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Sahara Sailing
Color Picture, second prize stories


Land sailing, also known as 'sand yachting' or 'land yachting', is the act of moving across land in a wheeled vehicle powered by wind through the use of a sail. The term comes from analogy with (water) sailing. Historically, land sailing was used as a mode of transportation or recreation. Since the 1950s, it has evolved primarily into a racing sport.

Vehicles used in sailing are known as sail wagons, sand yachts, or land yachts. They typically have three (sometimes four) wheels and function much like a sailboat, except that they are operated from a sitting or lying position and steered by pedals or hand levers. Land sailing works best in windy flat areas, and races often happen on beaches, airfields, and dry lake beds in desert regions. Modern land sailors, generally known as "pilots", can go three to four times faster than the wind speed. A gust of wind is considered more beneficial in a land sailing race than a favorable windshift. A similar sport, known as ice yachting, is practiced on frozen lakes and rivers. Another variation is the Whike, which combines land sailing with bicycling and can therefore also be used in everyday traffic because it does not fully depend on wind.

Commissioned by: Life

Photo Credit: Co Rentmeester

Dutch/American photojournalist Co Rentmeester (Amsterdam 1936) was an Olympic rowing champion, reaching an honorable fifth place at the 1960 Olympic Summer Games in Rome, before turning his attention to photography. After ending his rowing career, Rentmeester emigrated to the United States to study photography at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. After his graduation, he drew immediate attention with his coverage of the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles for Life magazine. In 1966, Rentmeester became a staff photographer at Life magazine, which sent him to the war in Vietnam. His image of a US tank commander became World Press Photo of the Year in 1967, the first color photo ever awarded this prize. After he was seriously injured by a sniper shot in May 1968, he returned to the US. Back home, he started working for magazines such as Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, People, Stern and the New York Times Magazine. In 1972, Co Rentmeester became Magazine Photographer of the Year and his photo of Olympic Gold swimmer Mark Spitz was awarded the 1st prize in World Press Photo’s sports category. Rentmeester is also a very successful commercial photographer, who worked on such well known campaigns as Marlboro and Nike Air.

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