Sand yacht return hope as Ian wins again 50 years on

Ian Dibdin
Ian Dibdin

A Fylde man has won another British title 50 years on from his first triumph – but nothing would please him more than to see sand yachting return to the region’s shores.

Ian Dibdin, 69, won the British title in the Mini-class at last weekend’s land sailing championships in Redcar near Middlesbrough, decades on from his win as a 19-year-old in 1964.

Champion sandyacht racer Ian Dibdin

Champion sandyacht racer Ian Dibdin

He saw off the challenge of six competitors, including one with international experience, to seal the win.

But the speedster revealed his hope is for the sport to return to St Annes Beach, more than a decade on from when it was banned by Fylde Council following the tragic death of a woman struck by one of the vehicles.

It was hoped a temporary licence would see sand yachting return last year, but the deal fell through, much to Ian’s disappointment.

He said: “It seems daft I live near one of the best sand yachting beaches in the country but can’t use it.

“The first British championships were held in St Annes in 1964, when I won.

“We need more youngsters in the sport. I want to get schools involved too. We’ve put proposals forward to the council to re-start the sport on the beach but it isn’t easy.”

Ian, who keeps fit with salsa dancing and skating, got into the sport at St Annes Sand Yachting Club, set up by his father Eddie Dibdin in 1952.

He has competed in various classes and even helped to send sand yacht designs to clubs in New Zealand.

As part of the event at Redcar, sand yachters competed in four 15-minute races. Riders were given a two-minute countdown before racing around three markers and passing the finish line.

Ian, of Common Edge Road, Marton, won the Mini class event on Sunday.

A previous British champion in 1964, 1965, 1971 and 1997, he said: “I knew I was in with a good chance of doing it and wanted to prove after 50 years I could still hold my own against other sand yachters.

“We sailed on Sunday and had four races and I had three firsts and a second.

“There was about six other competitors in my class, including one who won an international regatta – he was my main rival. Many of the riders were in their 20s and 30s. It was a great feeling to win, 50 years on from my first triumph.”

Ian said he does not plan to compete in the World Championships later this year, but hoped to travel to Europe for the European Championships, held in either France or Belgium next year.