Sand yachting to make return

Ian Dibden with a small sand yacht before the ban.
Ian Dibden with a small sand yacht before the ban.
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Sand yachting is set to make a return to the Fylde coast now council chiefs have lifted a 10 year ban on the sport.

The sport, which sees sail-driven buggies race at speeds of up to 70mph along the shore, was halted after a fatal accident on St Annes beach in 2002.

But Fylde Council has now granted a licence allowing Sand Yachting until August 31 so long as strict safety conditions are met.

As long as there are no concerns, the licence could be extended.Ian Dibden, who’s father Eddie set up Fylde Sand Yacht Club in 1951, has been campaigning to have the ban lifted for several years.

Mr Dibden, 68, said: “The sport did cause a problem for a while, but the council realises that with the right safety measures in place it can be put on again.

“We will start with smaller yachts, which are easier to control, and will have a lot more restrictions to make the beach safer.”

Coun Haward Henshaw, county councillor for St Annes, said he had been working with Mr Dibden to fight the ban.

He said: “Fylde is the spiritual home of sand yachting in Britain.

“To have it back on St Annes beach will be very good for the tourism industry, as 10,000 people used to travel to Fylde to watch the regattas.”

A Fylde council spokesman said: “As long as the conditions are met, the council is very happy to see sand yachting return to the beach.”

An open weekend to encourage people into the sport will be held on June 15 and 16.

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Ban imposed after death of mum-of-two

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Sand Yachting was banned in Fylde for health and safety reasons after the death of Carole Cruz who was hit during a sand yachting race in August 2002.
She was visiting St Annes from her home in Burnley and was on the beach during the Fylde International Sand Yacht Club’s two-day regatta. She had been walking back towards the dunes from the sea with her two boys, then aged 14 and 12, when she was struck by a sand yacht, driven by pilot, and international champion, Adrian Warren of Doncaster.
Mrs Cruz, 38, was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where she died of her injuries.
Mr Warren was cleared by a jury of manslaughter in 2004, but the ban stayed in place.

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