The sport of Land Sailing is an interesting adventure that really picked up wind (pun obviously intended) in the 70s. People compete in this adventure around the world, but one event that sets all other competitions apart, the ultimate adventure in land sailing, is the Landsailing World Championships in Smith Creek Dry Lake, Nevada. The competition, hosted by NALSA (North American Land Sailing), took place this year between July 12 and July 19.
Racers from all around the world gather in the small town of Austin, Nevada to race through the nearby dried-up lake. Land Sailing takes place on many different terrains, from beaches to deserts, but the dried lake bed offers a smooth track that allows for faster runs (perhaps this is why the world land speed record, 126.1mph set by Richard Jenkins, was in nearby Ivanpah Dry Lake, Nevada) if the wind is in your favor. And it’s all about the wind. Unlike in sailing on water, changes in wind are harder to read, and crashes are a common occurrence at these races. At Smith Creek Dry Lake this year, the wind would change as much as 60˚ while pushing at a rate of 30mph gusts. However, a racer who could play the wind right, sailed smoothly at speeds over 100kph.
There are several classes of yacht (the boats with wheels that these adventurers race), and a race for each, but the most exciting by far is the Class 2 race. Unlike the Standart class where all yachts are the same, the Class 2 features the largest yachts, each one custom built by the racer and his or her team. There are many ways to sail across land, ranging from a three wheeled buggy to a skateboard attached to a kite, but Class 2 is where the big boys come to party. It is a collection of bizarre vehicles that push the limits of engineering and human ability.
If you think you have what it takes to go on a Land Sailing adventure, travel to Oregon because NALSA is hosting an event in the Alvord Desert on September 14 to September 21 where anyone can sign up.