Emirates Team New Zealand’s land yacht pilot Glenn Ashby reflects on the first week of testing on ‘Horonuku’ ahead of their Wind Powered Land Speed World Record attempt later this year.
We have just completed a successful week of testing at Whenuapai Air Base. With the assistance of the RNZDF we have been able to run Horonuku up to nearly maximum load and complete our main structural and component checks. 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.
Obviously, runways are set up (the way they are) for a reason it’s a bit like learning to sail an AC75 down a 60m wide marina arm in 15-30kts of breeze! Needless to say, space is your friend with this craft and we’re looking forward to getting it to the desert to let it breath so we can take the next steps with set up and tuning.
Our goal for the remainder of the time Horonuku will be in NZ (next week) 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 June.