New Wind Powered Land Speed Record 138.19mph

Congratulations to Team New Zealand

Photo: Emirates Team New Zealand

A new wind-powered land speed world record has been set, smashing a previous record which stood for over 13 years.

Team New Zealand – normally a sailing team – set the new benchmark on its land yacht, named Horonuku, at Lake Gairdner, a long white salt lake in South Australia’s far north.

Pilot Glenn Ashby successfully sailed the team’s wind-powered craft at a speed of 222.4 kilometres per hour on Sunday – in 22 knots of wind.

The time surpasses the standing record of 202.9 kph recorded by Richard Jenkins in the US in March 2009.

“The team and I are obviously buzzing to have sailed Horonuku at a speed faster than anyone has ever before – powered only by the wind,” Ashby said.

“But in saying that, we know Horonuku has a lot more speed in it when we get more wind and better conditions.

“For sure there is a cause for a celebration, but this isn’t the end.

“We know we can go faster, so we plan to.”

Pilot Glenn Ashby said changing wind directions made the attempt difficult.

Before the speed is declared official, it will need to go through a verification process conducted by the international governing body Federation Internationale de Sand et Land Yachting (FISLY).

The team has 48 hours to submit its data to FISLY for the new world record to become ratified.

However, the team had an independent judge on the ground in South Australia to witness and verify the run.

The breakthrough comes after a frustrating few months. It took about 18 months for the team to get to the start line.

Weather conditions, unprecedented rainfall and surface water led to delays in the program.

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Team New Zealand during its first day sailing on Lake Gairdner. The team was also challenged with significant wind direction changes during its attempt over the weekend.

“What originally looked like a good 20-22 knot day all day Saturday ended up not delivering the winds we needed,” Ashby said.

“With rain in the surrounding area, and less wind in the foreseeable forecasts after Sunday, we were running a fine line.

“So, the fact we have managed to thread the needle and do a few record runs is especially satisfying.”

Now that the team has passed the previous record, it is confident Horonuku has the ability go even faster.

They will now take a break and await a perfect forecast to have another run in 2023.

Copyright © 2022, Radio New Zealand


The record was previously held Greenbird on Ivanpah Dry Lake in 2009. It was built by the British engineer Richard Jenkins. Greenbird reached a peak speed of 126.1 mph(202.9 km/h).

Previous 2009 Record

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