Where to learn | other background info

along the beaches

What is sand-yachting?
History of sand-yachting
Different types of sand-yacht
Getting started
Where to hire, lessons
Louis Bleriot (1st solo cross-channel flier) invented the first sand-yacht on the beach at Hardelot a century ago - it now looks heavy and cumbersome...

...compared with today's stripped-down version.
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What is sand yachting?
You're sitting on a bucket seat fixed to what looks like a flimsy frame of lightweight poles, bowling along the sandy seashore with hardly any sound - just the hum of the wheels, and the distant lapping of the waves. You're too busy hanging on to the rope that controls your sail to look around you at the spectacularly flat coastline. This is your first lesson in sand-yachting!

Ideal flat sandy beaches
Nord-Pas-de-Calais has miles of continuous flat sandy beaches, and a coastline swept with bracing fresh winds from off the Channel or the North Sea - you couldn't wish for better conditions.

It all started when Louis Bleriot was playing around on the flat sandy beaches at Hardelot at the turn of the century...

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You can do it sitting down...
There are different sorts of sand-yachting. With "Char à voile"
(sail-carting) you are sitting down in something like a sail-driven go-kart, so you have a safely low centre of gravity.

Sand-yachts are good for beginners - it feels safer to be closer to the ground while you're getting started! Most people soon get the hang of controlling their sails by the simple pulley system.

...or standing up
You can also try "speed-sailing", which you do standing up - it's like sail-boarding on wheels.

You stand up on a small platform, leaning out to balance the sail - and generally go faster than a beginner's sand-yacht. Back to top

You can do it sitting down (called "char à voile")...

or standing up (called "speed-sailing").

Getting started
Several centres offer lessons - for children and adults - and hire the equipment. Most take groups as well as individuals.

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Where to hire, get lessons & find facilities

Sandyachts on the Cote d'Opale
(Wimereux, Boulogne, Etaples, Berck)

Sandyachts on the Dunes of Flanders
(Calais, Gravelines, Dunkerque, Bray-Dunes)

Channel coast - south of Cap Griz-Nez

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Berck area:
AGORA, Front de Mer, Esplanade Parmentier, BP9 62601 BERCK-SUR-MER.
Tel: 00 33 3 21 89 87 00 - Fax: 00 33 3 21 89 87 13
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/agora.berck/

Boulogne area:
Base de
Tel: 00 33 3 2

Hardelot area:

Tel: 00 33 3 21 83 27 93

North Sea coast - east of Cap Griz Nez

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Bray-Dunes area:
Base de Speed Sail, 726 boulevard Trystram, 59240 LEFFRINCKOUCKE.
Tel: 00 33 3 28 69 05 06

Ecole de Char À Voile Zephir, Rue des Dunes Prolongées, 59123 ZUYDCOOTE
Tel: 00 33 3 28 26 50 98
Fax: 00 33 3 28 58 27 01
Centre de Char À Voile des Rives de l'Aa, 27 rue de la Chapelle, BP 139, 59820 GRAVELINES
Tel/ fax: 00 33 3 28 23 41 70

Base de Char À Voile, rue de la Chapelle, BP 142, 59820 GRAVELINES
Tel/ fax: 00 33 3 28 23 43 75

Related background information
Sailing - for a different high speed experience, try sailing small catamarans....
KID stations - children's facilities
Sports & outdoor leisure facilities
Seaside holidays

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www.theotherside.co.uk © Copyright 2000 Invicta Media Last updated 23rd July 2002