Monaco Energy Boat Challenge 2024 an electrifying success! Part I

The 11th Monaco Energy Boat Challenge (MEBC) has wrapped up after four groundbreaking days at the host Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) and it was a milestone week for the world of electric boating. There were 50 student teams from 40 international universities competing in the Energy Class and Solar Class division and 15 commercially available electric boats in the Open Sea Class.

This article will focus on the commercial electric boats who participated in the Open Sea Class, Part II will focus on the university competitions.

Read: Pre- event: Monaco Energy Boat Challenge 2024 bigger and better than everRead 2024 MEBC an electrifying success Part II – Energy and Solar Class

This was the largest on-water congregation of electric boats in history, which led to a feeling of energy, excitement and optimism that was evident throughout the event and around the YCM in every conversation and encounter. There was a real sense that this was a moment when electric boating is coming of age and the possibilities for the future are opening up quickly.

Gallery of Open Sea Class Boats at MEBC 2024
Hover for scrollable dots and arrows, click any image for full size gallery

Much of that excitement stems from the Open Sea boats showing a wide range of electric boats, from the 18 foot (5.5m) Valkama Picnic Cruiser to the 50 foot (19m) Deep Silence yacht from Sialia. Also exciting was that the propulsion and drive trains were comprised of both outboards and inboards, with power of from 25kW to 400kW, and included two boats – the MadBlue Marine P-01 and Inocel Poseidon – that get their energy from hydrogen fuel cells. 

While the university side of things was all about the intercollegiate competition, the commercial boats were there for additional reasons: to show off their wares and provide sea trials for potential brokers or end clients; to participate in the first Annual General Meeting of the International Electric Marine Association; and to talk shop among themselves.

That shop talk can be very productive. At last year’s MEBC, Stewart Wilkinson of Vita Power and Leif Stavøstrand of Evoy started up a conversation which resulted in the companies making an announcement at this year’s event that they would be joining forces to accelerate the adoption of high power electric propulsion.

Read: Electric boating pioneers Vita and Evoy join forces

The conversations between powertrain manufacturers, boat builders and designers, charging technology companies and others became more formalized this year with the first Annual General Meeting of the new International Electric Marine Association (IEMA) and their presentation of two seminars.

At its core, though, the Open Seas Class of the MEBC is an opportunity for everyone in the electric boat community to show off the breadth and depth of what an electric boat can do.

There were three competitions in the Open Sea Class: the Manouevrability Trial,  Endurance Trial, and 16 Nautical Mile Speed Trial. What those trials proved is a couple of things. One is that different electric boats are better at different tasks (no surprise, because that is true of every boat, no matter what it is powered by) and the other is that for just about whatever you are looking for in a boat, there is now an electric option.

Open Sea Manoeuvrability Trial

In the Manoeuvrability Trial, competing boats were required to navigate a tight course around buoys positioned in the YCM marine. Maximum speed was 3 knots (3.5 mph / 5.5 kmh) and the winner was the boat that completed it in the shortest time.

The 5.8 m (19 ft) SeaDog RIB finished just 7 seconds faster than the E’dyn, which is about 1.3 metres (≈4 ft) shorter and has an outboard motor rather than an inboard setup like the SeaDog. Coming in just a few seconds longer than the E’dyn was SeaDog’s ‘big brother’ (or sister), the 7 m (23 ft) Seal.

These placings are great testament to both the Seal and SeaDog, especially the SeaDog, as it was specifically designed as a workboat for harbours and marinas. Needless to say, this kind of manoeuvrability is a great asset for those boats – particularly when proven in a marina.

Yacht Club de Monaco marina and E-Dock of electric boats (superyachts in background)
The marina and E-Dock of The Yacht Club de Monaco, site of the Manoeuvrability Trial

For MEBC week, Vita had supplied the YCM with a number of SeaDogs to help out with all of the judging and transporting and guiding that needed to be done. The rest of the year the Club uses both gasoline/petrol boats and electric boats.

Speaking with a couple of the Club’s pilots, they told me that they were very impressed, and that the SeaDog could do everything their gas boats could do. It’s those kinds of impressions (and proofs of performance) that will get more and more marinas starting to look at the benefits of electric, and be important in the adoption of electric boats by everyone.

