Greg Milano's Wheelbarrow Wheel Landyacht




Introduction: Greg Milano's Wheelbarrow Wheel Landyacht

About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...
Greg Milano works with disabled people in Alameda California.
He bought this homebrew landyacht secondhand and has been fixing it up for his clients to use.
It uses wheelbarrow wheels and a windsurfer sail. It carries two people in comfort and comes apart for transport.

In this video the frame twists quite a bit. After that we added two more tubes to triangulate the frame, and it doesn't twist anymore.

Step 1: The Rear Wheels

These are wheels from wheelbarrows with regular wheelbarrow tires and innertubes on them.

They are plenty strong and have no trouble with the side forces.
I guess they were made in America by union workers.
I built a landyacht once using cheap imported Harborfreight wheelbarrow wheels. The hubs broke off the wheels after a few minutes. You'd have to weld some braces onto those wheels to make them strong enough.

These axles are stubby things that insert into the rear aluminum tube. The axle nut has a retaining wire to keep it from spinning off.

The rusty tube seen here is one of two braces we added to triangulate the mast support. After that the frame didn't twist anymore.

Step 2: Front Fork and Wheel

The front wheel is also from a wheelbarrow. It's steered with two pushrods from the footbar.

One of the steering arms had broken off the fork and got lost. I helped Greg bend and weld a new one from stainless rod. While we were at it we reinforced the other steering arm

The pushrods have small balljoints at each end to connect to the fork and the footbar.

Step 3: Rigging the Sail

Greg attaches the boom to the sail.

The sail is a 6.5 square meter windsurfing sail. It's got battens and "camber inducers" which are forks on the end of the battens that push on the mast.

This is a modern sail, which means you use lots of downhaul force and not much outhaul.

Since the downhaul ring is no the landyacht it's a bit different than rigging a windsurfer. You slide the mast over the stub mast and then downhaul the sail until it looks good. "Looks good" means the top of the sail is flat but not slack, and the sail belly is about 7% of chord.

Step 4: Mast Support

This is the most complicated part of the machine. The purpose of these parts are to hold the mast vertical while allowing it to turn freely. If the mast doesn't turn freely the camber inducers jump off the mast and sail shape suffers.

In the second and third photos here I'm showing which parts turn.
I'm grabbing the downhaul ring that's used to downhaul the sail.
The downhaul ring is attached to the stub mast and both turn.
Below that is the mast step. The stub mast fits into the step and is greased so it'll turn.
Above the downhaul ring is a black plastic sleeve over the stub mast. It's free to rotate but it doesn't have to. Above that is the mast support. It's bolted to a couple of tubes that go back to the rear axle.
The mast support looks like it has a fancy bearing in it, but it might just be a plastic ring and some grease.
Above that is the thrust bearing, which is a couple of greased plastic disks. They're pushed up to show what the top of the mast support looks like.

Step 5: Seating Platform

The seating platform is a piece of plywood with a couple of legless lawnchairs u-bolted to it.

Step 6: Frame

The frame has evolved quite a bit.
Originally all the frame pieces came apart with clamps as seen in the third picture, so no piece would be more than 8 feet long.
The rear axle is now reinforced with an aluminum channel.
We added the two rusty steel scaffold tubes to keep the frame from twisting.
When you build your frame use lots of triangles. That's called "triangulation" or "triangulationizitionizing"

It's different from "strangulation" which is what happens when the mainsheet wraps around your neck and then you run over it with the rear wheels.

Step 7: Steering and Sheeting

Steer with your feet.

Mainsheet is tied to the chair middle arms and goes up to a pulley on the end of the boom. Pull with your hands, don't get it around your neck.

Have fun!



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    23 Discussions

    Of course in mant choke holds you are using a version of triangulation and causing strangulation. Just kidding great Job.

