The solar boat racing championship season is over, and international solar boat racing organization Solar Sport One has announced the World Cup winners in each of its three race classes.
But first a word about Solar Sport One and a quick history of the sport of solar boat racing.
To be clear, the boats in the races do not run on the sunlight available during the race. Rules dictate that the boats must have solar panels that in turn charge batteries within a certain time frame. It is verified by the judges that the batteries have been charged only through the panels (no plug-ins!) and then the electric motors are powered by the existing battery charge.
First races 25 years ago in 1994
The first solar boat races were launched in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, in 1994, with the introduction of the Solar Splash. The 25th running of the event took place this year in Springfield Ohio USA with Cedarville University edging out the University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez to win the championship by 1.56 points out of 1000.
In 2004 solar boat racing came to Europe when the energy department of the province of Frysia, Netherlands, worked with the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and patterned their event along the canal route of famous 24 hour marathon skating race. (The current TU Delft team designed a solar powered trimaran this year to cross the English Channel)
In 2014 the Yacht Club de Monaco agreed that solar boat racing and the technology’s optimistic and exciting view of the future was a fitting way to continue the Club’s century-old reputation for being at the forefront of boating technology. (Click »» here for the results of this year’s races)
The events are now overseen by Solar Sport One, who introduced different classes of races: Top Class, Open Class, and V20 Class, which is a race between boats with standardized hulls designed by the renowned yacht design firm VriPack.
Participation has grown every year, and while the races are still focussed on university teams, there are also alumni teams participating along with some commercial entries like the Clafis Victron Energy solar boat ‘Furia’.
Enough of the history – this is who won!
The final race of the SS1 season took place last weekend (Sept 6 &7) in Drechtsteden, Netherlands as part of the annual FLOW maritime student fair. Sixteen international teams – with one entry travelling from Indonesia! – competed for the Solar Sport One World Cup.
With the weather not cooperating fully – it was mainly dry but sporadically sunny – the teams had to make the best of things and they rose to the challenge. As in any series championship that aggregates the results of previous races, the front runners had the advantage. But there were some upsets during the weekend races that led to some nervous leaders and some shifts in the overall rankings.
Congratulations to all teams for advancing electric marine propulsion with innovation and energy – including their own.
As Marcelien Bos – De Koning, Solar Sport One Chief Solar Officer said, “With the conclusion of these races we wrap up another exciting season. Through these solar boat races we give a face to the energy transition and we look forward to growing these events and a sustainable future for all.”
RESULTS of the Drechtsteden Solar Boat races:
- SDOG Racing Team
- Dutch Solar Boat Team
- Sunderbird Solar Boat Team Emden
- Sunflare Solarteam
- Spectrum Solarteam
- Sinnergy Solar Team – ROC Friese Poort
- DB-20 Solar Boat Racing
- New Nexus Solar Racing Team
- Engineers of Innovation
OVERALL Solar Sport One World Cup Championship Rankings