Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

Monaco hosts inaugural Solar 1 Challenge

Published on August 6, 2014 by   ·   No Comments


Action-packed innovative eco racing came to Monaco this month in the guise of the inaugural Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup 2014.  Hosted at the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM), with its brand new, snazzy Norman Foster-designed clubhouse, the Cup ran for an activity-filled three days from 10 to 12 July.


The YCM was also the official hosting partner, which comes as no surprise as the president of the Club, His Serene Highness Prince Sovereign Albert II, is well known for his environmental work.

In fact one of the main objectives of his eponymous foundation is the promotion of renewable energies.

The two days of solar races in the deep-water harbour of Port Hercule were complemented by a full programme of solar-related activities and talks.  The jetty at the end of the new Yacht Club de Monaco became a ‘Solar Village’, with exhibitions promoting the new technology and showcasing the competing yachts.


Guest of honour at the event, and the Solar1 Official Jury Boat, was the world’s largest solar boat, our old friend, MS Tûranor PlanetSolar.


26 teams signed up from as far afield as Brazil, USA and Russia, with a strong showing from the Dutch who had 16 teams competing.

The Netherlands has just finished hosting their 9th Solar challenge, the DONG Energy Solar Challenge 2014, and several of the competing teams hot-footed it down from Groningen to compete in the Solar1 in Monte Carlo.  Presumably keen to try their hand at sailing solar boats where the sun shines a bit more often.


The teams competing in the inaugural Solar1 were an eclectic mix of professionals, university students and even two teams of high school students and their teachers.  One young team travelled all the way from Laguna Creek High School in Sacramento, California, with their teacher Eric Johnson.

They are all students in his Green Energy Technology Academy and were invited to compete in Solar1 as their high school team has won the Northern California Solar Regatta for the past two years.


The Brazilian team was composed of students who all attend the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Florianópolis in southern Brazil.  This scholarly team are some of South America’s finest and are five-time-champions of the Brazilian Solar Challenge.


The Solar Challenge comprised three classes of single-crew boats each performing in three types of race: endurance, slalom and one-on-one sprint races.  After all three races had been completed; it was the Dutch who came out on top.  The Netherland teams won gold in the A and Open Classes.

CLAFIS Private Energy Solar Boat Team II came first in the Open Class, and the Dutch Solar Boat Team got gold for the A Class.  The Russian Team Beluga Powered By Synergy did exceptionally well, winning all three disciplines in the V20 Class (endurance, slalom and sprint) and were the only team at the event to score maximum points.

At the closing dinner His Serene Highness Prince Sovereign Albert II warmly congratulated all the teams:  “Thanks to your ingenuity, your technical skills and scientific knowledge, you have shown that solar-powered propulsion is a very promising solution for the future – which I hope will be developed and applied in the leisure boat industry on larger vessels.


It gives me great pride to see our Principality reviving a golden age, remembering that in 1904 the first power-boat races held here made a significant contribution to the development of the combustion engine.  Monaco remains at the forefront of new technologies in the motor-boat sector.”

For more information about the race: click here.

And about the YCM 











Readers Comments (0)


FAR COLUMN: Add Widgets