Running from July 8 to 14, the Frisian Solar Challenge is the biggest sustainable event of the Netherlands. The event concentrates on the design as well as building of ultra-light and fast solar boats which are strong enough to face the hardship of a long-distance race (220 KM) along the 11 popular Frisian cities. The expectations of the Vripack Solar Team competing in this famous race are enormous.
After the successful outcome of the previous edition, the Vripack Solar Team is now even more focused on a victory in the A classification. Joost Mertens, captain of the Vripack Solar Team, elaborates; “In 2010 we finished second with our boat ‘Sunny Side Up II’. Back then, we were mainly focused on the design and techniques of the boat. This year these factors obviously play a major role as well, but now we have paid much more attention to the technical development and improvement. That is why we believe that our solar boat is going to be one of the contenders again”.
The Vripack Solar Team is working on the development of improved techniques together with its sponsor ‘Whisper Power’. “The technical innovation, which emerge from occasional meetings between the two teams, ensure that the new solar boat will sail much faster than its predecessor”, says Mertens.
An example of the aforementioned innovation is the professionally designed propulsion system. This system is driven by a permanent magnet motor. The energy for the motor comes from a battery which is powered by four solar panels. Various gears make it possible to reach higher speeds. The gears in combination with the by Marin optimized and developed screw design give the solar boat a maximum speed of 24 knots.
However, the solar team has not limited its endeavors to technical innovations. The design of the hull has also had their full attention. Vripack’s naval architects and designers have comprehensively studied the performance of different hull models. Various line plans have been tested on scale by a self-built drag machine in the waters of Vripack’s port which has resulted in a fully improved hull design. The hull is currently being built by Epomat, where they apply new techniques making the new solar boat significantly lighter.
The Vripack Solar Team has caught up tactically and strategically as well. Because of a specially designed communication system between the solar boat and the shore it is now possible for the captain to constantly stay informed of the latest developments. Due to this system our captain knows exactly what his opponents do and, not quite unimportant, how to use the power of the solar boat as strategically as possible. The Solar Team consists out of 20 Vripack and 10 Whisper Power employees.
Main Characteristics of the Vripack Solar Boat
LOA : 6 meters
BOA : 1.65 meters
Draft : 0.11 meters
Material Hull : glass / epoxy
Electric : Whisper Power
Classification : A-class
Designer : Vripack Solar Team
Naval Architect : Vripack Solar Team
Engineer : Vripack Solar Team
Builder : Epomat
Hull : Epomat
Screw design : Marin
Sponsor : Whisper Power