PROJECT LANDSPEED: ALWAYS REEVALUATING AND PLANNING
With a project as highly contingent on weather and conditions as the Emirates Team New Zealand wind powered Land Speed World Record attempt, constant evaluation and adjustments of plans are essential to the success of the overall objective.
As Pilot Glenn Ashby found last week on Lake Gairdner a small holding pattern has been engaged due to water on the lake. So the Land speed team had a timely catch-up on the current situation.
“Normally, Lake Gairdner the whole year is perfectly dry. There's no water in the lake. It's very, very abnormal for it to have water in the lake at all, but Clouds is optimistic we should see 100 mm of evaporation in the next four weeks. So we might not actually end up being too far behind where we originally set our goal. So I think we've got to keep sort of marching ahead.” Explained Ashby via Zoom back at home in Victoria.
“Obviously the weather plays a massive factor in what we as a team are a part of. It’s the essence of sailing, of the America’s Cup and this land speed project. So as always we need to embrace that aspect and keep reminding ourselves that what we are doing is bloody hard and a massive challenge. We need to be ready with everything that we can control so that when the stars align on the many aspects that we cannot control we are ready to go.” said Ashby
Not that they ever really exist, but apparent idle times are always anxious times within Emirates Team New Zealand so thoughts are always looking ahead for Construction Manager Sean Regan,
“We're in the starting blocks. But right now there's a delay and all we can do is be prepared. The two or three weeks we had here in Auckland testing up at Whenuapai were huge because when we start sailing in Australia we'll be able to push go very quickly.
Clearly the weather has been the main factor here, but we also need the weather to play its part once we get there because the sweet spot is over 25 knots. These fronts can come through and we might only get one or two hours, or we might only get half an hour when we've actually got the ultimate conditions to really have a crack at this record.”
Contingency is always key so is it time for a ‘plan B’ location?
Although other potential locations have been scoped in early planning, Ashby doesn’t think so, “I think we would talk about that if we got to November, for example, and hadn't been able to run or hadn't broken the record, then we would possibly look at the future options.
I think up until that point, Lake Gairdner it is still by far the best option for us. And on the positive side of things pushing out a bit, around September and October is actually the windiest part of the year in that area. We just need to make sure we're ready to roll when the lake does dry up, basically, So we're straight into it.”
All eyes are on the lake.