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Solar & Energy Boat Challenge: New generation and yachting industry drives future for propulsion

by WMW 15 Jun 2019 03:06 PDT 2-6 July 2019
2018 Solar & Energy Boat Challenge © Carlo Borlenghi

The clock is ticking down for participants in the 6th Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge! From 2-6 July, 33 teams will be descending on Monaco from all over the world to compete in this unique competition, including 22 universities, to imagine and build the future of yachting.

As well as contests in the bay, the Yacht Club de Monaco intends to showcase innovations and bring industry and young engineers together at conferences, Tech Talks and a village in the middle of the boat paddocks which will be open to the public.

In the wake of the first powerboat meetings held in Monaco in 1904, the YCM, in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and International Powerboating Federation (UIM), has left the field wide open to the creativity of young engineers. Working with experienced manufacturers their aim is to design and develop alternative propulsion systems for yachts, using only renewable energy sources.

Professionals and young engineers in the starting-blocks

This year 33 teams representing 14 nationalities, from all over Europe and for the first time from Indonesia, are set to take on this challenge. There will be 18 boats in the Solar Class, eight in the Energy Class and seven in the Offshore Class, with over 211 students from renowned universities and colleges like the Art et Métiers d'Aix University in Provence (France) and the Politecnico di Milano (Italy) taking part.

Solar Class: Develop a solar vision in the maritime world

Competing at every edition since the first one held in 2014, boats in the Solar Class will be involved in match racing, slalom and endurance races.

Offshore Class: Focus on the new Yachting Industry

At the same time as races take place in the bay of Monaco, Offshore boats will be competing between the Principality and Ventimiglia, Italy, in two events: a 16nm (25km) endurance race and a second 36nm (67km) event.

"This year we decided to include a second, more demanding endurance race, as these boats are becoming increasingly competitive and we wanted to encourage them to improve their performance! With this event, we want to demonstrate that it is already possible to go by sea between these two harbours without fossil fuel on boats built to be sold as a series," explains Marco Casiraghi, the man behind this project.

It will be a real test for power boats with an eco-responsible propulsion that are already marketed or are in development.

Energy Class: Build the future of propulsion

In the new Energy Class, introduced in 2018 by the YCM which supplies each team with the same hull design the challenge for students, working with industry partners, is to design the most powerful and durable propulsion system using a clean energy source of their choice, from a given quantity of energy.

A laboratory of innovation, many and varied avenues have been pursued for this 2019 edition, from fuel cells to recovering heat to improve efficiency, and artificial intelligence.

"It's very encouraging to note that the future of our planet is mobilising all generations, in all countries and all sectors. It proves attitudes are changing and that they share a common interest in environmental issues," says YCM General Secretary Bernard d'Alessandri.

As well as the on-water events, the Yacht Club de Monaco invites the industry to reflect on the challenges posed to achieve sustainable development in the yachting sector.

Tech talks and conferences to discuss in open source and improve knowledge

Keen as ever to encourage information exchange, all participants have a chance to pitch their project during daily Tech Talks that are open to the public. A jury of experts will award a number of prizes, including the Zero Emission Award and the Innovation Prize from Credit Suisse which has offered to help the winning team put together a business plan.

"It seems to us important to support these students in developing their project. For it to become reality, Credit Suisse wants to use their expertise to help them devise a business plan before they can take it on to the next crucial phase which is to get funding," explains Rosa Sangiorgio, Head of Sustainability and Impact Investing - Investment Management at Credit Suisse.

There will also be two half-days of conferences primarily intended for professionals:

4th July: Sustainable management & development within the maritime sector
5th July: Sustainable development and energy efficiency in yachting
And the 3rd UIM Workshop (International Powerboating Federation) on 6th July

The conferences are an opportunity for experts to delve deeper into topics such as clean energy, alternative propulsion systems and newbuild efficiency, and discuss latest research findings in the sector. An initiative welcomed by yacht designer and Cluster Yachting Monaco Vice-President Espen Oeino: "It's a great meeting, as it is only by working together that the industry can move forward. Today, it's only a question of time before they improve the storage capacity of a battery."

Job Dating: a networking platform generating job opportunities

Keen to expand the networking and sharing knowledge aspects year-round, the YCM has set up an online professional network where the industry can post internships and jobs.

The ZERO Emission Challenge

In collaboration with Monaco's Mairie (city council), and convinced of the value of setting an example, the Yacht Club de Monaco and its partners have thrown down the gauntlet to competitors and the Monegasque community to produce as near to zero emissions as possible during the week. Ashore and at sea, there will be many initiatives to reduce the event's carbon footprint. With this in mind, the YCM will for example not use any fossil fuel-boats all week.

An ambitious technology-focused programme to meet the environmental imperatives and energy needs of the boating and shipping industries, which has attracted attention from people outside the yachting world, like Guy Berryman, bass guitarist for rock group Coldplay who is committed to protecting the environment: "I am delighted to hear that the yachting community is mobilised, as we often talk about research and development in the automobile world but not in aviation and boats".

Provisional programme (subject to change)

Participation in the conferences is by invitation.

Forms to request an invitation can be filled in at form.jotformeu.com/91472653686367

For more information and registrations visit www.ycm.org - #monacoenergychallenge #mcsebc

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