    I've been wanting to build one of these for a very long time (ever since I found some basic directions in an old DIY encyclopedia that my great grandpa gave me). I built a model of one based on those directions (only with skis instead of wheels for sailing on ice). I made up my own plans for interchangeable wheels / skis so you can use it all year round! (I'll have to post them on here sometime).

    I'm an avid fan / subscriber (and I went to my first Maker Faire just this summer in Detroit)!!!!!

    I have been involved with landsailers for a long time. I had a Manta-twin for a while and built my own before that. I really wish I had my Manta back. This is an inspiration. Maybe I will build one again.
    This is a good design. I see a bit too much weight but I have also seen landsailers built out of truck frames that moved in low wind while the "performance" carts would not. I think you get away with the low mast supports because your sail is not that tall.

    Because I had a Manta-Twin I tend to compare everything to them. They only weigh 120 lbs and are made out of aircraft aluminum. I have done full 360s and hit close to 60 mph on a Manta-twin. Now if I could just gather up $2600 I could have a new one again.

    Or like this creative fellow I could just build one. Were's my welder?

    this is awesome. how fast have you gotten it up to?

    Is it legal to drive one of these on a highway?

    you know a great place to use it? on the street XD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! jk youd probly get yourself killed

    They are plenty strong and have no trouble with the side forces.
    I guess they were made in America by union workers.

    real classy mate, you know that non-USA people can access the internet too right?

    2 replies

    Then the Chinese overseers should whip the <STRIKE>slaves</STRIKE>   gulag prisoners more often  to remind them they're supposed to be doing good work. 

    echoclerk says:

    real classy mate, you know that non-USA people can access the internet too right?

    Turkish Products are pretty good.ı have a wheelbarrow that takes car-sized wheels!

    I must ask dad if he could help me with something like this, he loves to build things.

    That thing is awesome! It would be cool if you put wide tires on it so you could go fast across the sand.

    imagine an amphibious one? with pontoons were you can sail in water and on the beach? that would be so cool! also good for you for helping the disabled people and giving them somthing that they can do

    Pretty good. Here's a picture of the landsailer I built in about 2003. Similar design but with different proportions and perhaps lighter. The back wheels are plastic wheelbarrow wheels with better bearings. They cost me about AUD$140 and haven't broken yet. I did have to anchor the bearings in place so they wouldn't get pushed out sideways. I use a similar mast support system, It's a piece of exhaust pipe wedged in the mast and free to rotate in a piece of larger tubing. I don't use a sail with camber inducers but the mast rotates well anyway. My rear axle is only 30mm square steel tubing but I've got a dolphin striker style thing supporting it. The stern sprit prevents down-load on the boom. The front end is from a 20" girls frame bike. The wheel is pretty marginal on sand but the weight and sail's CE are pretty far back. I should do an Instructable on this.

    1 reply

    It is nice that you have a land sailing machine, but what exactly are you INSTRUCTing here? To me it looks like yop are just showing different parts of the device.

    1 reply

    I agree. I would like to see a materials list, tools list, design, and step by step puttin' it together stuff. At the same time I will say that I have never had a bigger smile on my face as when I first took off on my Manta built from Popular Science plans from about 1971 or thereabouts. I used go-kart aluminum wheels and worn out, high pressure, small aircraft, tires to reduce rolling friction. I also had a steering wheel on a 2-inch diameter pole with rope and pulleys to control direction - very primitive but very effective. I had some bicycle forks widened and added tangs to knot the rope through. Steering was very effective even though I used nylon rope. If you try using any rope on any sailing device, use polyester (Dacron) so it doesn't stretch. Don't get confused with polyethylene (the yellow floating stuff) - you want polyester. The rope in your hand really should be sailing quality or you should be wearing gloves. Larger diameter rope is much easier to hold and handle. You might also look at the rigging on a Sunfish for ideas to make your life easier. I would still have my Manta if I had a place to store it. The Manta was a little plywood buggy that you could easily use in any parking lot that didn't have bumpers. Way back in the 70s, the malls were closed on weekends so I could use their parking lots. FUN!