Racing

Speed sailing records smashed on water and land

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On the 26th of March, two separate teams broke both the world water and land sailing speed records independently of each other.

An Australian team sailing the Macquarie Innovation broke their own water speed record set last December at Sandy Point, Victoria, Australia and became the first vessel to complete the official 500m run with an average of over 50 knots. At Ivanpah Lake in California, British engineer Richard Jenkins soared to a blistering 109.58 knots in the Ecotricity Greenbird, becoming the fastest person to travel under wind power. Both teams were thrilled at their accomplishments.

The vehicles are similar in appearance, with a single tall, solid driving wing sail and latitudinal beams that reach out to either side in order to give the boat a wide beam, which in turn translates to power and raw speed. Both took over a decade of hard work and design (along with some mishaps and hiccups along the road to the record books), but even after their victories, neither team shows any sign of stopping. Macquarie Innovation’s victory comes in a series of attempts to push the limits of speed over ground on the water; and Richard Jenkins plans to shift his focus to the ice sailing world record.

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