Time for competition

On and off the water, the third day of the 6th Monaco Solar and Energy Boat Challenge was one of pent-up excitement and constructive discussion, with qualification races taking place in the harbour and the first of three conferences in the Club.



The quays were buzzing with activity as the third day of the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge got underway. All the competition teams were out in force, checking final details of their boat before lowering them into the YCM Marina for the first time. At 10.00am every driver was behind the controls of their prototype for the Grand Parade that kicked off proceedings.

It was an important occasion for participants as it was an opportunity to show off their project but also fine-tune their machines on water before the qualifying heats in the afternoon. The parade started in the harbour before the prototypes headed out to the race area to familiarise themselves with the course, then turned in front of the Oceanographic Museum. For spectators the parade was a chance to see the different classes in action together – Solar, Energy and Offshore – and soak up the ambiance of the event.


Meanwhile ashore the first conference took place: “Sustainable management and development within the maritime environment”.  It was an excellent opportunity to show what solutions are on offer, what needs to be done, and present approaches being taken to meet challenges facing the environment, the principle idea emerging that each project must be part of a global approach to have a really positive impact. Setting the scene was the first speaker, Georgina Grenon, Director of Environmental Excellence for the 2024 Paris Olympics who outlined what the Organising Committee has planned upfront to ensure the Olympics are a model of sustainable development. They include proximity of each sport within the city and re-appropriation of existing venues to attain a key objective to be carbon neutral. Marco Casiraghi, an engineer and driving force behind the event, closed the conference with a telling comment: “An observation can be made that the means exist today to make our world a better place”.


After lunch the qualifying sessions started in earnest. Teams in the Energy Class and Solar Class had 90 minutes to do laps of a closed 0.5nm circuit and clock-up the fastest time for one lap. In the Energy Class it was the French ESTACA team with a lap-time of 1’49 and in the Solar Class the German Hochschule Emden-Leer team in 2’22 who came out on top (see results table). The qualifying race determines the pairs who will go head to head in the match race on Saturday.


While the races were going on, Energy Observer held a press conference to present Energy Observer Developments, a start-up whose main goal is to deploy clean hydrogen particularly in the maritime sector and develop other areas.


The day ended with Tech Talks, when teams can present their projects to their peers, before relaxing at Happy Hour. Awaiting them tomorrow are the Fleet Race, an Endurance Race and Speed Record, but for now those who came out top of the ranking are savouring the moment.