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Project Landspeed: Horonuku goes back into the shed for a couple of weeks

by Emirates Team New Zealand 8 Nov 2022 23:56 PST 9 November 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

Lake Gairdner - 9th November 2022

With the team poised to make the most of the 25-35 knot winds on Lake Gairdner this week, the party has once again been spoilt by surface water that has moved onto the designated sailing area of the lake.

A very disappointed Land Speed team have therefore decided to put ‘Horonuku’ back in the shed for a couple of weeks to have a break while allowing more time for the surface to dry out in the increasing temperatures.

Ashby who has been like a coiled spring waiting to get Horonuku out there for a high-speed attempt said, “It’s pretty brutal to have to put the program on a temporary hold at the moment, but as you can see there is water in the lake.

We have been pushing really hard out here, but as it turns out you couldn’t have picked a worse time to try to do a Wind powered Land Speed World Record attempt on a dry lake.

This year in Australia has been unbelievably wet, the whole central and east coast of Australia has been absolutely hammered with rain- unprecedented rain. The rainfall has broken records since records have begun.”

Although it is anticipated to only be a two week hold, Ashby is always one to keep things in perspective.

“We have dealt with the weather for our whole lives, so this is nothing new with what we do. But what has happened with this rain to a lot of farms, a lot of houses and a lot of people being displaced, for us you have to keep it all in perspective.”

“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."

Stay tuned and watch the weather maps.

Lake Gairdner - 5th November 2022

It has been a stop start sort of a week for Glenn Ashby and the team as the hustle continues out on Lake Gairdner. One eye on the weather models and forecasts on the computer screens, another on the salt surface as the wind and water come and go.

The fronts continue to come through with good breeze but it persistently has rain mixed with it. So the opportunities for a sail remain few and far between, but the valuable lessons continue.

“Even the short few windows we have had over the past few days have been both interesting and rewarding. Literally with only a 30 minute sailing opportunity, some of the things we thought about here in New Zealand through the design process have changed due to what is being learned.” explained Sean Regan.”

“Every minute that Glenn is out there his understanding for how the craft feels and performs is growing so every night he's coming back with changes and tweaks that are actually going to be performance gains for us.”

A big area of importance has been moving away from using tow testing to get Horonuku up to speed by being towed by one of the Toyota Land cruisers, to self-starting explained Regan, “You're allowed to give him a push and with that, he is off and then he starts learning how to sail laps on his own.

How big the laps are, are becoming increasingly dictated by the water still in motion across the lake.

“As he builds momentum through those laps, he's then pushing into a run at a lot higher speeds and that's ultimately what he's looking to do for the record run. I think really the thing now is pushing that top in speed and we've just got to be patient.”

It is a quieter few days ahead with light breezes expected so the tireless shore crew of Buddi, James and Tim continue to work on Horonuku in the lake side workshop. The forecast is for some bigger breeze on Tuesday being targeted as the next sailing day. The question is yet again, how much rain will be mixed with that wind?

Time and patience will tell.

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