Sailing a landyacht is very popular in the European countries that border the Atlantic, where tides form those long, wide strands of hard sand which are suitable for landsailing. The deserts of North America also provide ample opportunities for practising this sport. In fact it was in the United States, a few miles outside Las Vegas, in March 1999, that the new speed record was set by Bob Schumacher, who sailed his Ironduck at a speed of over 187 kms per hour. To reach such a speed by virtue of the laws of aerodynamics and with only the rustling of the wind for company must surely be a wonderful sensation. But there is more to landyacht sailing than simply attempting to establish new speed records. This is a sport that offers a wide and varied range of possibilities for participants, whether they be seasoned professionals or complete newcomers to windsports, and especially for children and disabled people. In the Spring of 1997, in fact, a sail that could be set on wheelchairs was launched; this new sail reached 35kms on the very day of its presentation and answers the call of the developing world of handicapped sports. The configuration of Italian beaches, narrow and with soft sand where wheels sink, is not particularly suited to competitive activities, though landyachts can represent a valid opportunity for leisure and learning about sailing and exploiting the winds.


Landyacht sailing is popular in many countries of Northern Europe. In France, on the Atlantic side, this sport is widespread both in terms of professional activity and of amateur clubs. Extraordinary winds and long, wide beaches of compact sand grant the possibility of sailing landyachts throughout the year and the Federation Francaise de Char a Voile is one of the most dynamic, with a large number of schools whose offers of low price courses are amazing. It is possible to find bargains if you are interested in buying your own landyacht (the Spor'Ever Albatros, sold in a kit for only 1048 Euro, and one of the most reliable and common models), whose production covers the entire range of classes on which the agonistic activity is based. Attending such schools are useful in order to understand what sailing a landyacht is really all about. Then, once you have entered this whirl, there are two main venues which are an absolute must: forget about the breaking of waves and the cracking of seashells under the wheels! Two of the most exciting events of the whole landyacht circus take in actually take place in the desert. Every Spring, in the United States, thousands of landyacht fans gather in Nevada for one week, to give life to the great national Regatta, with participants in all classes. The Regatta ends up with various attempts to beat the speed record. In the summer the whole scene shifts from the flat and solid desert of Nevada, to the enduring african marathon of Transat des Sables. The race goes through Mauritania, encountering the hardest environments in terms of terrain, temperature and strong winds that provoke treacherous sand storms. Those who venture out in these conditions to reach the finishing line at Nouakchott, will not only have to go through all those adversities that, in 1999, proved fatal for the French pilot Philippe Poulet, but they will also be able to orientate in order not to lose their route in a desert that might turn out to be even more dangerous than the open sea.

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