Published: September 12, 2010
Calm weather fails to hit overnight land yachting challenge

A lack of wind almost blew away plans for a 12-hour endurance land yachting event to be held in Brean.

A breeze is essential to blow the land yachts along the beach, but when calm conditions settled over the beach as the event was launched, members of Brean Land Yachting Club decided to go ahead anyway, so walked around the course for the 12 hours instead.

"Rather than cancel it, we decided to walk around the course on the beach during the 12 hours of the challenge between 8pm and 8am," organiser Martyn Hale told

The event, which featured British Standart champion Ron Frewin, raised more than £1,100 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Cancer Research UK following the tragic death of local lady Julie Selway early this year.

Martyn said: "When we reached the beach in the afternoon we thought we had the perfect day for our challenge. It was warm, dry and, most importantly of all, windy!"

"By 4pm our banners were in place, the yachts were causing interest and the barbecue was lit. By 5pm all pilots taking part were ready and many sausages and burgers had been consumed."

"But by 6pm, when the four Standarts and two Class 5's were attempting to sail, the wind was steadily dropping, and finally they came in at 7.15 to set the challenge course."

"At 8pm, Angela Hollis from Cancer Research and Iaine Selway, Julie's husband, dropped the flag and we all ran over the line at great speed! The wind by now had dropped to virtually nothing so it was decided to pull two club yachts until, as forecast, the wind came up."

"We divided into pairs and did two laps of the track each pair before the next pair took over. When it got dark the orange, flashing lights were turned on on the course, with red flashing lights on the back of the yachts."

"It was a clear, warmish night and everybody sat on the beach outside the clubhouse. One of the highlights was the space station passing overhead. The night was passed pontificating on various subjects. Iaine and Marc Selway and a friend came back to keep us company until 3am and entertained us with a discussion on the cod fishing stocks!"

"At about 3.30am the wind came up and reached the dizzy heights of 6-8mph. We were full of expectation, only for it to drop an hour later. This did help us on the downward leg of the pull."

"It was suggested that we could start a new sport, land yacht pulling, to rival the Dutch and French sport of tractor pulling! We watched the sun rise at around 6am and knew we were on the downward leg."

"At 7am the heavens opened and everybody got soaked. Angela Hollis and Iaine came back to see us finish and at 8am Angela and Mike Young waved Ron and Caroline over the line."

Martyn added: "Despite the adverse weather conditions everybody enjoyed the event and were proud that we had achieved the goal of keeping two yachts moving all night."

"Thanks go to everyone who took part, or helped in any way and those who sponsored the event. We hope to have raised about £1,100, a wonderful achievement for a small club. We will publish the final figure, hopefully at the next Brean Regatta in November."


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