With the last finishers of the 2012-2013 Vendee Globe race making it in to port, our office is sad to see this awesome race coming to an end. However we see much to celebrate with the high priority placed on renewable energy by the boat ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered, which made it 98% of the way around the world without a drop of diesel! (The keel is to blame for the capsize that prevented finishing not a lack of diesel fuel)
Spaniard Javier “Bubi” Sanso, the skipper of ACCIONA, used a combination of solar panels, wind generators, and hydro generators. While many boats have some of these items, the combination of all three with a strong battery system and an electric engine allows ACCIONA to be self-reliant. A recent article from the NY Times notes the importance of having all three devices: “He will lean more on different systems as he goes,” Feliu said. “The race starts in France in the winter; that impacts the solar panel. He has less sun then when he started, but down there it’s summer and the degrees of the sun’s impact are greater. He has speed for hydro generators. There will be less wind in the tropics but more sun.”
ACCIONA was the first boat to ever be entered into the Vendee Globe with an electric engine, in fact the rules had to be changed to allow the boat into the race. We are excited to see innovators such as Sanso, his team and his sponsor, ACCIONA, pushing for change in the sport of sailing and making reducing their carbon footprint a priority in their racing!
For more information on this topic read, Eco-Power? Strangely new in Sailing, by Chris Museler.