PlanetSolar completes round-the-world cruise on sun power

The largest solar-powered boat ever built pulled into Monaco in March, completing a year-and-a-half-long voyage around the world, powered exclusively by energy from the sun.

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The largest solar-powered boat ever built, the all-composite Tûranor PlanetSolar catamaran, completed the final leg of its global circumnavigation, pulling into the port of Monaco on March 5, more than a year and a half and 30,000 nautical miles after leaving Monaco on the first-of-its-kind yachting adventure. The Swiss-built catamaran traversed the world powered only by solar energy. To celebrate the success of the unique project, a gala is planned May 4-6 at Monaco’s Hercule Harbor.

Initiated and led by adventurer Rapahël Domjan, the PlanetSolar project was headquartered in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland. The vessel’s flat superstructure is covered with 537m2 (5,780 ft2) of photovoltaic panels. After two years of design and then construction in Kiel, Germany, Tûranor incorporates many technological advances, especially in the field of composite manufacturing and solar energy storage. Funding for the build and voyage was provided by private partners, including Swiss watchmaker Candino and German energy management specialist Immosolar, as well as public institutions, including the Swiss Confederation and Présence Suisse.

Notably, the final leg of Tûranor’s journey took it through the still pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden, just north of Somalia, before crossing the Red Sea, with stops in the Egyptian cities of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, passing through the Suez Canal, and entering the Mediterranean Sea for its final run to Monaco.

A relieved Domjan said, “We made the difficult crossing of the Gulf of Aden! I warmly thank the six men in charge of our security on board, they have been our guardian angels for more than a month.”

HPC took a look at the design of the Tûranor in HPC November 2011 (p. 62); visit short.compositesworld.com/AsFNW9la