Wind-powered speed record may soon be even faster

A team of British engineers attempting to break the land-speed record for a wind-powered craft have achieved speeds of 116 mph, the current record held by American Bob Schumacher. (Schumacher achieved the record speed aboard his craft Iron Duck in the Nevada desert on March 20, 1999.) The British challenger, called Windjet after its corporate sponsor, a company that markets and promotes power through wind generation, achieved the unofficial speed of between 116 and 120 mph on a runway at an RAF airport at Waddington, England, on Jan. 28. The group was on standby as a low-pressure system settled over the British Isles during the second week of February, to log an official record attempt — replete with official timers and members of the press.

Windjet hopes to achieve speed records on land, speed and ice. The water-speed record of 46.52 knots was set by Australian Simon McKeown off the south coast of Australia in 1993. (There are currently 14 teams around the world that are attempting to break the 50-knot water-speed barrier, according to Windjet.) The fastest wind-powered speed on ice of 143 mph was set by John D. Buckstaff aboard the stern-steerer iceboat Debutante in 1938 on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin.

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By Ocean Navigator