'PlanetSolar arrival - photo by Kevin Stec'
On Friday 4th May, after precisely 32,401nm, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar arrived back into the Hercule Harbour in Monaco, thereby achieving the first around-the-world voyage with solar energy!
It was probably not planned, but appropriate, that the vast-decked, strange-looking craft arrived back at its point of departure the day before Connect-the-Dots Day, a consciousness-raising day in search of world unity on the necessity for discarding fossil fuels.
PlanetSolar crew celebrate with flares just before docking - .. .
A large crowd turned out to welcome them. The 115ft catamaran - the largest solar-powered boat ever built - crossed the finish line at 2.12pm local time.
The leader of the PlanetSolar expedition, Raphaël Domjan predictably told waiting reporters: 'We are extremely happy to have achieved this first world tour with solar energy!
'We have shown that we have the technologies as well as the knowledge to become sustainable and safeguard our blue planet.'
In her journey around the globe, PlanetSolar visited 28 countries and travelled 585 days without using a drop of fuel.
One of 28 countries - Planet Solar in Port Sudan - .. .
As well as the round-the-world record, she also holds records for the fastest crossing of the Altantic Ocean and South China Sea by solar power.
The main investor in the project, German Immo Stroeher, said: 'The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is much more than a ship. It has become an ambassador of solar energy.
'The arrival in Monaco is only the start. We now have to take advantage of the fame of PlanetSolar in order to promote the use of solar energy.'
Celebrations are planned all weekend in the principality, with Prince Albert II expected to visit.
PlanetSolar gets a dousing welcome - .. .
How it all began:
The idea of circling the world using solar power alone was long in germination.
It was back in Spring 2004 that the seed of an idea germinated in the mind of French Swiss national Raphael Domjan. The 39-year-old had trained as an electronics engineer but his interests lay in a multiplicity of directions. He was an ambulance man, jet and glider pilot and mountain guide.
In love with Nature, he was also a fervent defender of clean energy.
Like others, he felt that we rapidly need to find alternatives to our wild oil consumption but that, at the same time, the huge potential of renewable energy still need to be proven and promoted.
Inspired by his reading of Jules Verne's science fiction novel, 'Around the world in 80 Days', Raphael then imagines an extraordinary adventure: Travelling around the world aboard a ship which is being propelled by solar energy only!
The dream starts taking shape in February 2008 thanks to a meeting with German businessman M. Immo Ströher who had had a long-standing interest in solar technology.
By combining their capital, their ideas and energy, Raphaël Domjan and Immo Ströher sought to demonstrate that a motor vessel can function from today without using any fossil fuel and that this clean and eco-aware navigation has undoubtedly a commercial future.
After two years of designing and assembling in Kiel’s shipyards, this idea became a boat that remains unique so far: the Tûranor PlanetSolar.
After much hard work, the PlanetSolar project also brought together an international team made up of physicians, engineers, shipbuilders and sailors that contributed day after day to the success of first trip around the world using solar energy.
The whole journey route - 32,401nm - .. .
by Sail-World Cruising round-up
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8:22 PM Sat 5 May 2012GMT
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