The next two boats in the trial were, a bit surprisingly, both longer than 7 m (23 feet) and: the Goldfish X9 with Evoy propulsion and the SeaLab5 from Sealence, with the company’s DeepSpeed electric hydrojet motor.

The final two boats were the E23 from De Antonio Yachts and the El-Iseo from Riva. (Not every boat competed in every trial, for instance there wasn’t much point in a 59 foot electric yacht trying to navigate the marina course!)

Open Sea Manoeuvrability Trial Results

Boat Country Time
hh:mm:ss
Vita SeaDog Monaco 00:02:52
E’dyn Slovenia 00:02:59
Vita Seal Monaco 00:03:05
Evoy 2 Goldfish X9 Norway 00:04:37
Sealence SeaLab 5 Italy 00:04:43
De Antonio E23 Spain 00:05:30
Riva El-Iseo Italy 00:05:33

Open Sea Endurance Trial

It always seems the two things people most want to know about electric boats (especially the doubters) is how fast they can go and how far they can go.

The Endurance and Speed Trials give us all some answers, along with good news about the suitability of electric boats for the average boater.

The Endurance Trial took place in the waters outside the Monaco Marina, heading towards Italy. This is where the Yacht Club de Monaco hosted the first international powerboat contest, in 1904. The waters are notoriously choppy and unpredictable, largely because there is no beach in this area. This means that the waves and swells of the Mediterranean roll into shore, hit a large wall, then rebound back out, causing cross wakes and significant waves that are difficult to see and pop out of nowhere.

The top three boats in this trial were the Vita Seal, Evoy 2 Goldfish X9 and Riva El-Iseo. The course was set up in laps of 3 nM each, with the Seal completing  10 laps and the other two top place finishers completing 9 laps. All were out in the sea for more than 3 hours and all had average speed of at least 8.5 knots / ≈10 mph / 15 kmh.

electric boat with water splashing high over its bow
The waters of the Endurance trial could sometimes be a bit challenging!

What struck me about these results is that it is a pretty good afternoon in a boat if you go out 15 nautical miles from shore or along the shore, hang around for some swimming and socializing, maybe some standup paddle boarding, then head home. That’s exactly what these boats enable.

Eight and a half knots is not flying along, but it is a respectable and enjoyable speed for a friends-family outing, and the advantage of spending the day in an electric boat is that you can still easily talk with one another throughout the whole journey.

The one outlier in the Endurance Trial was the SeaLab 5, which seemed intent on showing off its speed. She was only out on the water for just over an hour, but she was travelling at 21 knots / 24 mph / 40 kmh, two and a half times as fast as the winners. So in the balance of speed/distance, this is also a very good showing for those who are skeptical of what an electric boat can achieve.

Open Sea Endurance Trial Results
1 lap = 3 nM

Boat  Country Distance
(nM /mi / km)
Duration
(hh:mm:ss)
Avg Speed
(kts / mph / kmh)
Vita Seal Monaco 30 / 34.5 /55.5 03:22:20 8.9 / 10.25 / 16.5
Evoy 2 Goldfish X9 Norway 27 / 31 / 50 03:06:42 8.68 / 10 / 16
Riva El-Iseo Italy 27 / 31 / 50 03:09:26 8.55 / 9.84 / 15.8
Sealence SeaLab 5 Italy 24 / 27.6 / 44.5 01:07:53 21.21 / 24.4 / 39.3
De Antonio E23 Spain 24 / 27.6 / 44.5 04:01:59 5.95 / 6.85 / 11
Vita SeaDog Monaco 21 / 24.2 / 39 02:36:00 8.08 / 9.3 / 15
E’dyn Slovenia 21 / 24.2 / 39 00:59:15 6.08 / 7 / 11.25

Open Sea 16nM Speed Trial

Yes, finally, the results most people are waiting for: SPEED !

To let you know right up front, the Evoy 2 Goldfish X9 broke the record for Monaco Energy Boat Challenge with a speed of 30.89 knots  / 35.54 mph  / 57.21 kmh clocked over 16 nautical miles (18 miles / 30 kilometres).

I had the opportunity to go out on this boat. It. Is. Fast. Goldfish is known to build boats for people who like the thrill of speed, and this all electric RIB does not disappoint. It has a 300 kiloWatt / 400 horsepower inboard drive, and with the immediate torque of the Evoy it can go from 0-50 mph in 10 seconds.

