The New Zealand team has set a new wind powered land speed record, which is now awaiting ratification from the body who oversees the record books

Emirates Team New Zealand and Land speed pilot Glenn Ashby have sailed their land yacht Horonuku, faster than any previous records, clocking in at 222.4kph on Monday 12 December and will now await ratification of their new land speed record by international governing body FISLY (Federation Internationale de Sand et Land Yachting).

The America’s Cup team announced their intention to take on a the wind powered land speed record after their victory in the last America’s Cup, taking advantage in the lull in the Cup sailing cycle. It was something of a passion project for Team New Zealand skipper, Glenn Ashby, who threw himself into the idea while unable to leave Australia and go to New Zealand due to covid travel restrictions.

Ashby was clearly happy with the record run, but also tempered with the knowledge that Horonuku can go much faster. “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. But in saying that we know Horonuku has a lot more speed in it when we get more wind and better conditions” he said.

“So for sure there is a cause for a celebration, but this isn’t the end. From initial idea and the beginning of this world record attempt, which was pushed and supported by Grant Dalton, Matteo de Nora and the rest of the team at Emirates Team New Zealand, the objective has never been about just beating the record, it has always been about pushing things to the limit and going as fast as we possibly can. We know we can go faster, so we plan to.”

The wind powered land speed record, which the team has just (as yet unofficially) beaten has stood for an astonishing 13 years, having been set back in 2009 by British innovator Richard Jenkins in his custom built land yacht, Greenbird.

His record-setting run to set a new wind powered land speed record saw him record 126.1 mph (202.9 km/h) in the Ecotricity-sponsored solid wing-sailed land yacht, Greenbird – the fifth iteration of the craft that he had built over the many years it took him to break the record.

Now the team has passed the previous record speed and is confident that with more wind Horonuku has the ability go even faster, the team will take a break and await a perfect forecast to have another run.

In the absence of any more breeze in the foreseeable future and Christmas just around the corner that is likely to come in 2023.

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