Since joining the Bonaire Landsailing Adventures team in 2019, Lennart Felida was on a mission to race blokarts. However, Bonaire lacked suitable practice venues—the landsailing track was too basic, and all the other open, flat terrain was filled with thorns. Undeterred, Lennart immersed himself in sailing theory, watched racing videos, and awaited the opportunity that finally materialised with the European Open Blokart Championships in Llanbedr, Wales in October.
Coastal Wales in October is … wet and cold. But Lennart was prepared with a warm jacket and long pants and a woolly hat and gloves and arrived at the Manchester Airport excited and a bit nervous.
Llanbedr welcomed them at the Snowdonia Airfield, with its formidable hangar famed for hosting Red Bull Barnstorming stunt flying, and became the stage for the racing spectacle. The airport’s runways provided the perfect venue for the blokart competition—sealed, flat, and smooth.
Ninety-one competitors, spanning 14 countries, gathered for the four-day event. Blokart landsailing, a One-Design sport, mandated no modifications to the land yacht. With production and performance classes, each divided into weight divisions, the competition was set out in ten 8-minute races with diverse course configurations and wildly variable wind conditions.
Amidst the camaraderie and anticipation, Lennart, who was competing in the lightweight production category, sized up his global competition during the pilots’ dinner. Entrants from powerhouse nations, world champions, and even blokart inventor Paul Beckett from New Zealand added a layer of prestige to the event. Lennart faced formidable Lithuanian club sailors and a seasoned German contender in his category.
The competition’s kickoff saw challenging conditions—30-knot winds, relentless rain, and a bone-chilling 9 degrees Celsius. Borrowing additional clothing, including a jacket from blokart luminary Paul Beckett, Lennart braved the elements, fulfilling his dream of racing internationally. The first day yielded three races before retreating to accommodations for hot showers, dry clothes and warm, Welsh pub hospitality.
Day two provided friendlier weather—a 15-20 knot breeze and the characteristic drizzle of Wales. Lennart, embracing each race as a learning opportunity, improved his sailing with every start. Post-race debriefs from blokart speed demon Dave Lussier and team leader Andrew Sands propelled Lennart’s improvement, setting the stage for a promising performance.
The final day, amidst light winds and sunshine, posed its own challenges. Lennart, now a seasoned competitor, navigated tricky conditions in three more races, finishing just shy of the podium in fourth place. The prize-giving ceremony made special mention of Lennart, the only participant never to have sailed in a blokart race prior to the event.
JUST THE BEGINNING
The European venture proved to be the planting of a seed. Armed with newfound experience and a thirst for victory (and more travel), Lennart is set to purchase his own blokart, gearing up for the upcoming Caribbean Open Blokart Championships on Bonaire in February. Beyond that, the World Championships in the USA beckon in April, where Lennart envisions once again, representing Bonaire on the grandest stage of them all. As he charts his course, the young Bonairean blokart prodigy has indeed left an indelible mark on the global stage.