Marine

Solar-powered ship beats its own trans-Atlantic speed record

Solar-powered ship beats its o...
The Turanor PlanetSolar arrives at the town of Marigot on the island of St. Martin
The Turanor PlanetSolar arrives at the town of Marigot on the island of St. Martin
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The Turanor PlanetSolar spent 22 days, 12 hours, and 32 minutes traveling 2,867 miles (5,310 km) crossing the Atlantic Ocean
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The Turanor PlanetSolar spent 22 days, 12 hours, and 32 minutes traveling 2,867 miles (5,310 km) crossing the Atlantic Ocean
The catamaran beat its 2010 record set between the same two locations by 4 days, 6 hours, and 38 minutes
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The catamaran beat its 2010 record set between the same two locations by 4 days, 6 hours, and 38 minutes
The Turanor PlanetSolar arrives at the town of Marigot on the island of St. Martin
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The Turanor PlanetSolar arrives at the town of Marigot on the island of St. Martin
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With its previous circumnavigation of the planet, it had already set the record for longest distance traveled by a purely solar-powered boat. Now, the Tûranor PlanetSolar (which is also the world’s largest solar-powered watercraft), has broken its own 2010 record for fastest Atlantic crossing by a solar-powered boat.

As part of a scientific expedition that began last month, the catamaran set out from Las Palmas, Spain on April 25th. It proceeded to spend  22 days, 12 hours, and 32 minutes traveling 2,867 miles (5,310 km) across the Atlantic Ocean, before reaching the island of St. Martin in the French West Indies on May 18th.

The catamaran beat its 2010 record set between the same two locations by 4 days, 6 hours, and 38 minutes
The catamaran beat its 2010 record set between the same two locations by 4 days, 6 hours, and 38 minutes

With its two electric motors receiving power from 537 square meters (5,780 sq ft) of photovoltaic panels, the 31-meter (102-ft) long, 15-meter (49-ft) wide ship maintained an average cruising speed of 5.3 knots – although it’s capable of going as fast as 14 knots. The crew didn’t simply take the shortest route between the start and finish, but instead had to optimize their course to avoid unfavorable winds and swells. Doing so increased the traveling distance by a reported 7 percent.

Nonetheless, the Tûranor PlanetSolar still managed to beat its 2010 record set between the same two locations 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,” said Captain Gérard d’Aboville. “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.”

The catamaran will now continue on to Miami, to take part in a study of the Gulf Stream current.

Source: PlanetSolar via Inhabitat

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6 comments
6 comments
BigGoofyGuy
IMO; that is not only way cool but also very green.
Bernd Kohler
I never will understand this stupidity. Nothing cool about it. The fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a sailboat was in 3 days, 15 hours and 25 minutes. Average speed 32,94 knots. Green ? dispose of solar cells. So what we are talking about ?
Ikarus
Ashley Zinyk
22 days doesn't seem very fast. A wooden schooner did it in 12 days, more than 100 years ago, and as Bernd mentions, the sailing record is now below 4 days.
The place of a solar panel on a green boat is for keeping your computer running. It's a silly prime mover when you have the wind at your disposal.
bf_308
And when there is no wind?
Richard Dicky Riddlebarger
A 22 day trans Atlantic crossing --- a step back in time. I would add one of those big forward mounted masts with a retractable sail like what is now being used on some mega ocean freighters. If those big pulling sails work to save fuel on big ships, it should aid in boosting top speed for the Tûranor PlanetSolar.
Slowburn
re; bf_308
Auxiliary power or wait just like if there is no sunlight.