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Racing Solar Boats: Solar Power’s Time in the Sun

The Solar1 Monte-Carlo Cup will take place July 10 -12. It will feature races for three categories of ­solar-powered craft and competitors ranging from college students to longtime racing professionals.

May 23, 2014
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All styles of competitive racing have sparked innovation. NASCAR brought faster and safer cars, the space race put a man on the moon, and the most recent America’s Cup brought us 72-foot, 40-plus-knot foiling sailboats.

Now, entrepreneur and CEO of Solar1 yacht racing Sergei Dobroserdov hopes his newest race, the Solar1 Monte-Carlo Cup, will shed light on how best to utilize solar energy.

“Solar1 races were created to promote the use of solar power in our everyday lives, which I strongly believe in,” says Dobroserdov. “I see [the Monte-Carlo Cup] as a great opportunity to animate and excite a new generation while also focusing its attention to important issues such as renewable energy.”

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The Solar1 Monte-Carlo Cup will take place July 10 -12. It will feature races for three categories of ­solar-powered craft and competitors ranging from college students to longtime racing professionals.

One of the categories will highlight a vessel known as the V20, the self-proclaimed world’s first one-­design solar racer. At 19 feet long, the V20 is sure to turn heads with her red paint job and 22 solar panels adhered to sharp wings that protrude from the centered helm. And that’s before the craft lifts up onto her three (America’s Cup-style) hydrofoils and soars above the water at nearly 30 knots.

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When not tearing up the racecourse, V20s are being used more frequently as superyacht tenders because of their 5-inch draft and fossil-fuel-free power plants.

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The first winner of the Solar1 Monte Carlo-Cup is to be determined, however, if this sporting event brings us innovative uses of solar energy, it’s the earth that comes in first.

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