The Solar Circumnavigator ups the stakes and ups the pace:
Anthony Howarth announced today that he will attempt two voyages with The Solar Circumnavigator solar boat in 2011.
The first voyage will be round the world with assistance (with stops) via the two canals, Panama and Suez. Assuming this solar circumnavigation benchmark is satisfactorily set, he will, in the best tradition of the legendary *Bernard Moitessier, starting in the same year and in the same boat, attempt a round the world voyage, non-stop via the southern ocean, no fuels on board, powered only by photovoltaics.
"It is time to up the stakes and up the pace" Anthony said today in Charente Maritime, SW France.
"Voyages with stops via the canals are cool, but they can never be THE REAL THING. As for pace? I have revised my target for the first voyage: Start to finish, including time lost in stops and the canals, in 100 days.
We are ten years into the twenty-first century and these targets represent engineering problems governed by normal Newtonian mechanics and a bit of nerve and a bit of luck, not exactly rocket science. If there is to be any hope for the planet and the future of the Human race, we have to be able to do substantially better with a solar powered boat in 2011 than my best 1990 solar round the world voyage predictions of 150 days!"
Round the world in 80 days
Anthony Howarth, who identifies himself on his Solar Circumnavigator vlogs as, Tony Solar, added, "For the second voyage to have any useful meaning it must, again, be powered only by photovoltaics. No hybridisation, no hydrogen fuel cells or use of bio-fuel. No net greenhouse gas generating alternatives, just passive photovoltaics of the most efficient and short energy pay-back kind available."
"And, obviously, for the non-stop voyage via the southern ocean we have no option to look at anything more than 80 days. Jules Verne has a lot to answer for, but it is too late, the die is cast. The voyage must take no more than 79 days and change. Or fail in the attempt!"
Bernard Moitessier competed in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the first singlehanded non-stop round the world sailing race, in 1968. He probably would have won the race, but, after rounding Cape Horn well ahead of the eventual winner's time and while starting to head for the finish point, he changed his mind and changed course. Instead of finishing he sailed back to the southern ocean and eventually stopped in Tahiti. The English sailor, Robin Knox-Johnston, won the race and thus established a reputation and a career that eventually lead to his becoming Sir Robin. Moitessier's all steel boat, Joshua, can be seen at the maritime museum in La Rochelle.
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