Monaco has always been known for the most exciting Formula One Grand Prix finals and also for its annual yacht show. This time of the years some of the world’s most fascinating, luxurious and largest sailboats adorn the Port Hercule. However put your seatbelts on this summer, for the Solar1 Races and Vripack are combing the both to bring to you, the first time ever, solar-powered, yacht Grand Prix at the solar1 race. This is scheduled to take place from July 10 to July 12.
The origin of the solar-powered races can be traced back to 2006, the Dong Energy Solar Challenge in Holland. This race originally had two divisions: the hobby-level cruising class and a professional yachting class whose cost made it prohibitive for most of the competitors. After three years in the hobby-level, Vripack came up with an idea of uniform racing. This third level would be for testing the skill of the sailor and not the craftsmen. All the boats designed would be of the same calibre and hence provide a uniform ground for testing.
For this new platform the Vripack designing team has come up with the new V20 series, which has a molded carbon frame and as many solar panels as possible for powering the boat. “There’s not that much boat” as Droogsma says comparing the standard V20 and the Navy vessels that Vripack also build. This V20 takes a mere one and a half month to build because it lacks the complex onboard systems. This is set to reach 18 mph which is 9mph less than the standard professional yachts, but is also just one-third the price of the latter. This also saves up the cost of fuel as the concept of solar power is no longer hypothetical, now all we can hope for is a sunny day.