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Land Rover For Sail

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Posted On: Jun 17, 2008 By: Category: Land Rover News

Well here’s one way to reduce emissions and boost your mpg…but it’s not for everybody.

sailing Land Rover

Sure, everyone TALKS about the meteoric rise in fuel costs, but nobody really DOES anything about it. Except enterprising Auckland, New Zealand sculptor, Dan Tucker, who sailed his Land Rover up Northland's Ninety Mile Beach on pure wind power.

"I talked to a few people about it and they said it couldn't be done. That just made me more determined to do it," said Tucker, 32. "The beaches are perfect - you have steady winds, a flat surface, and it's wide and generally quite straight."

The vehicle hit speeds of up to 30 km/h in winds gusting up to 40 km/h.

When the wind died down to 10 km/h, Mr. Tucker got out and pushed to help the Rover along.

Mr. Tucker grew up as a sailor. His parents, John and Barbara Tucker, have lived on a boat for the past 15 years, first in Auckland and for the past four years in Hobart, Tasmania.

He believes sailing is poised to make a comeback as the oil era ends. At least in rural areas where there is a lot of room...and a lot of wind.

"It's crazy. Even today I went in to fill up my car and it was $2.07 a liter. It just keeps going up," he said. "It's not going to drop down, that's the scary thing. We are facing the reality that we are going to run out of oil. We'll go back to the old days of sail power rather than flying, but with modern materials boats are getting faster and faster."

That is not such a crazy idea. In fact, commercial shippers are already harnessing wind power. A German company, Beluga, launched a freighter late last year with a kite the size of a football field that it said would cut fuel use by up to half.

And in California (where else?) a company called KiteShip is making sails to fly logs out of remote forests, as well as for ships.

Back on the beach, Tucker’s Land Rover didn't make the full length of Ninety Mile Beach because it took most of the day to rig up the sail with bamboo. Still, he adds, "We could have gone all the way to North Cape if we'd had time."

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