Land Yachts

Aren’t land yachts amazing?

They can be pushed along at very high speeds by nothing more than the wind.

The odd thing is that they can actually go faster than the wind itself!

How can that be possible?


All you need to build a land yacht which can be pushed along by a light breeze or the wind from a simple desk fan is a basic vehicle chassis and a sail!

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Making a simple 3 wheeler land yacht

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Parts list:
3 wheels
Drinking straw mast
Wooden dowel axles
Wheel bearings
Axle clips
Card sail

Fit the smooth plastic tube bearings into the middles of the wheels

Fit the axles into the slits in the chassis

Fit the wheels onto the axles and add axle clips to the ends of the back axle to keep the wheels on. Take care not to squash the wheels by using too much force when you do this!!!

Fit the straw through the holes in the card sail

Fit the mast into the hole in the chassis taking care not to push down too much on the wheels.

The land yacht is very light-weight so it moves very easily in a light breeze or with the wind generated by a desk fan.

You can experiment with different size, shape and number of sails - see below for more detail.

It’s great fun designing a body for the land yacht. You could make a novelty body or streamlined body in which the sail and body were part of the same structure - how is that possible?

Science Investigations

Land yachts can provide a great introduction to ‘investigating’ in science.

Even very young pupils (reception class) can suggest things to do which might affect the performance of the land yacht.

It’s all about ‘cause and effect’.

The starting point is simply observing the land yachts being blown along by a desk fan and then asking...

Will the one with the blue sail or the one with the red sail go the fastest?

Does the colour of the sail matter?

Is there a better way of finding an answer than guessing?

Does the size of the sail make a difference?

Does the shape of the sail make a difference

Does two sails on the same mast make a difference

Do straight sails or ‘angled’ sails make a difference?


Simple changes can be made and the land yachts tried repeatedly to try and find out the answers.

Reasons can then be put forward as to why things happen the way they have discovered.

The wind can push things.

Larger (wider, taller) objects get more of a push etc. etc.


Happy Land Yachting!


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