The first competitions
The sand-yacht had entered into the air of time.
Everyone experiences at best the solidity of the wheels, the lightness of the sail, its shape also. The first official race will take place in De Panne in the summer of 1909.
"For Julien Michez," recalls Willy Coppens in a book of memories, Benjamin Dumont, the sailor of the family, built a small tank of the "Dumont" model , With four wheels of bicycle and a reduced sail of 4m ². It was a homogeneous whole, well proportioned, so happy that Michez won the first race of sailboats ever raced in the world. He gained it with a dismantled direction, his cable having broken, grasping the frame of the steering wheels with his hands.
It was a race against the clock, running in a straight line, wind in the back, because only the three tanks mounted on tires were able to go up the wind.
"(Willy Coppens, Sailing Tanks, Editions Erel S.P.R.L., 1976).
The famous aviator Louis Blériot, who made the first aerial crossing of the Channel, popularized in his way this means of sports locomotion around 1911, inventing the word "airplane".
The press, always in search of heroes, took possession of it and invested it with the title of "inventor of the system", in one of these shortcuts of which it has the secret.
The model built by Blériot in his factory is inspired in reality by existing Dumont models, but improved thanks to a tubular chassis and a wide wheelbase.
The whole is solid, but a little heavy. His tests on the beach of Hardelot allow him, according to his estimates, to reach in high wind speeds of 100 and even 110 km / h.
Under the impulse of the aviator, multiple races began to organize in France.
Berck-sur-Mer, then Hardelot, in July 1913, knew the ambition of major international competitions, bringing together dozens of Belgian and French competitors mounted on different types of sailboats. Technical research is developing all over the place, but it is still very artisanal.
In addition to the Dumont and Bleriot sailing chariots, there are also in the north tanks signed by Clarysse, Ledure, the Guillon brothers, Armand Nagelmackers, etc.
In Royan, in 1912, Jules Moine, a mechanic in cycles and automobiles, designs a two-seater and three-wheeled airplane for his children.
For this, it uses an assembly of tubes for the manufacture of bicycle frames. He took part in the first two events held on the Grande Conche beach, opposite the casino, and won one of them.
Henri Demoury, the innovator
After the war of 1914-1918, another French enthusiast came to restart this beautiful sports mechanic: Henri Demoury, engineer of Arts and Crafts.
Combining his qualities as a technician, an attentive observer and an athlete, he creates a rational and stable sailing chariot, which proves to be very effective in competition, allowing him to rank first in De Panne, before a team of specialists.
This is the beginning of a successful career as a builder and driver.
The great leap forward of the sand yacht is from the fifties.
Le Touquet, Berck and Fort-Mahon become the privileged places of those who seek the sensations of speed on the sand. We organize European championships where France knows how to stand out in 1962 by taking first place by team.
In 1964, the French Sailing Federation was born. In 1965, Pierre Demoury, son of Henry and creator of "La Banane" became European champion.
Its tank, star of the Class 1, is a carés lozenge, with a rear wheel and front synchronized for the steering and two side wheels for stability.
A slotted mast for a battened sail and Tergal, a double steering wheel, one for steering and the other for sailing, complete this magnificent sail.
The arrival of the DN (originally from Detroit News) revived the interest in the tank, especially since these were small, light and easy to build.
To facilitate competitions and reduce risks, categories are created and the first championships by sailing class are born in 1967. DNs are part of Class 2.
The era of raids
Christian Nau, a very media-like rider and a great burglar, is one of the participants in an unusual raid: 2,500 kilometers across the Sahara between Colomb-Béchar (Algeria) and Nouakchott (Mauritania). Organized by General Jean du Boucher in 1967, this first trans-Saharan regatta was followed two years later by the "Cruise of the oases", between Laghouat and El Goléa, carried out on sailing chariots built by Pierre Demoury.
Conquered by the desert, Christian Nau prepares a solo expedition that takes him from Zouerate (Mauritania) to Dakar Senegal. 1,500 kilometers of sand and pebbles, which prove how much the sand yacht is capable of adapting