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Project Landspeed: Making the most of every opportunity on Lake Gairdner

by Emirates Team New Zealand 2 Nov 2022 03:30 PDT 11 October 2022
Horonuku - Emirates Team New Zealand's land yacht designed to beat the wind powered land speed world record attempt at South Australia's Lake Gairdner © Emirates Team New Zealand

After an enforced break over the past week for the Project Land Speed team at Lake Gairdner they are back on location making the most of every vital window that becomes available to get more speed runs in.

It has not been an easy time watching a seemingly regular schedule of precipitation continue to maintain moisture on the lake surface, but as Glenn Ashby explains that as frustrating as the unpredictability is with the conditions, they are extremely dynamic and can change in front of your eyes for the positive.

“We have had about four days where we have had a little bits of rain which unfortunately puts more water back on the lake each time. Just as it appears to dry out, it seems to rain again which is a bit of bad luck.”

All has not been idle, with ‘Horonuku’ tweaked and tuned and on round the clock standby for any small chances of a sail to appear to keep progressing developments closer and closer to the world record target.

“We have done some tail plane adjustments to start to be able to self-start on our own, which is part of the rule. You cannot tow start, but it can be push started by humans as a requirement of the world record.

To break the record, we need an average speed over 3 seconds for over 205km/h. That’s about 1 mile an hour over the current record of 202.9km/h. So every run that we can progress any km/h closer to that is positive progress.”

The hard part has just been getting any runs.

“There is still a bit of water on the surface of the lake now, but we are finding some dry patches. The salt is literally drying before our eyes, the water is evaporating, and we found some nice little runways to get out there to do a few runs which has been fantastic.

We have had some very puffy and shifty breeze, anything from 10 knots through to 20 knots. We were hoping for more like 20 knots and above. But the runs we did do probably went through 10 knots puff and lull so very difficult to know exactly what you are in when driving as there can be 10 knots difference at times, but we learned heaps.” Said Ashby

As if to not make this challenge any easier, the next few days are both highly promising and frustrating again.

“We have some really great breeze forecast getting up from mid to high 20’s into mid 30 knots which is precisely the wind we want to get the speeds up towards those record speeds. But, and there always seems to be a but, there is more rain in the forecast also.

So as usual we are on full standby for any windows to sail, no matter how short they maybe to make the most of every chance we get.” said Ashby ever the optimist.

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