Sunday, 18 September 2011

Sand Yacht Racing at St Annes

I've got up to September 1982 in my scanning of my old black and white negatives.

This week I came across a number of photos that I took for an article for Lancashire Magazine in 1982 of the sand yachts on the beach at St Annes on Sea.

This is a huge expanse of sand, open to the Irish Sea although the tide here never comes close to the edge of the beach.

As such this is a very windy place! There are huge sand hills here, dunes that are held back by star grass - at one time there was a local law that families had to plant so much star grass every year to keep the sand from swamping the villages along the coast. Even now you regularly find huge piles of sand as far back from the "front" as the main road from Lytham towards Blackpool and Starr Gate.

This wind is what makes the sport of sand yachting possible.

In the September of 1982, there was a brand spanking new Coastguard Station on the front at St Annes and it's from around here that the sand yachts congregated and went off on their zig-zag courses out on the flat sands.

The Fylde International Sand Yacht Club was formed in 1951 and hosted several large national and international competitions at St Annes.

In 1953 Richard Denning and a number of friends broke the British and World speed records here on the beach in their yacht Coronation Mk II. Unconfirmed speeds of over 70mph had been achieved - and here I'm looking back at my notes of 1982.

However thare has been no sand yachting at St Annes since a blanket ban in 2002 after a racing yacht struck a member of the public, killing her as she walked with her two sons in 1982. The pilot of the sand yacht was cleared of manslaughter but the ban has been in place ever since.

Currently a three month trial of sand yachting is coming to a close with close scrutiny on public safety and the effects on local and visiting wild life, particularly the various bird populations.

Large verions of the photos: racing yachts, coastguard station, lone yacht, stationary yachts


  1. July 2012 at 11:48

    Looklng at your. Photos brought back fond memories I was in the children's convalescent home close by and I spent many times watching the sand.yacht s I think its been demolished. Now .THANKS.

  2. An old friend used to sand-yact and a friend of mine is trying to find him, he is looking for Mike Benson, he had a younger brother Gary.

  3. That's a cool thing to do while I take a visit at lytham st annes accomodation. That really looks so cool and exciting.


All comments must be passed by moderator before appearing on this post.