While a portion of Emirates Team New Zealand is busy preparing for the America’s Cup set to take place on the water, another part of the team is preparing and hoping for no water as it takes another run at the Wind-powered Land Speed World Record.
Their land yacht “Horonuku” (Maori for ‘gliding swiftly across land‘) has been in storage waiting for the rain gods to relax and allow Lake Gairdner, the vast 160 km (99 mi) long and 50 km (13 mi) wide salt lake to dry out.
So far this year, the state of South Australia has seen much-needed but unprecedented rainfall hampering the team’s efforts to attack the current record.
In early November, the team was encouraged by forecasted winds of 25-35 knots (46.3 – 64.8 kp/h or 28.7 – 40.2 mph) but soon learned that water on the surface of the lake bed would force them to regroup in the coming weeks. That brings us to the plans this weekend as the team will head back out onto the lake and give it another go.
The team hopes to spend the next couple of weeks at the hopefully dry lake to inch closer to the 200 kp/h (124.27 mph) mark. To break the current record, which stands at 202.9 kp/h (126 mph), Horonuku would have to travel at 205 kp/h (127.38 mph) over the course of three seconds.
Emirates Team New Zealand’s Glenn Ashby told Sail-World “We have been up to just shy of 160km/h on non-ideal surface so far. We know we cannot break records on a damp surface so we need it to be dry and we certainly will be monitoring that in the coming weeks to make sure we are here ready to go when that surface is prepared for us. It will dry out.”
The same design, engineering, and building talent that was used to create the team’s AC75 hydrofoil worked on the Horonuku with testing, beginning in July of this year.