Pilots of winning boats: Goldfixh X9, Riva El-Iseo, Vita SeaDog
The winners L-R: 1: Evoy 2 Goldfish X9 2: Riva El-Iseo 3: Seadog

The second place finisher, the Riva El-Iseo, is a luxury boat totally different from the stripped down Goldfish RIB. It was first produced by Riva to celebrate the company’s 180th anniversary, and is named for the lake where the boatyard started. 

Unfortunately, I did not get an opportunity to go out on the El-Iseo, but I did see it up close many times on the E-Dock. It. Is. Beautiful. It is every bit as stylish and luxurious as you would expect a Riva to be, and it is also no slouch in the speed department.  It arrived at the finish line only 56 seconds behind the Evoy Goldfish and clocked an average speed of just under 30 knots.

The excitement of the Speed Trial, though, was the finish line sprint between the pilots of the SeaDog and Seal. Like any company, there is always friendly competition, and both captains were pouring it on as best they could in the final seconds. The SeaDog took the honours this year, with a time difference of just 5 seconds between the two boats.

It was only the day before that Vita and Evoy had announced their new agreement, so there was much joy around as the group celebrated their four boats finishing 1-2-3-4 in the Speed Trial. There was also the excitement the next day of meeting and chatting with Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Prince Albert with principals of Vita Power and Evoy
L-R: Luisa Bonello of Aqua superPower, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, Stewart Wilkinson of Vita- Power, Leif Stavøstrand of Evoy (security in background)

The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is a key sponsor of the MEBC and the Prince himself is a keen proponent of  alternate energy propulsion and electric boat owner himself.  He makes it a point each year to visit all the participants in the Energy Challenge – Solar Class, Energy Class and Open Sea Class Class – and doesn’t just give them a handshake and a smile, but chats about their projects, genuinely interested in finding out more about their new ideas and initiatives. 

Open Sea 16nM Speed Trial Results

Boat  Country Time (hh:mm:ss) Speed (kts / mph / kmh
Evoy 2 Goldfish X9 Norway 00:27:16 30.89  / 35.54 / 57.21
Riva El-Iseo Italy 00:28:12 29.87 / 34.37 / 55.32 
Vita SeaDog Monaco 00:33:20 25.27 / 29.08 / 46.78
Vita Seal Monaco 00:33:26 25.19 / 28.98 / 46.65
Candela C-8 Sweden 00:39:16 21.45 / 24.68 / 39.72 
De Antonio E23 Spain 01:15:51 11.11 / 12.79 / 20.58
Sialia Poland 01:28:31 9.52 / 10.96 / 17.63

First Annual General Meeting of IEMA

Officially launched in February after months of background work, the International Electric Marine Association held its first Annual General Meeting during the MEBC, boasting a membership of 70 companies and organizations from every continent.

Executive Director reviewed IEMA’s goals, strategies and progress in promoting electric propulsion across all sectors of boating and shipping, including small recreational boats to yachts and superyachts, commercial boating from small fishing vessels to cargo ships, as well as charging, ports and marinas.

On Thursday the organization also held two round table discussions. The first covered the topic of ‘Talent, Academia and the Future of the Professional Landscape’. The current and future challenges of finding the ideal people in a very young and rapidly expanding industry was explored by Panellists Sue Putallaz of Moby Fly electric-hydrogen foiling passenger vessels; Jesse Makkonen of fast-charging solutions provider Kempower; and Chris Cudlipp of SeaVolt, specialists in offshore renewable energy sources.

Seminar of International Electric Marine Association
IEMA Round Table. L-R: IEMA President Adria Jover; Sue Putallaz, MobyFly; Jesse Makkonen, Kempower; Chris Cudlipp, SeaVolt

The second round table covered “Data, Information and The IEMA Blue Terminal” with panellists Bas Edmonds, Director of Marine Services at HPi Verification Services; Nathan Baker, Chief Technology Officer at SeaBird Technologies; and Ollie Taylor, Associate Director at Anthesis Group and MarineShift360. Here the discussion centred around the types of data that are necessary for fact-based planning in the electric propulsion industry and how manufacturers might be able to contribute to and source a collective database and best practices information. 

