Glenn Asbhy, fulfilled his dream. Australian, 45 years old, silver in the Tornado catamaran at the 2008 Beijing Olympics regattas Glenn Ashby with Emirates Team New Zealand has won the America’s Cup twice, the last time at the Auckland 2021 edition and today he is always busy with the Kiwis in the preparation for the defense of the Old Mugh in the 37th America’s Cup scheduled for October 2024 in Barcelona. (Here all our posts about Emirates Team New Zealand)
Glenn Ashby, a dream come true
Da bambino Ashby sognava di essere da grande l’uomo più veloce al mondo spinto solo dal vento. Dal As a child Ashby dreamed of being the fastest man alive pushed only by the wind when he grew up. From 12 December he crowned his dream. Driving a kind of Polynesian proa equipped with wheels and with a knife-like wing sail, he reached a speed of 222.4 km/h. Home of the record, Gairdner Lake, a salt lake in South Australia.
Glenn Ashby and the worldwide record
A race that pulverized the previous record of 2009 and of the Englishman Richard Jenkins who with a similar vehicle, the Greenbird, had reached 202.9 km/h on a salt lake in the Mojave desert. Jenkins achieved his record after ten years of trying. Ashby less than a year. The announcement of the “Land speed” project, the assault promoted by Emirates Team New Zealand and sponsored by Toyota to what is officially called The Wind Powered Land Speed World Record, in February 2022. And immediately the construction of Horomuku began. Horomuku means “glide quickly over the earth”.
A carbon and composite vehicle
Horomuku designed and built in carbon fiber and composites by the Emirates Team New Zealand design team has the main element, the hull, where the cell of the pilot is located who drives with a steering wheel and has pedals to adjust attitude, sail trim and brakes, 14.20 meters long. The rocker arm brings the width of the vehicle to 8.20 metres. Horomuku rests on four wheels: the hull has two twins at the “stern”, a single one at the “bow” and one at the end of the rocker arm. The winged and rigid sail is 11.10 meters high.
Glenn Ashby first tests in August
In August 2022 the first tests in New Zealand on the runway of the Auckland military airport, then the transfer to Australia and on Gairdner Lake which, however, was still covered by a layer of water. We had to wait for the rains to finish and for the lake to dry out: above all, that there was the right wind. In October, the first test launches were soon stopped by the rains.
A long stop until early December when, with improved weather, we returned to the lake. And things go right away. On December 5, Horomuku reaches 190 km/h with 20 knots of wind. “Driving was tough, but here we are” commented Glenn Ashby at the end of the day. The weather stabilized and in the following days Ashby ringed a series of jumps above 180 km/m.
12 December 2022, a date to remember
Then on December 12, the conditions were perfect: 20 knots of wind. Glenn Ashby launches Horomuku and sets record: 222.4 km/h. The GPS system installed on board Horomuku says it that in the two seconds taken into consideration to determine the maximum speed it sends 21 positions with an error of 10 millimetres.
Only the ratification by the International Land and Sandyachting Federation is missing but Glenn Ashby has realized his childhood dream and Matteo De Nora, Team Principal of Emirates team New Zealand, can say that: “The Land speed project has been a new opportunity to push the boundaries in aerodynamics, structural forces, construction methods and materials fields. What is often underestimated is that the technologies we explore in challenges like this- or in an America’s Cup campaign – are ultimately the foundation of tomorrow’s technology. Being ahead of the times in technology is what fascinates about all the challenges faced by the team so far.”