Having been inspired to use salty landscape as a setting by a segment on a science documentary featuring land sailing, I decided to look into the sport. Lake Lefroy was a long way from home – off the beaten track, as they say – so I looked closer to home and found the Victorian Blokart Association. I contacted them and on a wet and windy day headed into country Victoria to see what I could find out.
I found a small group of dedicated blokarters gathered under an awning by a disused section of a country airfield. They looked a bit bemused by my explanation that I was writing a Doctor Who story and wanted to include blokarts, but soon one of the guys, David, invited me to watch him assemble one of the carts.
Blokarts are smaller craft than land yachts, developed in New Zealand and growing ever more popular worldwide. They’re compact and light enough that they come, disassembled, in a carry bag even I could manage to lift easily, and fit in the back of a Mini (or any car, really, but since I drive a Mini and this did look like a lot of fun, I was particularly interested to note the size in relation to my car).
The blokart came together quickly and easily, then David suggested I have a sail. A helmet was found, and gloves, and next thing I was having a quick, basic lesson. And a quick lesson was all it took before I was zipping… well, okay I was trundling along over the grass, which keeps the speed manageable for beginners… along having enormous fun.
It was very easy to sail – just a steering wheel and a rope to manipulate – and if you need to slow down or stop you turn the sail into the wind and/or head for a resistant surface like grass. You don’t have to be fit or strong, so it’s an all-ages sport that’s accessible to people with disabilities. And did I mention it was fun?
A few weeks later I headed south to another meet designed to allow people to give blokarting a try. It was quiet at first, so I was able to zoom around a track for about twenty minutes. I found I liked the mental challenge of angling the sail to best catch the wind, as well as the sudden boost of speed when you get it right and the wind picks up.
I am very tempted to buy one, but at the moment I wouldn’t be able to get to the meets, as I got myself a persistent case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot late last year and the Mini is a manuel. Still, the blokarting itself wouldn’t be a problem.
So I’d like to say thanks to all the blokarters who generously answered all my weird questions or let me have a go on their blokarts: David, Russell, Brenton, Bran, Tim and more.
Victorian Blokart Association
Blokart New Zealand – the CEO is the guy who invented blokarts
Some videos to show how awesome and accessible it is here and here.
This stylish video shows assembly and sailing.
A longer video featuring the inventor.