Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

PlanetSolar - four days faster across the Atlantic

by Planetsolar/Sail-World Cruising on 19 May 2013
Planetsolar arriving in St Martin .. .
PlanetSolar, the huge alien-looking vessel powered completely by solar power, reached St. Martin and beat its own record speed for a solar-powered trans-Atlantic crossing! It has to be said that, because there aren't any other vessels remotely resembling PlanetSolar, the record was a closed-shop affair. Still, it was good to know that they are four days more skillful, technologically superior - or lucky - since the last time they crossed the Atlantic.

After leaving Las Palmas (Spain) on April 25 at 11:00 pm (local time), the largest solar boat in the world reached Marigot, St. Martin (French West Indies) on May 18, at 6:32 am (local time), 22 days later. A new feat for the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar who broke her own world record speed for a solar-powered transatlantic crossing, set in 26 days during her trip around the world.

This new achievement is part of PlanetSolar's commitment to pushing the limits of technology even further during her 2013 missions, and above all, is a confirmation of the ship's improvements following maintenance and optimization work. The ship will remain docked in the idyllic Fort Louis Marina in Marigot from May 18 – 22. She will then head for Miami (United States), where she will begin her 'PlanetSolar DeepWater' scientific expedition along the Gulf Stream.

During the trip around the world (2010-2012), the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar sailed for 26 days from one side of the Atlantic to the other, thereby claiming the world record speed for a solar-powered transatlantic crossing and her first entry in the Guinness World Records™. It hasn't been broken since. It was not until 2013 that the largest solar boat in the world repeated the trip to realize a new global accomplishment: 22 days, 12 hours, and 32 minutes. Having left from Las Palmas (Spain) on April 25, 2013, the ship sailed 2867 miles (5310 km) across the Atlantic Ocean at the average speed of 5.3 knots before reaching Marigot (St. Martin, French West Indies) on May 18th. This new record is currently undergoing an authorization process at Guinness World Records™.

During the transatlantic crossing, the crew encountered phases of substantial cloudiness for several consecutive days, and regularly had to optimize their route. The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar's captain, Gérard d'Aboville, explains that 'it was necessary to make a significant deviation to the south, which increased the travelling distance by 7%, but enabled us to avoid winds and unfavorable swells.' Furthermore, the ship's energy consumption had to be carefully managed in order to maintain an efficient speed and reach St. Martin in less than 26 days.

It is with great pride that the crew set foot on dry land after 22 days at sea: 'Once again, the boat provided a brilliant demonstration of solar energy's potential by breaking its own speed record for a transatlantic crossing set in 2010, improving it by 4 days, 6 hours, and 38 minutes. It is difficult to compare the two crossings because they were conducted at very different times of the year. But it is certain that in light of the lessons learned during the trip around the world, the major maintenance projects carried out last winter—particularly to the propulsion system—have greatly improved the ship's performance. She will now travel to Miami to begin her second life as part of an exploratory mission along the Gulf Stream current conducted by the University of Geneva,' said Gérard d'Aboville.

The arrival of the largest solar boat in the world was also cause for celebration in St. Martin. In preparation for her arrival, PlanetSolar was able to count on support from the Fort Louis Marina as well as from the St. Martin Tourism Office. Upon her arrival, PlanetSolar received a welcome as warm as her destination.

What's next: 'PlanetSolarDeepWater', a scientific expedition on the route of the Gulf Stream:
After this West Indian stopover, the solar catamaran will head to Miami (United States) to begin the 'PlanetSolar DeepWater' scientific expedition. From June to August 2013, a team led by Professor Martin Beniston, climatologist and director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), will sail along the Gulf Stream ocean current, one of the most important regulators of the European and North American climates, covering over 8,000 kilometers from Miami (United States) to Bergen (Norway), by way of New York (United States), Boston (United States), and Reykjavik (Iceland). A continuous series of physical and biological measurements will be taken in the air and water to study the key parameters of climate regulation, especially atmospheric aerosols and phytoplankton. Powered by solar energy, the ship does not emit any polluting substances that could distort the data collected.

The scientists' objective is to understand the complex interactions between physics, biology, and climate, eventually enabling them to refine climate simulation, especially as it relates to energy exchanges between the ocean and the atmosphere. Furthermore, the project will raise the general public's awareness of climate issues by developing educational activities and resources.

About PlanetSolar:
The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, built in Kiel, Germany, is a catamaran powered exclusively by solar energy. On May 4, 2012, after sailing for 584 days and travelling over 60,000 km, PlanetSolar completed the first solar-powered trip around the world.

With her 2013 expeditions in sight, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar underwent major maintenance operations. Among the extensive maintenance tasks and optimizations carried out, noteworthy are the cabin refurbishment, the creation of a walkway on the solar bridge, and an increase to water tank capacity. The most significant optimizations were related to the propulsion system—the surface propellers were replaced by a completely immerged system, and the new rudder system ensures excellent maneuverability.

The ship's improvements will broaden and diversify her applications and will enable her to navigate to the northernmost point of the Atlantic for the first time.

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is welcoming aboard an entirely new crew: Gérard d'Aboville (Captain), Stéphane Marseille (Second), Antoine Simon (electrical engineer), and Hugo Buratti (seaman and steward). During the 'PlanetSolar DeepWater' expedition, the UNIGE scientific team will round out the crew.

In order to fund the 2013 campaign, PlanetSolar SA is supported by the University of Geneva, Ciel électricité, Switcher, the Swiss AOC-IGP Association, Younicos, Plantbacter, Actides, GoPro, Jean-René Germanier SA, BCCC Avocats, Tempur, Hempel, Présence Suisse, Energissima, l'UIM, YELLO, and Waste Free Oceans.

About the University of Geneva:
Founded in 1559 by Jean Calvin and Théodore de Bèze, the University of Geneva (UNIGE) is now the second largest 'Haute École' in Switzerland, and ranks among the top 100 universities in the world. Crown jewel of the Calvin community, the institution enjoys a privileged international reputation and cultivates its openness to the world. UNIGE welcomes approximately 16,000 students each year to its eight colleges, dealing with the essential domains of science, medicine, literature, economic and social sciences, law, theology, psychology, education, translation, and interpretation sciences. UNIGE has three missions: education, research, and service to the community. Additionally, UNIGE has been a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) since 2002.

For more information about Planetsolar go to http://www.planetsolar.org and for more information about the University of Geneva, to to http://www.unige.ch

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted today at 5:56 am
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
Pantaenius – Smooth sailing is more than a favourable weather forecast
Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia As Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia, we get to see why they continue to grow their happy crew of customers. Sitting down with Pantaenius Australia’s MD, Jamie MacPhail, you immediately get a sense that the smooth sailing is a direct result of both their unique product and the marketplace’s willingness to embrace the better mousetrap
Posted on 27 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearBakewell-White Yacht DesignPhuket Raceweek 2016 660x82