New Zealanders speed along at 222 km/h under sail. It is the new speed record


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Aboard the sailing prototype “Horonuku,” the New Zealand team led by Glenn Ashby set a new land speed sailing record by touching 222.4 kilometers per hour. But the “Kiwis” are convinced, “He can do even better.”

Passion for challenges and desire to experiment with new technological solutions. These are the basics of the “Horonuku” project, Team New Zealand’s land sailing prototype that broke a new land speed record last Dec. 11. This kind of futuristic sail chariot whose name in the Maori language means precisely “gliding fast over the earth” touched 222.4 kilometers per hour. A staggering speed that far surpassed the previous record of 202.9 kilometers per hour set in 2009 by British engineer Richard Jenkins.

Insane speed despite capricious weather

Piloting “Horonuku” on South Australia’s Gairdner Salt Lake was Australian sailor Glenn Ashby, a silver medalist at the 2008 Olympics and currently competing with Team new Zealand in the America’s Cup. “The team and I are obviously thrilled to have sailed up Horonuku at a higher speed than ever before, driven only by the wind,” said Ashby immediately after the feat, “but we know this craft can do even better when we get more wind and better conditions. The Australian prototype’s new record came during a window of good weather, after a frustrating few months in which heavy rains often caused delays to various tests. “With rain in the surrounding area and diminishing wind in the forecast, we were traveling on a tightrope,” Ashby added.

horonuku speed record

Getting ahead of the times in technology is the team’s challenge

Horonuku is a 14-meter, rigid-wing prototype with no engine. The design was developed by Team New Zealand immediately after winning the 36é America’s Cup. “Ihe speed record project was a new opportunity to push the boundaries of aerodynamics, structural forces, construction methods and materials – explains Matteo de Nora, director of Team New Zealand-what is often underestimated is that the technologies we explore in challenges like this, or in an America’s Cup campaign, ultimately underpin the technology of tomorrow. Getting ahead of the times in technology is what is fascinating about all the challenges our team has faced so far.”

Now Horonuku’s new record only awaits certification by the World Landsailing Organization governing body before officially going down in the annals of sailing speed history.




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