Sand yachts to race once more

Feature on champion sandyacht racer Ian Dibden, of Common Edge Road Marton, who is hoping to be back on the sands of St Annes if the racing ban is lifted.'Ian looks at family photos showing how long they have been involved in the sport.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'17-4-2013
Feature on champion sandyacht racer Ian Dibden, of Common Edge Road Marton, who is hoping to be back on the sands of St Annes if the racing ban is lifted.'Ian looks at family photos showing how long they have been involved in the sport. PIC BY ROB LOCK'17-4-2013

A sandyachting boss has pledged the sport will return to St Annes beach with stringent safeguards after a decade-long ban was lifted.

The sport will be allowed to return to its spiritual home only as long as strict safety criteria are met.

Carole Cruz was struck by a yacht during a race on the sands and died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. Her parents have called for stricter controls to be put in place before any racing re-starts.

The sport supporters hope to organise an Have a Go weekend in 
mid-June.

It was St Annes that spawned the international sand yachting association. It was St Annes which hosted the Fylde International Sand Yacht Club’s two day regatta in 2002 which led to the sport’s first ever fatality.

Ian Dibden, 68, chairman in waiting of the new-look group, St Annes Windsports Club, has long campaigned for the sport’s return.

He was waiting to race the day Mrs Cruz died. “There was a class three race on when it happened,” he recalls.

“I was waiting to sail in class five. I saw something had happened and went there in a Land Rover.

“I was one of the first on the scene. It was nasty.”

Ian is confident the sport will have stringent safeguards.

“We want race areas zoned off, more people on the markers and on the beach with walkie talkies. We want more vehicles and marshalls for a regatta. I’m insisting anyone who sails on the beach is a member of our club or another so they are covered by federation insurance.

“We will start with mini yachts. We need to get what happened, tragic and awful as it was, in perspective. We sailed more than 50 years without accident.

“I’ve sailed in the European championships in the middle of 75 yachts and never been hit or hurt.

“How many sports would stop with one fatality? Horse racing, rallying, car racing, boxing?”