The much-anticipated return of sand yachting could provide a major boost for the Fylde coast, according to business leaders.
The popular sport is set to return to St Annes beach within weeks, with a provisional date of October 18 and 19 pencilled in for a trial return of the sport after 12 years, subject to Fylde Council officials being happy with arrangements.
Sand yachting and other associated sports were banned at St Annes after mother-of-two Carole Cruz died after a collision with a craft on the sands in 2002.
But the return of the sport to its ‘spiritual home’ has been welcomed by traders and business leaders, who believe its arrival could boost tourism across the region.
John Moxham, of St Annes Chamber of Trade, said the initial impact of sand yachting would initially be small – but could grow and grow.
He added: “I think it will take some time for sand yachting to have an effect.
“But if it is part of a summer package, it can grow and grow. It could become a very large international event welcoming thousands. Many people call St Annes its spiritual home.
“It won’t be a major success overnight but can be part of the package this coast offers and will benefit Blackpool as much as St Annes.”
Eddie Sloane, owner of Trax Windsports, based in St Annes, said the return of the sport could only be a positive.
He added: “For my part it can only have a positive impact in terms of tourism.
“Any opportunity for young people to be involved in sport can only be a good thing.
“But it must be safe and sustainable. It is also important other beach users work alongside the sand yachters to ensure everyone can enjoy using the beach.”
The York Landyacht Club, which recently organised the sport’s national championships at Redcar, Cleveland, is to organise the demonstration event in St Annes next month.