Regatta could mean return of windsport

Sandyachting is making a comeback.
Sandyachting is making a comeback.
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A colourful regatta could signal the return of windsports on a regular basis to the spiritual home of sand yachting.

Between 20 and 25 mini-yachts and a number of kite buggies will attend from all over the country for the March regatta on St Annes Beach, 
organised by British Landsailing and members of the British Land Speedsail Association (BLSA).

The move comes 13 years after the sport was banned at St Annes after mother-of-two Carole Cruz lost her life following a collision with one of the vehicles.

Now Fylde Council hopes for a return to the sport’s 1960s heyday, with the event subject to careful planning and a qualified race marshal, supported by stewards and the competition area coned off.

Coun Sue Fazackerley, Fylde Council leader, said: “This will be an exciting spectacle for the public and will be, we hope, the first of many.

“We hope that regular regattas will raise the profile of Fylde and give a boost to the area’s visitor economy. We know enthusiasts will attend from all over the country but I also hope that residents will get a taste for it and turn up to watch or even, in the future, want to take part themselves.

“Following the event local enthusiasts plan to form a club so that windsports can be a regular activity.”

A section of beach in front of North Beach car-park will be used for a series of 10-minute mini-yacht races and kite-buggy demonstrations.

Practice should start at 10am with racing commencing by 11am on March 14 and 15.

Prize-giving will be at 3.30pm in the Trax Centre by the car-park. As with all windsports it is subject to the 
unpredictability of the weather.

“We allowed a trial event on the beach in October and things ran smoothly and safely. Public safety, of course, is paramount and the organisers have shown us their extensive safety plans. We are satisfied the sport will be safe and enjoyable for everyone.

“Formation of a club will be the gateway to the sport’s return which will be a major addition to the area’s visitor appeal.”

It is hoped the mini-yachts – small enough to be carried in a car-boot – and the kite buggies will be made available for members of the public to try at any future events.

Graham Dalzell, one of the organisers and a member of both British Landsailing and BLSA, said: “Fylde has a fantastic beach that is ideal for windsports. This is a fun activity which is open to all ages and abilities.

“It’s a mixture of tactics and skill and is a great spectacle for everyone. We had a highly successful trial in October and are delighted to be invited back by Fylde Council. We all look forward to it becoming a regular venue for the sport and being able to give introductory sessions in the near future.

“We already have a small number of people interested in forming a club which will have good neighbourliness at the heart of what it does.

“A code of practice is already in use in other parts of the country and we will ensure it is adopted here.

“In the meantime, everyone will be welcome to watch the March regatta.

“They will have a fantastic time and I hope they return again and again.”

Anyone interested in the event or joining a new club should contact ian.dibdin@icloud.com.

Graham Dalzell of British Landsailing and BLSA on 07715 077437 or at gdalzell468@btinternet.com