Sport of the Month London Landyachting
Landyachting seems, if just looking at the word, contradictory and confusing. But the TotallySporty team got a chance to experience landyachting first hand. The team went down to the South East coast, near the English Channel tunnel, and met up with one of the experts in the field, Joe Taylor. He gave the TS team a tutorial with his Kirrawee Landyachting company and showed us what we had been missing. Warning: if you don't like sand, you can land yacht in car parks.
What is landyachting?
Landyachting is a combination of sailing and motor sport skills. It is more physical than both because you control the landyacht with your hands and your feet. You steer with your feet and gather speed by releasing or pulling on the rope attached to the sail. It is similar to wind surfing, but the speed is best compared to that of catamaran sailing.
There are three schools of thought about how the sport came to be. One is that it was an Egyptian invention to bring things from the Nile. There is not much evidence to this theory, only a few hieroglyphics. The second is discussed in a BBC2 science program. The third, and most believed thought, is that French soldiers used land yachts to get down the coast and called them wind chariots.
Why participate in landyachting?
There are many reasons to participate in landyachting.
- 1. A beginner can become competent in the yacht in 1-3 hours. One member of the TS team had sailed before and then other had never been sailing and both picked it up quickly and easily. In an hour or less, both were able to do turns, speed up, slow down and stop when they wanted. You will learn about wind awareness by watching flags and debris on the beach.
- 2. It can be as physical as you want it to be. It can be as easy as a walk, by just gliding along the beach. It can also be very physical if you race a short course with another person. You put in as much effort was you want. It can even be more of a pastime than a sport.
- 3. It is very green. For those looking to participate in an adrenaline sport, but don't want to use an engine, this is a good sport for you. The yachts are powered by the wind and the individual. They have no engines, but go very fast (owner of Kirrawee Landyachts, Joe Taylor, has a speed record of 86.4 mph).
- 4. It is a beach sport. It is a great way to spend a day on the beach, provided the beach is not crowded.
- 5. Kirrawee is the only South East landyachting club, so it is ideal for Londoners. Kirrawee is based in Lydd, which is about a 90 mile drive from the city of London.
How do I start?
Kirrawee offers a Taster session for beginners that is 3 hours long and costs £65.00. Kirrawee is currently offering a promotion of £65 for an individual or £99 for two friends who booked together (just quote "TotallySporty") There are also longer, more intensive training sessions available. After learning all the manoeuvres and learning to control the yacht, the next step is to find the right machine for you.
The best way to progress in the sport is to learn from someone else and with someone else (by racing). Just like in other sports, you need to practice, practice, practice, You can be competent in 1-3 hours. The progression route is:
- Beginner level (Taster session)
- Join the appropriate club and get race training
- Join a club fleet
- Join the international federation (register as an individual)
You can buy their own mini yachts or race yachts if they wish to continue on to a higher level. Equipment is made to order. A mini yacht with everything included will cost around £1000. A race yacht that is race ready costs around £5000. If you join a club, it comes with insurance. Insurance through Sports Cover Direct costs around £40/year.
For more information about land yachting or to book a training session with Kirrawee, visit the Kirrawee website at http://www.landyachting.co.uk/. There is also further information about land yachting clubs on the British Federation of Sand and Land Yachts at http://www.bfslyc.org.uk/pages/fed_homepage.aspx.
- A combination of fast go karting and the dynamics of catamaran racing
- Can learn in an hour
- Do not need to know how to sail
- Can be leisurely or very physical for adrenaline junkies