication has been worth it.
“I am not a professional sailor and I hold down a full-time job as an osteopath and have to fit my sailing in around my patients.
“The record is really great for women in sport and in particular windsurfing, which is very male dominated.
“I think it really says to girls that we can get out there and compete on a level playing field.
“It’s also a great record for people my age. You don’t have to necessarily be in your 20s and a sailing professional. You can do it with a little talent and hard work.”
Zara’s record-breaking run took place last month at the Luderitz Speed Challenge 2012, held near the coastal town of Luderitz in south west Namibia.
The area has consistent strong winds which blow from the south at the perfect angle to the sailing course, a narrow man-made canal dug into the desert,
Zara fits in around 40 days of training at sea every year when not working.
She said: “I had been working hard in the build-up to the record attempt. I had been out in Liverpool before where I broke some informal records.
“I skipped the European Championship this year to focus on this and I was sailing very well before. It was just a question of keeping it up once I got there.”
A new men’s speed world record was also set at the Luderitz Speed Challenge 2012 – Antoine Albeau reached a massive 52.05 knots – almost 60mph.