Plugboats has been covering the MEBC since 2019 and watched it grow each year, expanding the number of universities in the student competitions and also providing everything that the commercial electric boats need to show their stuff. This includes the E-Dock, with chargers by Aqua superPower, that kept all 13 of the Open Sea entries charged throughout the week.

Read Plugboats coverage of the MEBC since 2019

Each year provides another landmark in the growth of electric boats and another look at what the future holds. Each year also indicates that the future is coming at us faster than some might suspect. Next year’s MEBC once again promises to be bigger and better, a trend that is likely to continue for some time. Congratulations to all involved, it was a thrill to attend.

Electric Boat Companies in MEBC 2024 – click tile for links

Photo of Ampros Ampros

At Ampros we develop electric propulsion systems for those who love water travel, appreciate silence and care for the planet. Our product is a modular solution for electrifying a boat propulsion system. It is based on high-tech components, so it can be adapted to the requirements of any specific project.

Ampros electric hybrid boat

OUR SOLUTIONS ARE VERSATILE
AMPROS has an electric propulsion system for any type of boat.
We are also ready to design a custom solution for your needs.

MOTOR YACHT  •   DAY BOAT  •  SOLAR YACHT  •  SAILING YACHT  •  FERRY  •  CUSTOM

HYBRID SOLUTIONS
ICE RANGE EXTENDER
The diesel generator is an additional source of energy that can help you cover long distances without recharging in port.

HYDROGEN RANGE EXTENDER
This system has a higher energy density than pure electric and is more environmentally friendly than diesel-based range extenders.

Sokolow, Poland

 

Photo of Axopar Axopar

Axopar has joined forces with Evoy motors to produce Evoy electric version of their Axopar 25. Jan-Erik Viitala, Founding Partner of Axopar, says “Our partnership with Evoy is a perfect example of two great companies, on a joint mission, to expand the boating community and offer new ways of mobility for the future.”

Photo of Candela Candela
candela.com +46 (70) 513 65 89

Candela electric hydrofoiling speedboat and ferry

Hydrofoiling electric boats and ferries, made in Sweden.

Transforming transport on the water with technology; enabling electrification and vastly improving performance vs. combustion engines.

Our ultimate purpose is to speed up the transition to fossil fuel-free lakes and oceans by re-thinking efficiency in marine transportation to radically push the performance boundaries of electric boats and ships.

At Candela, we care about doing something good for the planet and all its species. Coming from 20 different nations, we share a conviction that kindness combined with deep knowledge in science, has revolutionary power.

Location: Lidingö, Sweden

Photo of De Antonio Yachts De Antonio Yachts
deantonioyachts.com +34 93 467 60 36

De Antonio Yachts e-23 electric boatThe most advanced technologies are used for the design, engineering, and construction in De Antonio Yachts, as well as an international team of specialists in each area. That is why the latest solutions, the highly demanded features, and the trendiest design has caused a notorious impact in the boat industry and brought De Antonio Yachts as one of the leaders in the day boat market.

The E23 is the brand’s first 100% electric boat, the beginning of a new era. An innovative model, which concept is based on maximum efficiency. Its compact proportions with a catamaran architecture integrates a foil between its hulls, giving it unique emission-free sailing performance in its segment while offering a practical and comfortable space on deck, with a careful design all throughout details and finishes. A model that combines cutting-edge technology and design

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Photo of e’dyn by Podkrižnik e’dyn by Podkrižnik

edyn-marine.com
info@edyn-marine.com
+386 3 839 15 30

Photo of Evoy Evoy
evoy.no +47 3704 8888

Evoy boat motors: 2 high performance outboards and 2 high performance inboards

ELECTRIC BOATING POWERED BY EVOY
Norway has led the world’s adoption of electric cars.
Evoy and Norway will lead the world’s adoption of electric boats.

Evoy brings “irresistible boating” to the modern boater. An experience by delivering long-lasting Electric Boat Motor systems ranging from 120-400 hp continuous, accelerating the transition to emission free, blissfully quiet and sustainable boating.

Reliable
A combustion engine has on average over 2000 parts. An Evoy motor has only 4 moving parts.

Fast-charging
Offering flexible charging solutions from standard AC to fast DC – charging in less than an hour.

Smart
Remote support & maintenance, location services, updates and charge status at your fingertips.

