The Wing That Propelled Emirates Team NZ Into The Record Books


The news broke on Sunday 11th December that Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) had broken the world wind-powered land speed record by sailing their purpose-built land yacht ‘Horonuku’ at an incredible 222.4 km/h across the Lake Gairdner salt flats in South Australia. The record has now been officially ratified by the World Land Sailing Organisation, Federation International de Sand et Land Yachting (FISLY).

NEW speed record
222.4 km/h

NEW record holder
Emirates Team NZ with ‘Horonuku’

NEW record piloted by
Glenn Ashby

NEW record location
Lake Gairdner, Australia, 2022

Previous speed record
202.9 km/h

Previous record holder
Ecotricity with ‘Greenbird’

Previous record piloted by
Richard Jenkins

Previous record location
Lake Ivanpah, Mojave, California, 2009

The moment ETNZ blasted into the record books

The team at Southern Spars New Zealand were heavily involved in this record-breaking mission, with Horonuku’s composite wing being manufactured at our facility in Auckland. The wing, effectively the engine of this 100% wind-powered craft, is 10 metres tall and made from prepreg carbon fibre. Emirates Team New Zealand harnessed Southern Spars’ expertise in high-performance composite manufacturing to develop the wing structure, which was cured at high pressure in one of Southern Spars’ largest advanced autoclaves. The team at SSNZ spent around 2,000 hours meticulously laying up and curing the wing, designed to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

We caught up with Glenn Ashby who was behind the wheel when ‘Horonuku’ made history:

“Emirates Team New Zealand are always motivated to push the boundaries of what can be done. So, when approaching this wind powered land speed world record attempt, we needed a visionary partner with the best facilities available to make this pipe dream a reality. Having worked with Southern Spars on multiple AC campaigns we knew they would deliver, and they absolutely didn’t disappoint, providing the wing that’s propelled us across the salt and into the record books.”

Glenn Ashby, Emirates Team New Zealand

“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.”

Emirates Team New Zealand Principal Matteo de Nora.


“What a ride this campaign has been! It’s been a total pleasure to support our fellow kiwis in achieving this awesome feat and it feels like a momentous victory for us all. It was a huge credit to the team when Emirates Team New Zealand chose us to build the wing, and we knew that we could back it up with our world class facility and highly skilled production team. Clearly, when it comes to harnessing the power of the wind, Southern Spars is the obvious choice!”

Mark Hauser, Founder & Sales Director, Southern Spars


Now that the team has passed the previous record they are confident that with more wind Horonuku has the ability go even faster. They’ll take a well-earned break and await the 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.

To increase the record further, a new speed of greater than 222.87 km/h will be required, which is 0.2% above the established record in accordance with the FISLY rules.

Find out more

Emirates Team New Zealand – Land Speed Project Website

More Project Speed Videos – YouTube Playlist


Southern Spars are custom composite solution providers for a wide variety of applications with experience in engineering high performance parts for challenging environments.

If you have a project that could benefit from Southern Spars composite expertise, please contact [email protected].