Technology: New world record for sailing land speed


TechnologyNew world record for land speed sailing

A New Zealand sand yacht reached a speed of 222.4 km/h. The record has not yet been confirmed by the International Sand Yacht Federation.

Horonuku sand yacht.


A New Zealand-based sailing team announced on Monday that it broke the world land speed record for a vehicle using wind power, reaching 222.4 km/h in Australia. The aerodynamic machine, called “Horonuku” – which means “to glide quickly over the ground” in Maori – was piloted by Glenn Ashby, a member of the New Zealand team at the America’s Cup.

On-board computers recorded a speed well above the previous land record of 202.9 km/h set by British engineer Richard Jenkins in 2009. This new feat has yet to be verified by the International Sand Yachting Federation (FISLY) before it could be confirmed as a record.

“The team and I are obviously delighted to have made Horonuku sail faster than anyone has ever done before – powered entirely by the wind,” said Ashby, adding that “more wind and better conditions” would improve this performance. Team principal Matteo de Nora claimed the record time was the result of improved aerodynamics, construction methods and materials.

Preparation for the next America’s Cup

The Auckland-based team have tackled the land speed record as part of their preparations to defend their America’s Cup title. The queen of ocean sailing will take place in Barcelona in 2024. “What is often underestimated is that the technologies we explore in challenges like this – or in a European Cup campaign America – are ultimately the basis of tomorrow’s technology ,” Matteo de Nora pointed out.

The high speeds achieved by Glenn Ashby on a salt flat in South Australia on Sunday evening came in a spell of good weather after several frustrating months in which heavy rain often caused delays at the test site.

“With rain around and less wind in the forecast, we were on a tight leash,” says Australian-born Glenn Ashby, a silver medalist in sailing at the 2008 Olympics. “A result like that without a good team around you and a little help from Mother Nature,” he continued. . Glenn Ashby is confident that Horonuku can go even faster in 2023, after a Christmas break and once the predicted period of low winds has passed.


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