A first for solar powered boats
A month after the opening of its new building in June 2014, the Yacht Club de Monaco is to host what has to be the most innovative event in its nautical calendar for 2014. Speed boats from around the world powered only by the sun, including a first ever ‘one-design’ category, are set to battle it out in Monaco from 10th to 12th July 2014.
Launched on Wednesday 11th by Sergei Dobroserdov, CEO of Solar 1, the event has already attracted 25 entrants who will compete in three contests infront of the Fairmont Hotel / Grimaldi Forum area: a fleet race round two buoys, a slalom race and finally a one-against-one drag race between two buoys.
A real spectacle is promised, as organisers have booked the impressive 31m Planet Solarvessel to be the jury boat. Armed with 537sqm of photovoltaic panels, she went round the world in 585 days powered by the sun, arriving back in Monaco in May 2012.
While this is not the first solar boat race to take place worldwide, it will be the first time many will race on the open sea. It is also the first time there will be a one-design category, with contestants competing on the same level, in the shape of the V20 from Solar 1’s technical partner the Dutch company Vripack.
At just under 20-foot in length, the V20 is designed to fit snugly into a standard container (20-foot equivalent) “with workshop” making it easy to transport. It features adjustable hydro-foils that lift it out of the water to reduce water-resistance so the solar power is used purely for speed.
According to the company’s Design Director Bart Bouwhuis, it can do 35km/h “easily” and when tested here in Monaco last August the panels generated so much power they could have “gone on racing indefinitely”.
Marnix Hoekstra, Director, added: “The sea trials in August left us in no doubt that solar boats are capable and seaworthy enough for tough races! Understanding how they work is all part of the education process which we aim to integrate into this event.”
Promoting solar energy is what the Solar1 Monte-Carlo Cup is all about. Also planned is a Solar Village of stands showcasing technology, a solar boat model race for the children and a conference.
It is interesting to note that from 1904 the world’s budding automotive industries flocked to Monaco to trial the latest developments in combustion engine technology in powerboat races on the sea (the sea being safer than trialling them on the roads) – a 100 years later and the Principality is the scene of another much greener revolution.
“The solar power industry is expanding at such a rapid pace that it was crying out for an event of equal magnitude to unite and represent its stakeholders. Not only do solar boat enthusiasts have an unrivalled opportunity to display their engineering talents but they can also compete equally well with both the vertically integrated energy companies and ambitious young students,” concludes Sergei Dobroserdov.
For the YCM’s secretary general, Bernard d’Alessandri: “It’s a very exciting project as it involves a major shift and a very practical innovation to take the yachting industry forward. I am thrilled that it will attract many young people to Monaco, as this new generation is clearly very involved and concerned about technical advances that will help safeguard our planet.”
For more information on Solar 1 please visit: http://solar1races.com
Claire Lathbury Riviera Times