Team New Zealand take land yacht past 200kph

Team New Zealand have hit a new landmark in their quest to break the wind-powered land speed record, pushing their radical land yacht past 200kph in testing.

After needing to put their development program on hold because of frustrating water on the salt bed of Lake Gairdner after unseasonal rain in South Australiathe America’s Cup champions returned to action over the weekend and made the most of ideal conditions.

They need to eclipse the 202.9kph set by Britain’s Rickard Jenkins in 2009, and it appears their craft named Horonuku has that well within its potential.

Team New Zealand pilot Glenn Ashby is getting increasingly comfortable with the high speeds of Horonuku.

EMIRATES TEAM NZ

Team New Zealand pilot Glenn Ashby is getting increasingly comfortable with the high speeds of Horonuku.

With a forecast of 40-degree temperatures and southwest winds pushing beyond 20 knots on Sunday, pilot Glenn Ashby and his team were able to show their true potential at last.

READ MORE:
* Watch: Team NZ land yacht hits 156kph in moderate breeze
* Team NZ speed junkie gets dream assignment
* Team New Zealand’s radical world speed record attempt

“That was awesome. Finally to be able to drive on a dry surface and a decent amount of runway just makes a huge difference. It’s a totally different craft to sail. I feel like I’m getting through the gearbox now,” Ashby said.

“We could see the clouds changing and wind starting to build, which it did pretty quickly, so we were ready to go.

“The breeze kicked in, and we were straight into it. The guys gave me a push start and pretty much the best breeze we saw was in the first two runs.

“The first run we had about 20 knots, and we got up to 190kph.”

Ashby gybed straight into his second run as the breeze got up to 22-23 knots, and Horonuku kicked on further.

“Just the slightest increase in wind pressure and the speeds kept clocking up. So we were happy to be able to get over 200kph,” Ashby said.

Emirates Team NZ

“Horonuku” looks slick on Whenuapai runway test.

That was the peak of the breeze, but Ashby got in another 10 runs in a very stable 17 knots to complete the day.

Team New Zealand described it as “the most positive session for the land speed team so far”, after launching this bold bid in the wake of their successful 2021 America’s Cup defense in Auckland.

They are not yet about timing under official supervision as will be required to ratify their world record attempt.

Ashby says they are still identifying elements that can be improved to increase performance to be able to achieve the best speeds possible.

Team New Zealand's land yacht Horonuku is reaching the speeds needed for their wind powered land speed world record attempt in South Australia.

EMIRATES TEAM NZ

Team New Zealand’s land yacht Horonuku is reaching the speeds needed for their wind powered land speed world record attempt in South Australia.

“The steering was tough work,” Ashby admitted, pointing out an area that will need more attention.

“There is constantly a lot of load on the steering, so this is the main focus to identify solutions to lighten that load as this will help with performance.

“From 90-95 true wind angle, which is where I am building vital speed, it was really heavy. But as soon as I bear away though, the steering wheel is neutralized and unloaded and goes very light and floaty.

“So to be able to build speed more efficiently and effortlessly will help in reaching higher speeds before the bear away.”

Team New Zealand sailing coach Ray Davies, who is also on the ground at Lake Gairdner now, is clear on what the next few days sailing objectives need to be in similar wind conditions.

“We probably won’t be sailing in record-breaking breeze, but certainly there will be enough to get into those top end speeds, so we need to keep pushing our configurations to be getting the most out of Horonuku.

“Also a key element is just getting as much time as possible in that 200kph zone that Glenn becomes more and more comfortable, so when he needs to make a push to the maximum speed he can, he is not completely out of his comfort zone. “

While they continue to develop while they wait for prime wind conditions, Ashby pleasingly felt his new speeds in Horonuku come without too much surprise.

“It was exactly as I have been picturing it in my head and how I expected it to be at those speeds,” Ashby said.

“There is plenty going on, but I am 100% comfortable to keep hanging on and sending it until it taps out. It is bloody awesome.”

Leave a Comment