The 6 Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge takes place July 2-6th in collaboration with the Yacht Club of Monaco in the waters off Monaco. The race highlights the yacht club’s initiative to support research and development into a sustainable future for the maritime sector.

The challenge on the sea includes 34 prototypes developed by budding young engineers, working with boat building professionals, to compete in match racing, slalom and endurance races. Ashore, industry players will showcase their innovations in the exhibitor village (free entry) and discuss latest advances in propulsion systems for yachting at various conferences. The public is welcome to walk around and to see the prototypes and to follow the races live on a giant screen.

Launched in 2014 by the Yacht Club of Monaco in partnership with the International Powerboating Federation (UIM) and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge is unique in the world. For a week, students and boating professionals participate in an international competition, the goal being to imagine and develop alternatives to fossil fuel propulsion, based solely on renewable energy sources in three categories of boat: Offshore, Solar, and Energy.

Be it the energy source, the way they have optimized a design, or improved the capacity of batteries.

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There are 300 participants, representing 14 nationalities on the 34 teams. On 4 of July after an opening parade at 10.00am, the first of the contests begin: slalom, endurance, match races and the speed record, all of which can be watched from the main harbor wall of Port Hercule, in Monte Carlo.

In the Solar Class all competing boats are powered only by the sun. The Dutch Solar Boat Twente team has taken the broad view, developing a propeller that boosts their propulsion system’s efficiency by 35% compared to a conventional propeller. This year the category has no less than 19 entrants mainly from northern Europe (11 from The Netherlands) as well as two Mediterranean teams (Italy and Portugal).

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Entrants to the Offshore Class have their work cut out on an offshore course from the Principality of Monaco to Ventimiglia, Italy. TU Delft has built a modular solar trimaran (around foils, beam width, central position on the hull, etc.) to optimize their boat’s performance depending on sea conditions. There are seven teams in total, two of which are Italian, one from the Politecnico di Milano and the other from Anvera who are set to christen their boat on 4 July.

In the Energy Class, candidates have had to design a propulsion system using a renewable energy source of their choice, but all teams are restricted to work with a given amount of energy. One of the highly anticipated projects is the Monaco-based SBM OFFSHORE E Racing Team, which has been working with hydrogen to power a fuel cell—a hybrid system as the heat generated by the fuel cell is deployed to optimize the battery that is approaching a record 80% efficiency.
Launched in 2018, the Energy Class has already proved a big success with seven teams in the running, including one from the Université des Arts et Métiers d’Aix-en-Provence, one of three French teams present in this category.

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The exhibitor village is open to the public and showcases innovative sustainable technologies from ten companies working in the maritime sector. Most are already on the market and are proof that the boating sector is keen to taking sustainability seriously for the leisure boating sector.

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Through the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge, the YCM and its partners intend to play their part in finding innovative solutions to the energy and environmental challenges of the 21st century, their main target being to work towards a cleaner greener boating sector.

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