More and more concepts for ecological living are leaving the page and becoming reality, and the boating industry is not to be left behind. The Monaco Solar Boat Challenge will take place this week when 15 teams from universities across Europe will compete using boats professionally built based on their designs. The following is a press release from Yacht Club de Monaco.
Monaco bets on solar power for boats
Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th July 2016
The flames of a real passion never go out, those linking the Principality to preservation of our environment being perfect examples. It is why the Yacht Club de Monaco continues on this path in organising the Monaco Solar Boat Challenge, taking place from 14th to 16th July 2016.
Organised with the support of the UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) which is based in the Principality, this competition is special as it is only for boats powered by the sun, designed and driven by students from international universities. “The Monaco Solar Boat Challenge is an excellent initiative organized by the YCM in cooperation with the UIM. Solar energy is one of the key elements in the pathway towards a sustainable future and we are fully committed to promote the ultimate synergy of nature, motion and innovation in motor boating ” stated the UIM President Dr. Raffaele Chiulli, an association based also in Monaco.
15 teams have already confirmed their registration, 10 from the Netherlands, the others from Belgium, Hungary, Germany, Poland and Monaco. It’s an international field, proof of how widespread interest is in new energy sources among the new generation.
“In Monaco we pay particular attention to everything related to respect for the environment. Technology is now available to support this commitment. It therefore seems to me essential to encourage any initiative that will drive the future development of our industry. The enthusiasm of this new generation of engineers suggests this technology could soon be applied to the leisure boat sector, including mega-yachts. This is the kind of pioneering spirit the Principality has fostered for over a century, and delivers a message full of promise for the future,” says Bernard d’Alessandri, General Secretary of the Y.C.M.
The stage is set for this unusual spectacle in the bay of Port Hercule which will welcome a host of teams from all over Europe. As the aim is to support a new generation of revolutionary boats more respectful of the marine environment, the event underlines the Principality’s commitment to innovation and is rooted in a tradition that continues. As someone always on the lookout for cutting edge technology, and a staunch defender of the environment, Yacht Club de Monaco President HSH Prince Albert II is naturally right behind this project.
Indeed, the event is a nod to history in the wake of Prince Albert 1. An experienced navigator, he was an early pioneer, not only of modern oceanography but also luxury yachting, having organised over a century ago the first powerboat meetings held alongside royal yachts spending the winter in Monte-Carlo. In those days, the world’s industrialists were invited to showcase their latest developments in combustion engine technology. The times may have changed but the desire to embrace innovation has not.
A bright future beckons with these inventions, one where technology, talent and respect for the environment go hand in hand in perfect unison. Flying across the water powered only by the sun is no longer a utopian dream but a reality, with engines capable of speeds up to 20 knots thanks to the development of foils.
In 2015 during the first ‘International YCM Speed Record’, the power of these prototypes was much in evidence with a record speed of 44.4km/h over a distance of one eighth of a nautical mile (231.5m) being set by Gerard van der Schaar of the Clafis Private Energy Solar Team.
Alongside the main event is the Vripack Grand Prix, when the word ‘challenge’ will live up to its name as never before: teams which do not have a solar-powered machine will have the opportunity to assemble one from scratch (supplied in kit form by Vripack) before the event to compete in the different races. A “first” and big challenge which 5 students from the high school (Lycée Technique et Hôtelier) in Monaco are taking up – to build a boat in just five days!
Looking ahead already to 2017 with the YCM OFFSHORE SOLAR CLASS, the Yacht Club de Monaco will host several teams composed of international university students who will join forces with shipyards to design and build solar boats capable of accommodating three people to take part in an offshore race.
Rendezvous 14th to 16th July 2016 to discover the future of solar navigation.