Solar Sport One, the international body overseeing solar boat races, has announced that registration is open for this year’s races in the Netherlands.
Specific locations have not been absolutely finalized, but the series will include these events:
- June 21 and 22: Purmerend/Beemster
- June 28 and 29: Northern part of The Netherlands
- September 6 and 7: Southern part of The Netherlands
Registration closes May 1 so that the panel of technical judges can prepare for mandatory inspections of the entered boats on May 12th. Interested teams can sign up »» here
Solar boat races an international event
While the Solar Sport series largely takes place in the Netherlands, it is an international challenge that includes competitors from Hungary, Poland, Belgium Portugal, and even Indonesia.
The mission is to promote a broad, significant and positive impact for society as a whole, and encompasses everything from primary school projects to commercial scale solar-electric boat competitions to promote “sustainability, mutual inspiration and daring to be different.”
The Solar Sport One theme, stated enthusiastically by Chief Solar Officer Marcelien Bos-de Koning, is that “innovation of today is energy for tomorrow”. Interest grows every year in the wide range of events and activities available.
Check out this video of the V20 Class boats, designed by VriPack
Four classes of solar boat races & activities
In the Mini-Solar project, students (10-12 yrs) build their own solar-power driven mini-boats and test the buoyancy and velocity of their design.
The Young Solar Challenge is a STEM program for high school students 14-17 who construct solar-powered boats in extra-curriculum programs. They are provided with a construction kit along with three in-depth classes with presentations and instruction by electric and mechanical engineering experts.
Participants in the Solar Sport One A Class are teams from colleges and universities. Solar panel and battery sizes in this class are strictly controlled but the students have latitude to innovate and experiment with electrical control systems and propulsion configuration such as hydrofoils and motor placement.
The V20 Class employs a design specific boat, much like a Formula 1 Formula E auto race. This restricts the more obvious opportunities to get an advantage and thereby deepens the areas of innovation.
The Top Class is essentially an open competition that pushes the envelope of what solar-electric powered boats can achieve. The world speed record is an impressive 26.6 knots (30.2 mph/ 49.2 kmh) attained by the Clavis Victron entry last year.
In 2018 a total of 30 teams entered and competed in the A, V20 and Top classes, while over 25 schools participated in the Young Solar and Mini-Solar programs.
The highest profile of the Solar Sport One monitored events – at which many of these boats will compete – is the Monaco Solar and Energy Boat Challenge, which has taken place at the Monaco Yacht Club since 2014. This year’s challenge is scheduled for July 2 to 6.
Photo Credit: Carlo Borelnghi