Victory now or there’s no victory later

Published on May 19th, 2022

Before America’s Cup defender Emirates Team New Zealand gets to splash their AC75 for the 37th America’s Cup, they are pursuing a pet project to break the Wind Powered Land Speed World Record.

Whereas the current record held by Britain’s Richard Jenkins, whose ‘Greenbird’ land yacht hit 202.9 km/h in 2009, was more of a garage approach, the Kiwi effort is at the highest imaginable scale. Named Horonuku, it means gliding swiftly across land. Horo means fast or swift movement and nuku is connected to over earth or land.

If they don’t shatter the record, they might as well give back the Auld Mug now, as there is no need to wait to 2024 for their defeat. With their skill and design tools, anything but victory on the hard will be unimaginable.

Piloted by Glenn Ashby, the craft has begun its New Zealand based testing phase at the Royal New Zealand Air Force base in West Auckland where Horonuku will be taken through a series of structural and systems tests over the next few weeks.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the design team and the craftsmanship of the production team in creating this amazing craft,” said Ashby, while downplaying their effort. “Richard’s record will not be easy to beat. There is definitely an element of needing the stars to align when achieving a world record like this where you need the conditions on the ground and in the air to be perfect.

“It is our job now over the next month or so, to get as much useful testing as we possibly can done here in Auckland, before we put Horonuku on a ship to Lake Gairdner (in Southern Australia) to continue testing and tuning on the salt lake so we are ready to roll when a weather window comes along.”

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