Saturday 8th July 2023. According to Yacht Club de Monaco President, HSH Prince Albert II, “living proof must replace all the promises”, and the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge is a fine example. Organised by YCM every year for the last decade, this important meeting for alternative energies is part of the collective Monaco, Capital of Advanced Yachting approach. “Since its launch, the event has taken on a whole new dimension,” says YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri. “Initially dedicated to propulsion, then alternative energies, today the Challenge puts the spotlight on sustainability in general, the aim being to improve the efficiency of solutions and reduce the environmental impact of all the vessel’s components”. Supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation as well as Credit Suisse, BMW and SBM Offshore, it has also attracted involvement by key players in the yachting world such as shipyards Oceanco, Ferretti Group, Monaco Marine, Sanlorenzo, Lürssen and Palumbo SY Refit. “Their presence in such numbers this year sends out a strong positive signal,” adds Bernard d’Alessandri.
On the sea, some 50 teams representing 31 universities and 25 nations demonstrated the efficiency of their solutions. For the 10th edition there was an obvious trend to lower the impact of the entire life cycle of the project. “We saw projects with a larger quantity of hydrogen and recycled materials, and also more biomaterials and supercapacitors. For example, for the same amount of energy (equivalent to 1 litre of diesel) the best in the Energy Class travelled 27 nautical miles in four hours this year,” comments Jérémie Lagarrigue, President of the international Jury and CEO of EODev. Also of note were the smaller gaps between teams. At the end of all the sea trials, the Italians’ Uniboat topped the Energy Class for the third year in a row, while in the Solar Class the Dutch Sunflare Team Veolia continues to dominate. In the Open Sea Class, TU Delft Hydromotion Team (Netherlands) was the overall winner.
As a prelude, the YCM E-Boat Rally organised in partnership with Aqua superPower saw around 15 electric boats strutting their stuff between Monaco and Ventimiglia (there and back, 21 nautical miles). “Monaco was the first to recognise the potential of electric propulsion and its ability to transform the yachting industry,” says Luisa Bonello, co-founder of Aqua superPower, world leading rapid-charge maritime network. All the boats could moor up at the first YCM E-Dock, an eco-designed pontoon with AC (Alternative Current) and DC (Direct Current) chargers that can supply rapid reliable power to 20 boats at one time.
Living up to its reputation as a platform of communication, in 2019 YCM launched the Job Forum to meet and match a growing demand from young engineers for internships and jobs to the needs of the industry. Monaco Marine, Sanlorenzo, Palumbo SY Refit, E1, SBM Offshore, Comarbel, Vita and M3 (Monaco Marina Management) are all players who met competitors and potential candidates on a one-to-one. “It is vital we encourage young people and sustainable solutions that can be applied to yachting which is why we are here to support all those involved in this event,” explains Tanguy Ducros, Chief Commercial Officer at Monaco Marine. Professionals convinced of participants’ potential like Antonio Palumbo, from the Palumbo SY Refit yard agree: “We believe in them, particularly when it comes to sustainability as we think they will be the main players in the future of this sector”. This year, there were more than 80 interviews much to the delight of the students. “It’s fantastic to be here taking part in the races and being able to talk to representatives of the industry,” says Daniele, 29, from the University of Messina. “It’s interesting to learn about the interview process. It’s a really useful initiative and if I were about to graduate I would view it as one of the main reasons for participating in the Challenge,” adds Iacopo, 21, from Bologna University.
Building yachting’s future together
A key objective being to get participants exchanging ideas is where the daily Tech Talks in Open Source come in that give contestants a chance to present their project to all the other teams. It was in this spirit that this year saw launch of the Corporate Mentoring Program so the industry can give bespoke support to students on their projects, as for example Oceanco did for the Néréides UTT Marine team competing in the Energy Class. “We mentored them and supplied them with a fuel cell. It’s a laboratory where students are trying out different propulsion systems and innovations. It’s a great way to test them,” notes Paris Baloumis, Marketing Director of the Oceanco Group. “We helped students [Montreal Polytechnic and Swiss Solar Team] to integrate fuel cells into their boats. We shared our experience and contacts, suppliers and partners,” explains a former contestant, Thomas Grosjean who, thanks to the Job Forum, found a position with the Hélion Group as fuel cell engineer in charge of maritime and waterway development.
Whole yachting sector mobilised
During a conference entitled Sustainability Transition: Challenges, Engagement, Adoption panellists analysed the impact of using new solutions and energies on the whole ecosystem from R&D to design, development and building of boats be they offshore race yachts, motorboats, pleasure craft or superyachts. All the speakers stressed the importance of letting the new generation express themselves. “It’s young students with their passion, energy and concern for the environment who will accelerate the pace of change,” says Luca Santella, Head of Product Strategy at Bluegame of the Sanlorenzo group. By investing in the design of chase boats for the America’s Cup, the Italian shipyard confirms its desire to contribute to the development of sustainable yachting.
To see a replay of this Conference: https://webtv.monacocapitalyachting.com/energy-boat-challenge/conference/
To see a report on the Conference: https://energyboatchallenge.com/en/top-level-meetings/
4th Hydrogen Round Table balanced between challenges and feasibility
Organised by YCM in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and Energy Transition Mission, discussions took place against a backdrop of regulations and advances in technologies that require time to reach market maturity. An overview of the challenges but also short and long-term solutions envisaged to ensure hydrogen is one of the energy strategies for the future.
To see a replay of the 4th Hydrogen Round Table: https://webtv.monacocapitalyachting.com/energy-boat-challenge/conference/
Involving all nautical ecosystems
Finally, the presence of Malizia-Seaexplorer, the latest addition to Team Malizia, founded by YCM Vice-President Pierre Casiraghi, left its mark on this 10th edition. Skippered by Boris Herrmann, the IMOCA called into the Principality after clinching 3rd place in the crewed, round the world in stages, The Ocean Race.
It is through this event, the next edition 1-6 July 2024, that YCM effectively demonstrates that it is a major player in the environmental transition, positioning the Principality as a spearhead of responsible yachting. The next innovation meeting is the 3rd Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous (24-25 September 2023). But before that, the public and all those who love the boats of yesteryear can journey back in time during the 16th Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe (13-16 September) to watch the most prestigious classic sailing yachts, period motor-yachts and vintage motorboats in action.
1er : JKU Deep Blue (Croatie)
2e : US National Team (USA)
3e : Club Nàutic Cambrils (Espagne)