The solar-powered yacht race

As the excited people throng the streets of Monaco the port Hercule dresses up once more for the most fabulous yacht show of the season. The luxurious witnesses of prosperity and success adorn the harbours. But there is something special in the sir this year. The Solar 1 races and Vripack are combining the most hyped about Formula One craze and the yacht show to launch the first ever solar-powered yacht Grand Prix at the solar one race. This is set to take place from July 10 to July 12 in Monaco.

This race began in Holland eight years ago, then known as the Dong energy solar challenge. It comprised of two levels, first the hobby level cruising class and then the professional yachting class, whose cost made it almost prohibitory for most of the entrants. So after competing for three years in a row in the hobby level cruising class, Vripack decided to come up with a third level, that would judge the expertise of the skipper and not the boat builder. They would be tested on a fair and uniform platform. For this purpose they came up with the V20 series. When compared (on the plain sailing facebook page) to the Navy vessels Vripack make “there’s not that much boat” Droogsma has been quoted saying. And why not? While a fully equipped yacht may take over a year to build the 19 foot V20 takes only six weeks, because it lacks the complex on-board systems.

The boat has a molded carbon shell and as many solar panels as feasible as this is the prime source of energy for the yacht. Set to reach a maximum of 18mph. It comes for a mere 55,000 Euros where as a professional yacht can cost as much as 130,000 Euros. So a mere compromise in the top-speed seems acceptable especially when there’s no cost for fuel.

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