Apparently, the legendary Monaco Grand Prix is about to become seriously old school. Vripack, the Monaco Yacht Club and Solar1Races are teaming up to launch the first solar-powered yacht race this July in the storied Riviera city.
The event evolved out of the Dong Energy Solar Challenge in Holland, which had a hobby-level class and a professional cruising class that drew some expensively built entries. For the new race, Vripack developed a V20 series of hydrofoil boats to create a new division, testing the racer’s skills instead of the builder’s pockets.
A 19-foot V20 takes about six weeks from order to delivery, which means there’s still time for anyone to get one and compete in the July 10-12 race at Monaco. Each V20 has a carbon hull and solar cells along with adaptable systems that racers can adjust to gain an edge. Solar panels are the boat’s only energy source.
Some solar yachts competing in previous races have hit 27 mph. The V20s (built at about a third of the cost and sold for about $75,000 apiece) have a top end of 18 mph.
So far, four teams are entered in the inaugural Solar1Races. Check out the race details and some cool video footage of solar-powered boats in action at www.solar1races.com.