Video: ETNZ turns America’s Cup engineering to land power

Horonuku Horonuku

Emirates Team New Zealand says it has just completed a successful week of testing its wind powered land speed craft at Whenuapai Air Base, prior to moving it to Australia.

“It’s a bit like learning to sail an AC75 down a 60m wide marina arm in 15-30 knots of breeze,” says Glenn Ashby ETNZ, bemoaning lack of space on a runway. “Needless to say, space is your friend with this craft and we’re looking forward to getting it to the desert to let it breathe so we can take the next steps with set up and tuning.”

This is all part of the team’s quest to beat the wind-powered land speed record of 202.9 kilometers/hour set in 2009 by Richard Jenkins onboard his Greenbird in the US. ETNZ’s partnered with composite specialists Southern Spars NZ (Auckland, New Zealand) and has been developing the project since February – looking at challenges including weight, and more, as reported in MIN.

“With the assistance of the Royal New Zealand Air Force we have been able to run Horonuku up to nearly maximum load and complete our main structural and component checks,” says Ashby. “Out of the box Horonuku has worked extremely well and is a credit to all those involved. We have sailed in 15 – 30 knots and have been in excess of 140kmph.

“The weather conditions and wind angle have not been ideal unfortunately, very gusty and shifty which has made for some tricky runs. However, we have managed to learn many valuable lessons, quickly identifying some tuning and handling issues that we can work on to improve performance.

“Our goal for the remainder of the time Horonuku will be in NZ is to implement small changes to the steering geometry and wing ballast then tow/sail hopefully on Wednesday to verify changes.

“We will also adjust Horonuku to the short setting and do a series of runs on this configuration and then test with the slick rear tyres which will complete the testing phase here in NZ.

“We hope to have completed all testing by this coming Friday. Obviously, being able to complete any necessary works here in NZ before our departure is very beneficial to the project.

“Shipping is booked – fingers crossed we’re outta here on 9 Jun.”

The team has allowed five weeks for shipping, which puts it in Australia in the second week of July where it’ll be trucked out to the venue and set up in the Australian desert. The record attempt location is Lake Gairdner, the vast salt lake in South Australia which naturally creates a very fast and flat runway.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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