A unique event, the Solar & Energy Boat Challenge was at full throttle for this 5th edition with 200 competitors from 12 nationalities divided into 30 teams in three categories. Organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco since 2014, the meeting is supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Hydros Foundation and International Powerboating Federation (UIM).
Engineering students and the industry were here again in Monaco to advance the yachting industry, reminiscent of the first powerboat meetings that brought the world’s industrialists to the Principality over a 100 years ago.
“Together they are building the future, laying the foundations and developing projects that are closer than ever to becoming a viable reality. We are working on energy and propulsion systems and I really believe it is here on the Côte d’Azur that we are in the process of re-thinking how we build the boats of tomorrow,” notes YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri.
Taking challenges head-on
To meet energy and environmental challenges facing the leisure boat and shipping industries, the Solar & Energy Boat Challenge continues to evolve, with the launch this year of the Energy Class. Competitors can choose any energy provided its clean; bio-fuel, battery, hydrogen, compressed air, LNG and of course solar power which is what Nicolas Milanesio opted for, the only Monegasque pilot, competing on Monaco & Saint-Tropez.
Three full days
A packed programme of events was aimed at demonstrating the full potential of these energy sources: the slalom, Endurance Races, speed record and a 16 nautical mile offshore race (Monaco-Ventimiglia-Monaco) won by Britisher David Gray on Vita Yachts in 54 minutes 41 seconds in the Offshore Class.
“The aim is to highlight the enormous potential of our young engineers supported by the shipyards. We have a common goal, which is to work together to build the leisure boats of tomorrow,” explains Marco Casiraghi, himself an engineer and the man behind the project.
An indispensable factor of the meeting, the Solar Class (comprising the Open Class and Challenge A Class) had no less than 23 boats in competition, 15 from the Netherlands, the best ambassador of which remains Clafis Victron Energy Solar Boat Team led by Gerhard van der Schaar. Unbeaten since 2014, the Dutch team won this 5th edition in the Open Class and retains his speed record set in 2016 of 49.10 km/h recorded over a distance of one eighth of a nautical mile (231.5m). In Challenge Class A, the team on Sunflare Solarteam led by Gerlof Werkman was on the first step of the podium.
As well as the competition on the water, every evening competitors had the opportunity to discuss their projects at Tech Talks and exchange views on Open Source, the goal being to work together to transform the industry.
A date has already been set for the next meeting (6th edition) which will be from 4-6 July 2019. A presentation on the new Energy Class regulations is due to be published on the Yacht Club de Monaco’s website (www.ycm.org) and its Facebook page @yachtclubmonaco, before 1st August 2018.