Welcome to the amazing thrill-packed new sport of blokart sailing. Whether for fun or competition you are sure to meet other like-minded sailors to blast around with.
The Blokart (pronounced Blow-Kart) was developed by inventor & Managing Director Paul Beckett, in the garage of his home in New Zealand, during September of 1999. With a background in hangliding and land sailing Paul was inspired to build a serious wind-powered craft that was fun, fast and compact.
Matt Beckett (Blokart International Ltd GM) joined his father a year later to assist with brand development and take blokart to market.
The first commercial blokarts were manufactured by Blokart International Ltd in a purpose built factory in Papamoa, NZ in 2000. Since then the fundamental blokart design has remained virtually unchanged. By 2017, the total number of karts produced exceeded 14,000 with almost half the blokarts sold in Europe. Other countries where blokarting is becoming popular are NZ, Australia, USA and South Africa.
"Blokart continues to exceed our wildest expectations and has realised the dreams of many. For the competitive; a chance for all to compete on a level playing field (legs optional). For the family; our range of accessories means everyone of all ages can experience the thrill of blokart sailing".
Blokarts can be quickly assembled & disassembled (without tools) and packed into a carry-bag, giving them a high degree of portability.
Due to their small size and maneuverability, blokarts are able to be sailed in small urban areas.
Blokarts have hand steering (unlike most other land yachts) and require few sail adjustments which make them particularly easy to learn to sail. This, along with its compact size, makes the blokart highly maneuverable and able to be used in small urban areas such as carparks or tennis courts.
They are used for leisure sailing on beaches, parks and airfields in many parts of the world.
Blokart racing is continuing to develop as a competitive international sport, with organised racing including National Blokart Championships now being held in many countries around the world.
The basic blokart including wheels, mast and sail weighs only 29 kg and can be dismantled in a few minutes without tools, and all parts packed into a carry-case. The high degree of portability allows the blokart to be transported by car, or carried as luggage on a plane. Wheels can be replaced with ice blades to allow the blokart to sail on ice. The first Blokart Ice World Championships were staged in Lithuania in 2010.
A side-car accessory or "Shadow" can be added to allow the blokart to carry a passenger.
Blokarts have four standard sail sizes, 2.0m, 3.0m, 4.0m and 5.5m, with sail size choice being dependent on wind strength and weight of the sailor, with heavier sailors requiring larger sails, and smaller sails being more efficient in stronger winds.
Speeds of more than 100 km/hr have been attained on land and up to 130 km/hr on ice. The current Blokart land speed record of 125 km/hr (77.7 mph) was set by Scott Young and Dave Lussier at Lake Ivanpah in Eastern California on Wednesday, 11 April 2018. The record was set on the 2nd lap of the final race of the 2018 North Americans when a Haboob (desert wind storm) came across the racing area.
Social sailing takes part at venues around the world. Some sailing will be organised days by clubs like the Central Blokart Club and there are many other days when owners will just go out sailing at their favourite spot.
When several owners meet up for a sail there is usually a jovial mood with lots of stories and banter. Some of the best days sailing are to be had when you’re just hanging out with friends making the most of a good breeze. Inevitibly even when there is no organised race but several blokarts in the same location there will always be that “I’m not racing but I think I can beat you up there and back” thought in somebodies mind. However, while not the focus of fun days, proper racing can be very rewarding and a great way to improve your sailing.
Blokart racing is a new but fast growing sport administered by the International Blokart Racing Association (IBRA) who sanction events and set the international racing rules.
Recently IBRA put in place some fundamental rules that bring Blokart racing in line with 'The Racing Rules for Sailing'. This was a great step forward as anyone coming in to the sport from any sort of on water sailing can understand the basic rules used - with the exception of nearing race marks and the start, which due to the speeds Blokarts can reach required changes to those specific situations for the purpose of safety.
Although Blokarts meet the qualification standard for mini-yachts under the international FISLY regulations, they are generally sailed in separate regattas organised under the IBRA rules. The lack of changes to the Blokart design from very early days has allowed a “one design” standard to be enforced, and subsequently Blokart racing has spread rapidly throughout the world. National and regional championships are now being contested annually in numerous countries including: USA, Australia, NZ, Britain, Spain, Belgium, France, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Lithuania and the Netherlands
Blokart World Championships have been held biennially since the inaugural event at the home of Blokart in Papamoa, NZ in 2008 as follows;
Year Location Country # Entries
2008 Papamoa New Zealand 94 Pilots
2010 Ostend Belgium 140 Pilots
2012 Ivanpah USA 127 Pilots
2014 Perth Australia 96 Pilots
2016 Ivanpah USA 94 Pilots
2018 Majorca Spain 81 Pilots
2020 Manawatu New Zealand POSTPONED UNTIL 2021
2022 Manawatu New Zealand 135 Pilots
Blokart Racing differs to other land yacht racing which typically has stationary starts and race across the wind on beaches.
Blokart racing has more in common with water based sailing with 2-3 minute dial-up starts and windward/leeward or ‘round the cans’ courses. Racing is held on purpose built tracks, airport runways, parking areas as well as beaches and dry lake beds.
The hand steering allows people with lower-limb disabilities to compete with able-bodied pilots.
Sail selection can prove the difference between winning and losing and is based on pilot weight and the course to be raced. Heavier pilots require larger sails. For tighter courses generally a larger sail size is required to provide the additional acceleration required. For straighter and more open courses a smaller sail provides less drag and therefore greater maximum speed.
Blokarts are raced in two classes – production and performance.
Production - The production class is based on the basic blokart design. In effect, as it comes out of the bag!
Performance - In the performance class additional parts from the manufacturer are allowed such as carbon fibre mast sections and an aerodynamic shell, adjustable downhaul and modification of the sail battens to alter the shape of the sail. New Blokart components must be sanctioned by IBRA and available to purchase from the Blokart Dealer network for a minimum of 3 months before they can be used for racing.
Depending on number of entries at events Blokart Classes are further broken down into weight divisions determined by the body-weight of the racer. This keeps racing even tighter with no advantage based on a pilots weight in any given conditions.
For the blokart world championships the 4 following divisions have been defined:
Lightweight Division: Less than 70 kg
Middleweight: From 70 kg to less than 82.5 kg
Heavyweight: From 82.5 kg to less than 95 kg
Super Heavyweight: 95 kg and greater
There is generally no differentiation of blokart racers on the basis of age or gender, although event organisers may recognise junior sailors with additional age based results.
How To Get Involved
Please feel free to contact us via the Reach Out section and we'll get back to you.
If you would like to come along and sail with us or maybe just know more about what Blokart sailing is all about and how to get involved let us know and we'll get in touch.
We would love to hear from you.