A group of Swiss people will soon attempt to realize the first Atlantic crossing with a solar boat. This ship, named "sun21," is a 14-meter-long catamaran able to sleep 5 or 6 persons. The goal is to leave Seville, Spain, in December 2006 and to reach ports in Florida and New York in the spring of 2007. This solar-powered boat will achieve its 7,000 miles trip at a speed of 5-6 knots (10-12 km/h) by using photovoltaic cells and without spending a single gallon of fuel. The consortium behind this project, Transatlantic21, wants to show that time has come for solar boats because they can easily "convert photovoltaic energy into mobility." But read more...
Here is the idea that motivated the construction of this ship, which will cost about CHF 700,000 ($556,000 or €440,000).
Demonstrating the potential of solar power is the objective of Transatlantic21. In September 2006, "SUN21", which has been constructed specifically for this purpose, will begin its journey from Basel to New York. It will be the first solar boat ever to cross the Atlantic: entirely dependent on sunlight, not consuming one drop of gasoline.
The boat is a catamaran of the MW-LINE Type C 60 built by MW-Line SA, a Swiss company which has already been built solar-powered boats for a number of years.
Below is a sketch describing "sun21" (Credit: MW-Line SA). "The boat is about 14 m long and 6.5 m wide. It sleeps 5 to 6 persons for the long journey across the Atlantic. [...] A large deck roofed with photovoltaic modules has been installed between the hulls. The boat is equipped with solar modules, batteries and motors allowing a constant speed of 5–6 knots (10–12 km/h) 24 hours a day, equivalent to the average speed of sailing yachts."
And below is a picture showing the itinerary of the ship (Credit: Transatlantic21). "The voyage will start in October 2006 with the official naming of the boat in Basel and a promotion tour along the river Rhine to Antwerp, from where "sun21" will be shipped to southern Spain. The actual record journey across the Atlantic will begin in December in Seville. The journey will proceed via the Canary Islands and Cape Verde to the West Indies and then on to Florida. The boat will continue its journey along the US coast to New York, where "sun21" is due to arrive in spring 2007, having covered about 7000 sea miles."
And what will happen to the boat after this transatlantic flight? First, it might enter the Guinness Book of Records. But more seriously, "it should continue to promote the idea of sustainable energy." And if you want to buy it, please contact the consortium: it would be more than happy to sell you an eco-friendly boat...
Source: Transatlantic21 website
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