Boats of the future propelled by the energy of the sun
The Monaco Solar Boat Challenge (MSBC), organized by the Yacht Club of Monaco (YCM) in partnership with the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) the international governing body of power boating, took place from July 14-16, 2016. Fifteen teams from Belgium, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Monaco and specially The Netherlands, made of international university students representing a generation concerned about the welfare of our planet. On the first day you could see the young engineers busy working on their race-boats getting ready for the competition, and during lunchtime they prepared their meals in solar-powered ovens!
The solar boats are capable of speeds over 20 knots, thanks to the sun and foiling technology. It was in 2015 that the power of these prototypes instituted the first “International YCM Speed Record” set by Clafis Private Energy Solar Team I at 44.4km/h over a distance of 231.5m. The driver, Gerhard van der Schaar and current World Champion is always delighted to take part in this type of event: “It’s great to be here again in Monaco. There’s a very friendly atmosphere and it’s very encouraging to see so many young people involved.”
“The Yacht Club de Monaco’s objective is to gather and promote a new generation of engineers, encouraging them to imagine and build the boats of tomorrow. A reminder that just over a century ago pioneers were beating a path to Monaco to present their latest developments in combustion engine technology on powerboats. A tradition that still continues today,” said YCM General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandri. Dr Raffaele Chiulli, UIM President, added: “With this event we want to promote an energy source that seems to us to be fundamental to the future development of our sport and an eco-responsible future.”
An all-Dutch affair
After three days of intense competition that combined a fleet endurance race, a timed slalom course and one-on-one duels, the Dutch teams Clafis Victron Energy Solar Boat and Dutch Solar Boat claimed victory.
Clafis turned a notch up on the competition by beating their 2015 record by 4.7km/h setting up a new top speed of 49.10km/h. Other participants will be inspired by this achievement and will be working on reaching new speeds.
Vripack Grand Prix mission accomplished
Parallel to the MSBC, the Vripack Grand Prix was in progress with the participation of five high school students from Monaco’s Lycee Technique & Hotelier.
It was a difficult test for the young sailors who built a boat from a kit supplied by Vripack in only five days under the guidance of their teachers. “We are thrilled that we finished the boat on time and even more so to be out there racing,” said Ossyanne, one of the enthusiastic young students.
Monaco Offshore Solar Race to be launched in 2017
A novelty for next year, the YCM under the initiative of Marco Casiraghi, will be launching the Monaco Offshore Solar Race, a 50 nautical mile offshore competition for a new class of solar-powered boats for three people, that will bring together the new generation of engineers and the most prestigious shipyards to build together the leisure boats of the future. Mark your calendars for the Monaco Solar Boat Challenge from July 13-15, 2017.
Solar Impulse promoting clean technologies from the sky
Participants in the Solar Boat race had the privilege of a guided tour of the Solar Impulse Monaco Mission Control Center where the solar plane’s journey is managed, coinciding with the weekend of the last leg to complete the round the world epic flight, to promote clean technologies. Unfortunately, the programmed departure on Saturday, July 15, from Egypt to Abu Dhabi in the UAE had to be postponed due to the pilot Bertrand Piccard’s minor health concerns.
Weighing 1,5 tons but as large as a Boeing 747, the Solar Impulse 2 (SI2) flies at a medium speed of 50km/h thanks to four batteries (38.5kWh each) that store the solar energy captured by 17,248 photovoltaic cells on its wings, that turn the power of four electric engines (13.5kW each) and the propellers with renewable energy. The two Swiss pilots and driving force behind Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard (Initiator and Chairman) and André Borschberg (CEO and co-founder) alternate flying day and night taking small naps of 20 minutes. They do exercises in the cockpit, for half an hour during the morning and afternoon, in order to be able to move their arms and legs after hours of restricted maneuvering in such a tight space.
SI2 has made stops in Muscat (Oman), Ahmedabad and Varanasi (India), Mandalay (Burma), Chongqing and Nanjing (China), then Nagoya (Japan) and Hawaii (USA), where there was a technical delay for several months. It has also traversed North America, stopping in San Francisco, Phoenix, Tulsa, Dayton, Lehigh Valley and New York. After having successfully completed the crossing of America and recently the Atlantic Ocean without a single drop of fuel, SI2 the solar airplane of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, took off from Spain on July 11 and managed the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea on a flight, that lasted 48 hours and 50 minutes covering 3745 km, thus completing the second to last leg of the attempt to achieve the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight, the goal of which is to demonstrate how modern clean technologies can achieve the impossible.
This past Saturday, July 15, SI2 was ready to accomplish the last stage of the world tour, the seventeenth and last step of this journey, by departing from Egypt to Abu Dhabi, back to where the plane had originally departed on March 9, 2015. The weather conditions were favorable, the plane was ready, but it was the 58-year-old pilot Bertrand Piccard who fell ill, forcing the historic flight to be postponed, because he could not possibly fly during 48 hours in that state. Solar Impulse 2 remains in Cairo waiting for a new date of departure to complete their goal.
“In the 21st century, I think the heroes will be the people who will improve the quality of life, fight poverty and introduce more sustainability.” Bertrand Piccard