Solar Powered Cat Crosses Atlantic - Slowly

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by PI Design, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. PI Design
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    PI Design Senior Member

    I heard on the radio this morning that a solar powered catamaran had crossed the Atlantic from Spain to Miami. Well, I'm all for promoting environmental awareness, but this thing took four months. I work that out to give an average speed of about 1 knot! Such miserable performance isn't going to encourage anyone, it just strengthen the perception about how immature, inefficient and impractical the technology is.

    Anyway, if you want to use a renewable energy source to power a boat why not use wind! :rolleyes: It's an idea that's been around for centuries and is capable of getting you across the Atlantic in a couple of weeks. Sails eh? Ingenious. :idea:
  2. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Hey what about an economical diesel engine, makes power as you go can run lights all day all night or watch the telly, warms the bath water, warms the boat, runs the fridge, and just about costs as much as a wardrobe of sails which dont work if theres no wind---fantastic
  3. PI Design
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    PI Design Senior Member

    Diesel ain't renewable though (well, not very quickly).
    Granted however, in the 3.5 months saved time, you could do enough planting of trees/working for charity etc to still make the diesel a better option than solar panels.
  4. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    How long do sails last?

    Depends on how you look after them I suppose, but if you use them alot in the tropics here you may get 5 years.

    My engines are 4 years old now but I still think of them as new and could be sold for 75% of there cost price.

    I have deisel in my tanks I bought 2 years ago.

    If I had sails furled for the last 4 years I can imagine what they would look like.

    Wouldnt be worth 75% of thier cost.
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Does anyone have info on how long it takes a bottle to be delivered on this route?

    Not sure this boat would beat the bottle , drifting.

  6. JonathanCole
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    JonathanCole imagineer

    I think you need to check your facts.

    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
  7. Crag Cay
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    Crag Cay Senior Member

    Yes it's a little unfair to include time spend tied up in marinas when calculating average speed.
  8. cookiesa
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    cookiesa Senior Member


    "managing to travel as much as 107 nautical miles per day, which rivals the speed of a similar-sized sailing boat. "

    However it is a cat, anyone have the details on the speed a similar sized cat would have sailed it in?

    Of course Jack frost you obviously don't use your boat and for safety sake you should now empty your tanks, clean them out and put fresh diesel in. Meanwhile we you grab the calculator to work out how much going from a to b is going to cost you up go the sails on a lot more boats and off they go.

    Probably a lot to do with why the oceans are full of cruising yachts (not talking about the big budget ones here, just your average 40 odd foot).

    Not many cruising power boats by comparison doing the same thing. Comparing apples with apples you get several reasonable sets of sails for the cst of your engines, not to mention running costs, alternators etc
  9. nero
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    nero Senior Member

    If one were to burn vegetable oil in the diesel engine perhaps it would be classifed as renewable.
  10. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Notice the picture posted by JonathonCole; That looks like a pleasant day boat for picnicing and such. Surely that is not the boat that traversed from the Canaries to Martinique. Jonathon are you pulling our leg or did the operators of that boat fail in their suicide attempt ?
  11. kerosene
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    kerosene Senior Member

    I think that is the boat - and yeah - the weather better be good on that thingie...
  12. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Have you never heard of fuel polishers?

    Alternators-- Now there is something I have never changed in my life.

    Engines are a doddle --if you know what you are doing --bit like sails you have to know a bit.

    You must be doing something wrong. Dont turn the batteries off while the engine is running or you will screw them up.

    Just a little bit of thought --thats all they ask for.

    Diesel is renewable isnt it? I can renew it when I get there!!
  13. cookiesa
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    cookiesa Senior Member

    Of course you wouldn't replace alternators or anything else! Your diesel is 2 years old.... Try using it!

    Fuel polishers ahhhhh best be fitting a fitch and hyclone too then!

    By the way I actually like both power and sail. Why those with power boats feel the need to "justify" their choice is beyond me.

    Either way power or sail get out there and enjoy it!
  14. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Cookiesa,--Your last line of your post seemed to have some finality to it!! I havent finished with you yet.

    I dont get this alternator theory. We all have our fears and I guess alternators is yours.

    personally my fear (hate really) is being able to see my intended anchorage and unable to reach it before dark.

    Anchoring then in a place I dont wanna be,- or going on through the night----- Uhhg.

    Done that many times

    Iether the weather has changed here in the last 4 years or my interpretation of storms has been re-avaluated.

    In the last 4 years I have owned my present power boat I have never seen a storm --(squall) like I used to with the yacht,--exactly same passages.

    How can that be.

    It is with out doubt that sitting in my captains chair with the windscreen wipers on -Cmap -GPS -depth sounders at my elbow is far better than running around on deck with finger nail wrenching sails --wet through,-- lashing things down.

    Not to mention the poor missus trying to keep the boat up into the wind.

    Nope dont do that any more--out run them most of the time.

    Talking of calculators my last yacht was 135hp and carried 3000 liters

    6kts was 8liters per hour. The power boat is 17kts cruise at 35 liters per hour.

    Say I had 100 mile journey, Ille work it out myself in a minute.

    Im not justifying my choice just trying to pass on a bit of information to a breed of fellow sea users that seem so biased and superior,--And seem to live in the past.

    Fianally just a note-- If you call May Day,-- do you think it will be a yacht they send out or a power boat? AND which would you prefer?

  15. PI Design
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    PI Design Senior Member

    Don't shoot the messenger! Just saying what I heard on the BBC, but your account seems a little better. Mind you, where on earth do they sleep on that thing?
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