Emirates Team New Zealand, Project Speed: a record of the records
World records are not broken every day, nor are they ever easy to achieve, but when they are there is usually a stringent process of verification that any attempt must go through.
While the recent World record for the oldest tandem parachute jump by 103 year old Rut Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson (Sweden) was verified by Guinness World Records, the Wind Powered Land Speed World Record has two governing bodies. There's NALSA, (North American Land Sailing Association) and there's also FISLY (International Land and Sand Yachting Federation).
Pilot Glenn Ashby has been working away in the background organising the required processes to ensure any attempt at the world record will be officially recognised.
“Both of those associations (NALSA & FISLY) can effectively ratify the result.” explained Ashby.
Everything needs to be checked off by the official measurer that we will have on site. That judge, if you like, will also oversee the timing equipment and make sure that everything's above board. We use a GPS system, a timing and a tracking system and there cannot be any stored energy as such in the craft. So every function that you do, whether it be steering or trimming the wing, all needs to be direct drive and provided only by human power. So all things being equal, we should have everything set up really well.“
For Ashby, as the pilot at record breaking speeds that will need to exceed 202.9km/h, his control is not much more than a two finger operation on a lever, some foot pedal pumps and some small steering adjustments when the craft is going really, really fast.
It isn’t just the craft itself that has stringent rules around it, the surface that ‘Horonuku’ will sail on is also restricted.
“The wind powered land speed record absolutely needs to be done on a natural surface. So it cannot be a tar sealed road or anything like that.