Dutch Studio Vripack is never shy of an engineering project that goes well beyond a dream. Their recent endeavour in creating a one design Solar Race boat some might even call a Fantasy!
For one this 20 foot boat doesn’t sail but she flies. Secondly, she is powered solely on energy created from the sun. And finally she is the first One Design race boat intended to start a World Wide Class of them challenging each other and the elements in an International race circuit.
Solar Powered Racing
The V20 is a light weight composite vessel with solar cells which also has the possibility to stall the sun energy in her Lithium Ion batteries or convert this energy directly to the propeller. A sophisticated battery management system assists the pilot to determine what the ideal speed is. With sufficient energy yield it is possible to cruise 100% on the sun and even recharge the battery at the same time. The boat is driven by an electro motor which powers the propeller allowing the V20 to speed up to 30 km p/h.
She’s flying high
Naval Architecture basics teach us that in order to reach higher speeds, it is important to have as little water resistance as possible. Vripack has accomplished this by adding wings or foils, to the hull of the V20 like the America’s Cup boats. By creating lift (upward pressure), the foils raise the complete hull out of the water, thus reducing drag as much as possible as drag costs energy. By trimming the tip of the wing, the optimal mode of the boat can be set. The more energy left for making speed, the sooner the boat lifts on to her foils and the faster she goes.
The boats in the V20 class are all identical except for a few strategic elements. Teams can add extras to their boats by using option packages like various foils, propellers or larger and lighter batteries, to obtain more speed than the other contestants. Besides that, a smart strategy can just make the difference, like in the Formula 1 Grand Prix races.
This innovative V20 solar boat will add a new exciting element to the 5th edition of the DONG Energy Solar Challenge, which is to take place in The Netherlands between 28th June and 5th July 2014 in which Vripack’s own Solar Team competed since six years and came in second as their best result.
With the International race circuit building up in 2014 a new and exciting race is added to the agenda: The Monte Carlo Cup which will take place on the Mediterranean waters in the Monaco bay between 10th and 13th July 2014. This race is the result of a partnership between Monaco based Solar 1 Races, The Monaco Yacht Club and Vripack.
Bart Bouwhuis and Marnix Hoekstra, directors of Vripack, explain; “The V20 is an excellent way to bring our knowledge of Solar Racing to the World in our typical Holistic approach. Our constant focus on expertise from the fields of innovation and scientific developments is important to us in order to stay focused within the delivery of high quality design, naval architecture and engineering. We don’t simply design boats we engineer fantasies.”