Types of Yacht
Standart yachts are manufactured to a strict specification and individual yachts are scrutinised prior to the races to see that they conform to the agreed specification.
The benefit of a ‘one design yacht’ is that pilots of Standarts race on equal terms with other pilots: no-one will arrive at a competition with a newly designed sail capable of beating all other competitors! So those engineers and designers who excel in designing faster, lighter-weight yachts in the other classes do not have an advantage here. Nor do those who constantly buy the latest equipment force others to continually play catch-up as they dig deeper into their pockets. Martin Leach (a member of York Landyacht Club) was 4th in the World Championships in 2000, with a yacht which was 11 years old. It would have been virtually impossible to race a yacht of such age in any of the other classes, where advancements in yacht design are constantly being made. .
The drawback of the one design is that the Standart was designed in the late 1980’s, and whilst it has retained its aesthetic appeal it has obviously not increased its acceleration or speed.
Class 3 is the largest of the types of land yacht sailed in the UK. It is a development class that has evolved from the pole-masted yachts, which predominated in the 1960's. All land yachts use 'lift' generated on the wing shaped sail to travel at between 3 and 5 times the wind speed reaching speeds in excess of 60 mph. They follow a classic layout of a triangle with one steerable front wheel and two fixed rear wheels. In a Class 3 yacht, the mast is held up by 3 shrouds one forward and 2 aft.
Class 3 yachts are the fastest and most competitive land yacht with a maximum sail area of 7.35 sq. metres, a rotating aerofoil section wing mast and slim enclosed glassfibre bodies. Most are commercially built from glass fibre or lighter modern composite materials, though the axle to which the rear wheels are attached is still made from wood (ash) for strength and flexibility. The yachts conform to an outline specification with maximum dimensions set for sail area, yacht length and track and a minimum weight. The specification is defined and controlled by FISLY, the International Federation of Sand and Land Yachts.
The inexpensive mini-yacht is the perfect introduction to land sailing. The characteristics of a 'mini' make it an ideal first yacht, but it will put a smile on the face of more experienced hands too. Just about anybody can learn to sail it and it is perfect for outdoor family-sport. The mini is simply constructed. A frame supports three wheels, a seat and a mast. The sail is fixed to a sectional mast (for easy packing), the boom controlled by a simple rope and pulley system. Steering is performed with the feet. With a minimum of parts and simple construction, the craft is designed to provide a lifetime of land sailing pleasure with quick and easy maintenance.
Although mini yacht racing has been hugely popular in Ireland for many years elsewhere in the world, until 2012, the mini was sailed purely for recreation. However, with the introduction of a design specification by FISLY (the international governing body) mini yachts are now being raced at national and international level and we can expect to see major developments in this class in the near future.
The class 5 sand yacht takes its name from the 5.5sq meter sail it uses. Formed around a basic pole design and three wheels with an aerodynamic shell which partly incases you, the yacht harnesses the wind, achieving speeds of up to 50mph.
The portability, cost and style of this yacht make it one of the most popular classes. Designs vary from the recreational basic design and classic home/school build to the top-of-the-range racing machine. Like all modern land yachts, the class 5 has three wheels laid out in a triangle. The front wheel, controlled with a link to the pilot's feet, steers the yacht. A frame supports a set of poles leading forward to the front wheel and outwards to the two rear wheels. The mast is usually constructed from a series of interlocking tubes giving a tapered effect. Around this a pocketed (and sometimes fully battened) sail is mounted. Seating positions vary from the classic plastic school seat giving you a very upright ride, to the more popular cocoon style - shielding you from the elements and giving a sleek aerodynamic shape as you lie almost flat.
A lot of the above information was taken from the British Landsailing website.