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Solar-powered cat reaches India, ready for the pirate zone

by Sail-World Cruising on 30 Nov 2011
Planet Solar - now in Goa, heading for Mubai, then hugging the Arabian coastline to avoid pirates .. .
Sailing teen Laura Dekker may have taken the Africa route, but Turanor PlanetSolar, the Swiss flagged, extraordinarily shaped solar-powered 35m yacht which has already crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, has reached India and is now docked in Aguada Bay in Goa.

This Indian stopover will also mark the end of its oceanic navigation. To reach Monaco May 2012, the solar boat will take a coastal course along the Arabian Peninsula, the Red Sea and finally the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal. By hugging the coastline the large yacht will seek to avoid potential contact with Somali pirates.

After more than 24,000nm by solar power, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar has made a brief stop, waiting for weather before it continues up the coastline of India heading for Mumbai, which it expects to reach sometime between the 2nd and the 5th December.

The boat left Monaco on the 27th September 2010. It then stopped in Miami, Cancun, Bora Bora, Brisbane, Manila, Hong Kong, Singapore, Phuket and Colombo.

During the stay the crew of PlanetSolar expects to meet the media and the local authorities and share their vision of a world where ecology and economy have to work in synergy to contribute to the development of clean energies.

Despite the numerous challenges that the crew has to overcome everyday and the sometimes severe weather conditions, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is collecting records and awards. The Swiss project has received the prestigious flag of the Explorers Club, certifying the pioneering and courageous spirit of the expedition.

In addition, by joining Singapore to Mumbai, PlanetSolar has celebrated with success the first crossing of the Strait of Malacca as well as the one of the Bay of Bengal by a boat propelled only by solar energy.

PlanetSolar is also the first solar boat to attempt the crossing of the Indian Ocean, thus showing day after day the formidable potential of the sustainable ways of transportation.

About PlanetSolar:
PlanetSolar was initiated by the Swiss man Raphaël Domjan and its headquarters are in Yverdon-les-Bains in Switzerland. The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, built in Kiel in Germany, is a catamaran functioning solely with solar energy.

It is covered with 572 m2 of photovoltaic cells. After two years of design and construction, PlanetSolar is at the origin of numerous technological progresses, notably in the domain of the fabrication of composite materials and in the storage of the solar energy.

PlanetSolar is funded mainly by private partners, such as the Swiss watches company Candino and the German specialist in management of solar energy Immosolar, but also by public institutions such as the Swiss Confederation through Presence Switzerland. For its world tour, PlanetSolar is turning to the weather forecasts of MétéoFrance. An innovative routing software was specifically conceived for this expedition.

Specifications of MS Tûranor PlanetSolar
• Length: 35 m / Width: 23 m
• Height: 6.10 m / Weight: 95 t
• Solar Panels: 38'000 with 22,6% yield
• Maximum engine power: 120 kW
• Average Engine: 20 kW (26.8 HP)
• Crew: min 4 people

More information about this ambitious project, in which achievement of the plan to make Turanor Planet Solar the first solar-powered yacht ever to circumnavigate the world is getting closer and closer, can be obtained on their www.planetsolar.org!website.
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