Just as Swiss/German inspired spectacular-looking Turanor PlanetSolar has completed the world's first ever circumnavigation on a craft powered by solar alone, a new venture is being prepared to traverse the entire 'Great Loop' of the United States in a very different-looking solar craft.
Solar Odyssey in the construction phase
The Solar Odyssey Expedition consists of a six-man crew, headed by adventurer Skipper Jim Greer, tech gurus Philip Hodgetts and Dr. Gregory Clarke and oceanographer and movie special effects wizard, Greg Kimble.
They are preparing to embark on a six-month solar-powered odyssey which will take them from Florida North along along the Intracoastal Waterway, along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina; then up the Hudson River to traverse the Great Lakes and the canals that join them, down the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, up the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, then down the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to Mobile, then eastwards back to Florida.
The historic journey will take place on a custom-built multi-hull craft designed by Skipper Jim and built by A&M Manufacturing with custom installations by SeaTec and Roost USA.
On May 20th (day 1) the crew will depart from Old Town, Florida and begin the 130 day trip.
In order to qualify for the world's record, the boat will travel during the day only on electricity that is exclusively generated by solar power. No plugging-in allowed on this adventure! If all goes well, it will be the first time this has ever been done and the crew hopes to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the first solar-powered vessel to complete the Great Loop.
The entire journey will be filmed for a documentary series by Intelligent Assistance’s Philip Hodgetts and Greg Clarke, using unmanned camera systems from Hoverfly Technologies, Inc., Sony FS100 cameras for primary shots and Sony’s NEX 7s for secondary coverage.
The crew is optimistic, but the journey will most certainly be filled with challenges and triumphs, not to mention an occasional 'personality' conflict as we these alpha males are secluded in very close quarters for six months.
However, whatever the outcome, it will certainly point the way for solar yachts to complete the circuit in the future.
A complete itinerary, daily blog and details of the production can be found on the Solar Odyssey website at http://www.thesolarodyssey.com/