An institution in the principality since its founding in 1953, the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) unites over 2,000 prestigious members of 66 nationalities in their love of sailing and the ocean.
The fifth edition of the Solar & Energy Boat Challenge took place in the waters before the famous Yacht Club de Monaco from 12th to 14th July. A unique event sponsored by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Hydros Foundation and International Powerboating Federation (UIM), the challenge gives young engineers an opportunity to reinvent boating to meet future energy and environmental imperatives.
“It is part of the principality’s commitment to the environment led by [the Yacht Club’s] president, Prince Albert II,” says YCM General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandri. “If we want to position Monaco as the Capital of Yachting, we need to play a part in these technologies.” This year, the endurance fleet race and timed one-on-one slalom duels were being sponsored by Bertrand Piccard, the Swiss aeronaut behind Solar Impulse.
“When I saw what they can do with foiling solar or hydrogen powered boats, which lift off the water producing some tense races, and all this without noise or pollution, I thought this is something that needs to be encouraged,” he said of the 2017 edition. For this year’s competition, the YCM has introduced a brand new concept with the Monaco Energy Class. Engineering students have been given a one-design catamaran hull for which the challenge was to build a cockpit, and design the most powerful and durable propulsion system possible from a given amount of energy. Bio fuel, battery, hydrogen, compressed air, LNG... The choice is wide, but it must be a clean source.
“The aim is to highlight the enormous potential of our young engineers supported by the shipyards,” explains Marco Casiraghi, himself an engineer and the man behind the project. “We have a common goal, which is to work together to build the leisure boats of tomorrow.”