Sailing on land simply exciting |

Sailing on land simply exciting

Mary Robertson and Mike Grimm with the landsailing poster promoting the July event.
Shannon Litz | The Record-Courier

Minden resident Mike Grimm describes landsailing, and the speed associated with it, as an exciting experience.

Since he began sailing on water at Lake Tahoe a number of years ago, however, he has transitioned to landsailing and simply describes the experience as exciting.

“I use the same gear except for a lifejacket; instead, you wear a seatbelt and safety helmet,” he said. “Probably the main difference is the speed. You’re doing 10 to 20 mph on the water. Then on land, you may be doing 30 to 80 mph. Even at lower speeds, the speed is exciting, just because you’re exposed; you’re six inches off the ground and nothing around you except your seat belt. You’re wearing shorts, T-shirt and helmets … it’s just an incredible sensation of speed.”

Grimm can even glance at his iPhone and immediately tell you exactly how many days remain before the start of the 14th Landsailing World Championships at Smith Creek Dry Lake near Austin in Northern Nevada.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Grimm said with a smile after checking his iPhone countdown for the July 12-19 dates for the world championships.

The world regatta, being hosted by the North American Landsailing Association (NALSA) in conjunction with the International Land and Sandyachting Federation (FISLY), is expected to draw entrants from at least four continents and 10 to 15 countries. Participants will be competing in fleet races in at least eight classes.

“Smith Creek is a great site,” Grimm said. “You have a good surface and good wind. The whole valley is beautiful. The views in the Toiyabes are some of the best you’re going to find; it’s one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Nevada.”

Nearly two dozen entrants from Northern Nevada are expected to compete, including Grimm as well as Mary and Les Robertson of Carson City. going to be a family affair for the Robertsons, who will be joined by their sons, Sam and Jack, during the weeklong competition.

The world championships were previously held in Nevada at Ivanpah dry lake near Primm (outside Las Vegas). One reason Smith Creek was selected is its 6,000-foot elevation, which offers more desirable summer weather than the southern desert and its high temperatures.

“We’re looking forward to seeing our overseas friends,” Robertson said. “Racing in the desert is a different experience. It can be rainy and cold, on the other hand, it can also be hot so you’ve got to pace yourself.”

Grimm and Robertson are both entered in the International 5.6 Mini class. Robertson will also race in the Manta Single and Standart classes. Robertson won Manta Single championships in 2013 and 2014.

“We’re excited,” Robertson said. “They’ll send the best of their best. Most of the overseas folks will be used to beach sailing, but it won’t take them long to adjust to the dry lake.”

The sport is similar whether on water or land. Sailing on dry land is still all about trying to make the boat go, Robertson pointed out.

“There are a lot of similarities,” said Robertson, who trains at Misfit Flats near Stagecoach. “You sail around a course, upwind and downwind. When you sail water boats, you get wet. When you sail on sand, you get dirty. If the wind is light and variable, some of the boats require you to get out and push to get it going again.”

Landsailing enthusiasts who do not plan to compete at the championships can still get involved. Organizers are looking for owners who can provide Manta Twin and Manta Single boats to international competitors who are not able to bring their boats to the U.S.

“We have way more pilots than we have boats,” Grimm said, adding that anyone who has a Manta Twin or Single available may contact Keith Ligler at for information.

Sponsorships are still needed, added Grimm, who said any individual or business interested in being involved with the world championships may contact Russ Foster at for information.