Sailing on water is one of the slowest—and most popular—forms of locomotion known to sporting man. Sailing on land is one of the swiftest. Although land sailing has been known at least since the time when Cleopatra was trimming Antony's sheets (Egyptian art tells us so), nobody put much vroom into it until California discovered the knack a few years ago. Now there are at least 500 sailors on that state's dry lakes—expanses like El Mirage, site of the photographs on these pages—and a good few in the rest of the world, as well. A small sport, true, but catching on. A man from Van Nuys claims he has clocked more than 71 mph. An editor named Chris Caswell impudently sailed through the automobile traps at Bonneville at 48.49. Just down the lake, say land sailors, is a speed of 100 mph.
Approximately 90% of this country's land sailors ride Chubascos built in Irvine, Calif. by Frank Jayne, a 43-year-old physicist. The craft is named for a hot wind of Lower California. "You don't destroy any countryside," says a Jayneite. "There are no pollutants. But you have that wonderful feeling of wind in your face."
They resemble stunt pilots of the singing-strut era, these land sailors, as they wing over El Mirage at speeds sea sailors never know
But when they settle down on a broad reach (below) or beat to weather (right) the stunt that counts is getting ahead and staying there.