Photo of Goldfish Goldfish
goldfishboat.com +47 416 02 000
Photo of Inocel Inocel

INOCEL is a game-changer in the fuel cell industry, dedicated to providing clean energy solutions for a net zero future. We are committed to the development and production of hydrogen fuel cell systems that are compact, efficient, and reliable offering a real alternative to fossil fuel engines. With our cutting-edge technology, we aim to revolutionize the way we power our world for generations to come.

France

Photo of MadBlue Marine MadBlue Marine

We Design, Manufacture And Distribute Hydrogen Powered Boats.
‍We Also Bring The Specialised Expertise And Partnerships To Implement The Required Green Hydrogen Infrastructure.

Madrid, Spain

Photo of Riva Yacht Riva Yacht

Riva El Iseo electric spart boatThe formidable mix of innovation and heritage is perfectly captured by Riva El-Iseo, the brand’s first full-electric powerboat that launches the new E-Luxury segment under the banner of sustainability. Riva El-Iseo is a 27-foot (8.40 m) runabout with a maximum beam of 2.5 m and elegant and sophisticated lines, just like the much-loved and versatile Iseo from which it inherited the hull design.

Italy

Photo of SeaBubbles SeaBubbles

SeaBubbles hydrogen electric water taxiSeaBubbles designs and builds the latest generation craft with the motto “Zero Wave, Zero Noise, Zero Emission” thanks to the combination of a hybrid hydrogen-electric propulsion system and retractable foils. The SeaBubble H2 offers a sustainable mobility alternative in waterways as well as marine zones and protected areas.

Photo of Sealence Sealence

Product Range

Green Propulsion
Our innovative electric propulsion system empowered by the DeepSpeed jet:
Silent, efficient, zero emission

Green Propulsion
Our innovative electric propulsion system empowered by the DeepSpeed jet:
Silent, efficient, zero emission

Energy Management
Integrated smart system of energy storage for a better cruising experience

Photo of Sialia Yachts Sialia Yachts

Sialia 80 electric yacht

ELECTRIC YACHTING REDEFINED

DISCOVER A NEW ERA OF SUSTAINABLE YACHTING WITH SIALIA YACHTS.
Make a statement with this new breed of distinct electric yachts. Step into a world of emission-free yachting and explore the beauty of nature.

Established in 2017 by a team of visionaries, Sialia is a world-leading designer and builder of custom-built electric yachts powered by Ampros technology. The company has the technical knowledge and experience required to create the most advanced electric and ultralight yachts in the industry today.

Photo of Valkama Valkama
valkama.com +358 40 532 9219

Valkama electric picnic boat

Valkama All Electric Boat for Maximum Comfort and with Zero Emissions

A green shift in boating starts from Valkama – an electric aluminum boat with solar energy charging and storage station. Get ready for sustainable emission-free, silent and enjoyable boating!

Meet the Valkama Picnic Cruiser
The Valkama Picnic Cruiser is a hydrodynamic boat with all the right properties needed for a high-speed, long-range electric boating. The Valkama Picnic Cruiser offers the look and feel of a bigger boat. With electricity on board the Valkama Picnic Cruiser is equipped with yacht-like features such as a refrigerator, ceramic grill and high-quality sound system for enjoyable, sustainable and reasonably priced electric boating experience.

Mikkeli, Finland

Photo of VITA Power VITA Power
vita-power.com +1 (203) 685-5354

We come from a better future.

Vita was founded to reduce the impact of boating on the marine environment through the development of an all-electric and integrated ecosystem of high-performance electric powertrains and fully electric yachts, supported by dedicated marine supercharging infrastructure.

Boats

Vita Seadog: 5.8m  •  20 kt cruising speed, 30 kt top speed  •  1 hour DC charge time
Vita SEAL: 7m  •  up to 30 kts    •  charging 10% – 90% in 40 min
<aserati Tidente: 10.5m  •  up to 35 kts  •  charging 10% – 90% in < 1 hour

Motors

Vita Power’s high performance systems integrate electric marine technology with proprietary control software to deliver peak power between 100hp and 660hp and DC fast charging capabilities.

Vita systems were the first to be compatible with high-speed DC charging on both CCS 1 (US) and CCS 2 (Europe) and are among the fastest charging on the market, supercharging from 10%-90% in under an hour.

 

Exciting things are happening every day in electric boats and boating.
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