Solar boat races win UIM environment award

March 26, 2019

At its annual World Champions and Special Awards dinner last evening, the  world’s powerboating authority – UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) presented its Environmental Award to the Yacht Club de Monaco in recognition of it ground-breaking and educational Monaco Solar and Energy Boat Challenge. The award was presented by H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco and UIM President Dr. Raffaele Chiulli.

Other Special Mentions in the environment category went to Silent Yachts (which is also a finalist in the upcoming OCEAN Awards), X-Shore and Jaguar Vector Racing (who broke the world electric speed boat record).

HSH Prince Albert of Monaco presents an award to the President of the Monaco Yacht Club
Mr. Bernard d’Alessandri of the Yacht Club de Monaco accepts the UIM Award

The Challenge was started in 2014 as the Monaco Solar Challenge and was an outgrowth of the Dong Energy Challenge for solar boat racing started in the Netherlands in 2006. These races were started as a way to encourage university students to explore the combination of solar power with marine propulsion in an exciting and competitive way.

In 2017 Monaco added the Offshore Class, inviting industrialists to showcase their innovations and in 2018 the Monaco Energy Class was initiated. This is an offshore race, from Monaco to Ventimiglia, Italy,  in which electric boots not powered by the sun are allowed to compete as well as other non ICE powered boats. The name of the event was altered to reflect the changes and is now the Monaco Solar and Energy Boat Challenge.

Event also shows off other technologies

The 2018 event saw 29 teams competing, from Poland, Belgium, Indonesia, Portugal, Monaco, France, Italy, England, Hungary and the Netherlands. In addition to university teams, which compete in races overseen by Solar Sport One there were electric boats from Innovations Ernesto Riva,  Say Yachts, and the first demonstration of Plastic Odyssey, a boat powered solely by plastic waste that sets off this June from Marseille on a three year round-the-world expedition.

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The university students in the Solar Class races at Monaco also participate in ‘Tech Talks’ and presentations in which they take the teams through the elements of their design, the innovations they have added and other results intended to grow knowledge about solar power boats with an open source mindset.

The races are set this year for July 3 to 6 in Monaco’s magnificent Port Hercule harbour. They will feature 4 days of racing in three classes:

  • Solar Class: This year, the endurance fleet race and timed one-on-one slalom duels over the three days in Monaco Bay are being sponsored by Bertrand Piccard. He is the man behind Solar Impulse, the first fuel-less zero-emissions plane with limitless autonomy – invaluable recognition for competitors.
  • Energy Class: The Yacht Club de Monaco, in collaboration with Engineering students working with industrialists are given a one-design catamaran hull specially designed for this competition.
  • Offshore Class: At the same time as the races in the bay there is an offshore race, which this year takes participants to Ventimiglia in Italy. Boats must be able to take three people and meet technical specifications defined in collaboration with the UIM.

Find out more about the races on the Monaco Energy and Solar Boat Challenge website.

Photo Credits: @mesiBD, Monaco Energy & Solar Boat Challenge

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