Blazing a trail on the beach

Sand Yachting one of the earliest pictures of sandyachting at St Annes / historical
Sand Yachting one of the earliest pictures of sandyachting at St Annes / historical

I was interested in your recent articles on the possible return of sand yachting. What is its history on St Annes beach?

Mr SW, Squires Gate.

THE club was founded in 1951 by a number of people including a Mr Dibden, whose son went on become British champion. The members made a wooden yacht with wheels, borrowed sails and a mast from Blackpool and Fleetwood sea yachting club and using this model they showed the potential by sailing it along St Annes beach.

A Mr Denning joined the club in 1952 and took some councillors for rides on his coronation yacht in an effort to obtain permission to use the beach. By January 1953, his wish was granted.

Violet Clifton of Lytham Hall donated a cup and land on which a club house was built north of the Ormerod Home. Other people got involved including the Croston, Crook, Denye, Nicol and Tavenor families.

With good local support and council approval, the idea of a flying mile was advertised, keen sandyachters from all over the country were attracted to the resort and the word spread to Europe.

Mr Norman Uttley, Mayor at the time, pushed the council to promote the sport and by 1962 the first of many internationals was held. In 1970, world championship sandyachting arrived and St Annes was now on the world map. In 1991, an American team brought over large yachts used for racing in the Nevada desert.

With the tragic death in 2002 of a member of the public, the club stopped racing but with new controls mean yachting is set to return. Our thanks to Ian Dibden and Andrew Parr for their help with this information.

Alex Maitland

Matt Warhurst