Solar-Powered Boat Successfully Crosses the Atlantic

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by JonathanCole, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. JonathanCole
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    JonathanCole imagineer

    U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

    EERE News

    This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
    February 14, 2007

    Solar-Powered Boat Successfully Crosses the Atlantic

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] The sun21, featuring 10 kilowatts of solar power, a battery pack, and two 8-kilowatt motors, arrived at the Caribbean island of Martinique on February 2nd.
    Credit: Transatlantic21 Association
    A solar-powered catamaran arrived in the harbor of Le Marin, Martinique, on February 2nd, making it the first motorized vessel to cross the Atlantic without using any fuel. Called the "sun21," the boat left the Canary Islands 30 days before, managing to travel as much as 107 nautical miles per day, which rivals the speed of a similar-sized sailing boat. Developed and sponsored by the Swiss Transatlantic21 Association, the sun21 was originally scheduled to stop in Cape Verde, but after making good headway on their departure from the Canary Islands, the crew decided to head directly to Martinique. The boat will next hit several ports of call in the Caribbean islands before heading to Miami, Florida, and then proceeding to New York City in May. See the Transatlantic 21 press releases on the change of plans (PDF 36 KB) and the arrival in Martinique
     
  2. kach22i
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    kach22i Architect

  3. JonathanCole
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    JonathanCole imagineer

    Makes a lot of sense to cross from the Canary Islands when you consider the horrific weather in the North Atlantic in the winter. I think any small boat would choose a southerly route unless they relish greater risk and discomfort.

    I also think it was symbolic because they took the route of Colombus' first trip over.
     
  4. Tim B
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    Tim B Senior Member

    So, they've proved you can do it.... does anyone see green atlantic crossings being a money-earner?

    Tim B.
     
  5. kach22i
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    kach22i Architect

    I did not know this, I guess leaving from Spain means you hit the Canary Islands on the way if you are smart.
     
  6. JonathanCole
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    JonathanCole imagineer

    I think that misses the point. A winter trans-Atlantic crossing is a proof of engineering specs, performance under extreme conditions, safety, comfort and reliability. Most sailboats don't cross the Atlantic, but because of the few that do, people have confidence in the product.

    I am developing a live aboard solar cat of about the same size and specifications that will be the best priced beachfront property available with no property taxes, no fuel costs and if you get tired of the view you can change it. Plus it will be like a large RV in that you can tour and explore in it. No worries about running out of fuel. I am developing this product for manufacture and anticipate a demand of 10,000 + in the next decade.
     
  7. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Keep me informed! Maybe you'll need a distributor around here...;)
    Cheers.
     
  8. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    "The solar-powered catamaran left continental Europe on December 3, 2006 from Chipiona Spain. Following Christopher Columbus’ historic route, it subsequently covered around 3,500 nautical miles (6,400 kilometers) to the island of Martinique. The crossing to the Caribbean took 63 days, including stop-overs in Casablanca (Morocco) and on the Canary Islands. «sun21» covered the roughly 5,000 kilometres from Las Palmas to Martinique in a mere 30 days."

    So they actually did cross the entire Atlantic, just not non-stop. Have to agree with Jonathan, though, the voyage was a great success regardless of the exact starting point. Looking at the photos of the boat, I am impressed by the voyage. Any heavy storm would have been a serious challenge.

    Fond as I am of fast cars and boats, there's too many of us (and we're multiplying like rabbits) to make using hydrocarbon fuels exclusively a good proposition for the future. Every developmental project adds to the body of technical knowledge and contributes to lowering the cost of alternative energy applications.

    Jonathan, need a test skipper for some developmental work in the Gulf of Mexico?
     
  9. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    The good thing is it has been done! Fantastic! so Ok not everybody will want too emulate this but it proves it can be done and parts of it can be used elsewhere - kind of sailboat with solar engine for windless days and mooring! Do like the idea!
     

  10. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    For the sake of this thread, here the web pages of Sun21:
    http://www.transatlantic21.org/

    From there:

    "The boat is called "sun21". It is a catamaran of the MW-LINE Type C 60 and it is similar to the boats used at the Swiss National Exposition Expo 02. The boat is about 14 m long and 6.6 m wide. It sleeps 5 to 6 persons for the long journey across the Atlantic and has room for large groups for visits or short excursions. The kitchen is placed in one hull and sanitary installations in the other. A large deck roofed with photovoltaic modules has been installed between the hulls. The boat is equipped with solar modules, batteries and motors allowing a constant speed of 5–6 knots (10–12 km/h) 24 hours a day, equivalent to the average speed of sailing yachts."

    Other data:
    Draught: maximum 1 meter with full load
    Weight: ca. 12 tons
    Drive: 2 electric motors, 8 kW each
    Batteries: 520 Ah/C5, 48 V DC lead accumulators in each hull
    Photovoltaic: 2 x 5 kW solar modules, ca. 65 m2
    Speed: maximum 7 knots (ca 13 km/h) long-range speed ca. 5 knots (ca 9 km/h)

    Base boat: Aquabus C60: http://www.mwline.ch/fr/bat/aquaC60/C60std.html


    "A winter trans-Atlantic crossing is a proof of engineering specs, performance under extreme conditions, safety, comfort and reliability."

    I think some luck is needed, too....they had to look for shelter at Casablanca due to a humble force 5-6 (they state 4-6 m waves ...?). Running at 7 knots with +/- 22 HP is pretty effcient for a 12 tonnes boat. Even 5 knots. But she seems not to be very confident when handling bad weather, with not that much power and the windage of the panels. Is she be obligued to run or lay to sea anchor when things get really rough?

    Cheers.
     

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