Land Yacht Introduction We Call it Sand Yachting. Others call it Sandyachting, Land Sailing (the airfield sailors) Landyachting, Dirt Boating (theYanks) or Sand Sailing (the Kiwis). - (Some call it Sand Surfing - but they don't know any better). Graham Thwaite What's it all About? Well - it's fast and it's fun. It's 'green' and it's clean (no pollution). Sand yachting in Britain is limited to a small number of clubs, mostly on beaches, a couple on airfields. Unlike on the continent, it receives no assistance from sporting bodies, and local authorities in most cases are disinterested or even hostile. Strange perhaps for a sport that is quiet, clean, 'green' and seems relatively cheap compared to 'wet' sailing. If you don't like to follow the latest sporting fashion, or you are put off by highly commercialised activities and want to do something different, then it's worth considering. If you like the challenge of using the wind, a free, natural but variable source of power, then there's plenty to learn and certainly some surprises. My first time in a home built sand yacht, admittedly without the benefit of any advice or tuition was quite a shock. I expected to be trundling along, wafted by a quite moderate breeze of, I suppose, about 12 to 15 mph. The acceleration with the wind abeam came as a total surprise followed shortly by another as I realised the speed had topped out at probably 30 mph. It dosen't sound much, but lying on your back, a few inches above the sand exaggerates the sensation when added to the knowledge that no brakes were considered necessary Modern yachts are considerably faster and can reach 3 to 3 ½ times the wind speed on a hard surface. The world record is 116 mph. Perhaps you can sense why 20 mph winds and above call for some fairly serious caution. The speeds reached mean that a licencing system is necessary to race with other clubs and enter national regattas. A pilot's licence can be obtained through any club given a certain level of experience and a sound knowledge of the safety rules necessary for survival. Build Your Own? Yes it's quite possible. Lots of students at school or university have tried it and, given a bit of 'stick-to-it-ivness' and a few contacts it's possible to build a sand yacht that will go well enough to have a lot of fun at little expense. Mind you, a fair number of students never get them rolling. The main problems seem to be the initial design concept and where to get the right materials or components. Don't try to re-invent the wheel. Look at something that already works and modify it to suit your budget, your taste and your ability. I got interested when my son Carl started his school GCSE project. He started by going to a sand yacht club, taking some photos and chatting to some sand yacht pilots. For a few quid, we bought an old wreck of a class 5 to gain some experience, then he designed his own for the project. It worked! My son, my daughter and myself all sailed the yacht on the Wirral sands and I remember to this day the feeling of that first sail. I built a second yacht to the same design and we started racing. The rest, is the history of Wirral Sand Yacht Club. That was fourteen years ago and the design of yachts has moved on. Plans and instructions for a more modern class 5 yacht, details about the 'FED-5' can be found here. Parts for the FED 5 and indeed, complete yachts, can be supplied by Yorker Landyachts, Riversdale Farm, Flaxton Road, Strensall,York (Phone 01904 490310). Recently, some good miniyachts have come onto the market which are ideal for beginners. They are cheap, fun to use, easy to rig, transport and store and require little maintenance. Buy a Landyacht? This is where the problems start. What kind of yacht? How big? How to transport it? Where to buy it? Where to keep it? How to maintain it? How often will I get to sail it? Can the kids use it? How much to pay? Will it keep it's value? Do I need insurance? Come and Talk to the WSYC and we may be able to help. WSYC The Wirral Sand Yacht Club was founded in 1989 as a result of local demand, and became part of the British Federation of Sand and Land Yacht Clubs ( BFSLYC or 'The Fed') which arranges our insurance, officiates at a series of national regattas and selects the British team for European competition. The club sails on the sandbanks off the Wirral coast at Hoylake, one of the best locations in the UK. Home Club Membership Visitors Location Rules Events Photo Videos Facebook Back