It could be that your esteemed editor has just experienced an important new route into sailing at the British Blokart Championships near Stroud this weekend.
Stroud? Isn’t that virtually land locked you may say ? Well, yes, but a Blokart, for that is what we are talking about, does indeed have a sail but it also has 3 wheels and a steel chassis that definitely would not float - think go-kart with a sail.
Hang on though, they’re too much fun to dismiss. The numbers signed to the governing association have doubled this year, they’re fantastically easy to start sailing, challenging in the upper reaches, fun with a capital F in a breeze, and there’s a junior circuit on its way up too. These things weigh about 27kg, fold into a bag that fits in the boot of your car (or just maybe the sail locker that would take the kite if you ever used it!) and does over 50mph... in 25mph of wind. That has to get your attention!
They also turn easily and can capsize, but you are strapped in and you won’t hit the beach or airfield. Hmm, yes airfield, tarmac in fact for the championships. Just outside Stroud is Aston Down Airfield, the home of Cotswold Gliding Club, who are just starting a Blokart division as a very complementary activity.
50 competitors converged on Aston Down for the Blokart Championships, and despite extremely light winds managed to get enough sailing on Saturday 3rd Nov to get a useful result. Sailing a surprisingly testing extended sausage course, competitors had to do the Blokart equivalent of pumping and ooching to keep their craft moving through the lulls, and as always with light wind sailing it was clear who was well prepared, had a ‘quick boat’, and knew how to get the most out of it.
Ex-olympic sailor Peter Newlands is a fan but even he had to work hard for a good place, and had no stroll home to victory as competition gets pretty fierce in a light hearted way in this young family feeling one design sport. In fact, it was Justin Heap from Cheshire who took the victory to become UK champion.
We’d better not tell you where your ed came in, but we’re sure he’ll do even better next time, if only to salve the ego!
Check out this sport, it’s warm in winter, it makes a real easy start to sailing for beginners, and if you want to win races consistently you’d better be good!