Hurray up and wait for landsailing record

Published on October 19th, 2022

In what began as a passion project for the America’s Cup defender, and an opportunity to keep their design team active, is becoming a headache. Their desire to break the land speed sailing record of 126.2 mph set in 2009 is running long on time.

Their craft is ready, their base on Lake Gairdner in South Australia has been ready since August, but the surface of this salt lake has been more wet than dry. Here’s an update from the Kiwi team:


The eternally optimistic pilot Glenn Ashby has been closely monitoring all available rain radars, weather maps and rainfall measures as if counting every rain drop and calculating its accumulation on the salt lake and the required evaporation rates for the next opportunity to get their land yacht Horonuku back out on the lake.

“Unfortunately, we’re just on the edge of a big rain cloud and a system that’s been developing through Western Australia, coming through South Australia and unfortunately intensifying as it moves through to the east,” explained Ashby. “It is putting water in the lake, which is really, really frustrating and disappointing, but that’s the weather.

“It’s an unusual year and unfortunately it looks like we’re going to be having to put up with a bit more water in the lake over the next week or so. We are on standby right now, and as we have always known, at the hands of Mother Nature. This is such a dynamic landscape which is influenced by a variety of different factors it is very difficult to know what the next 7 to 10 days will bring.”

The frustration is felt by everyone in the team, but none more so than Ashby who is 100% focused on keeping the project progressing on and off the lake, rain, hail or shine.

“Right now, we have a good southerly breeze which is forecast to continue for the next few days which is good, as it is has moved a lot of the water to the north. There is still about 10mm on the lake right now and all going well some more warm temperatures and wind can help dry things out very quickly. But then – that can be seen as the glass half full scenario, which is the way I always look at things also.

“To be honest, this is massively frustrating. To have had such good momentum and had the breaks put on by the weather which is out of our control is very tough. But no one said this would be easy. So, it is a true test of patience – unfortunately for me, I am not overly patient in situations like this.”

In the meantime, the reduced crew on the ground are continuing to tidy, modify, and improve Horonuku in the shed out of the rain and inclement weather.

“There are always improvements we can make and keeping the components of Horonuku and all of our equipment for that matter, cleaned and protected from the salt,” said Ashby. “So we are not short of things to keep us occupied.”

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