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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 September 2007, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Sand yacht championships to start
Sand yachts at Hoylake
Eight countries are being represented at the championships
Sand yachting enthusiasts are set to descend on Merseyside for the start of the European Sandyacht Championship on Hoylake beach.

More than 100 pilots from eight countries will race across the sands at speeds of up to 60mph.

Wirral Sandyacht Club is hosting the tournament, which runs from Monday through to Friday.

Wirral Mayor, Councillor Phil Gilchrist, attended the opening ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

France is sending the largest group of competitors to the championships, but Belgium, Sweden, Argentina, Switzerland and Germany are also taking part in the tournament together with representatives from Ireland and Britain.

Speed record

Event organiser Vaughan Williams said: "Next year's world championship is taking place in Argentina so they are sending three pilots and the president of their federation to see how we run the competition in Europe."

Racing takes place between 1000 BST and 1700 BST with prizes awarded at the end of each day's competition.

In June sand yachting enthusiasts smashed a global endurance record at Hoylake's Wirral Sand Yacht Club (WSYC) by sailing kite buggies for 24 hours.

Despite bad weather hampering the race for four hours, 12 international teams beat the current record of 197 miles (317km) to create a new record of 639km (397 miles).

In order to race in the dark, each buggy was fitted with navigation lights and a triangular clockwise course was set up during the night.

The teams raised money for charity, including the RNLI at Hoylake and the North West Air Ambulance.

Sand yacht distance record beaten
24 Jun 07 |  Merseyside
Beach hosts 24-hour buggy event
22 Jun 07 |  Merseyside
Thousands flock for kite surfing
12 Sep 05 |  North West Wales

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