Solar News
Set Sail With Solar Boats
June 30th, 2011

Growing up in Maine near the coast, I did my share of boating. I wasn’t especially adept at tying knots or figuring out where I was from the stars, but one thing I did know for certain was that there was something wrong with boat designs; they were boring horseshoe shaped flotillas. Luckily, for those of us like me (I like to say I’ve a good eye for cool things), Turkish designers Hakan Gürsu and Sözüm Dogan of Designnobis have designed this concept “sailboat”.

At 105 feet long, it’s not a tiny ship by any means, and it looks more X-Wing than schooner, but that’s what helps make it so awe-inspiring. The coolest part of the concept is that it’s a zero-emission craft that doesn’t burn any kind of fuel: It runs entirely on energy harnessed from the sun and wind. The two sails are also solar panels and are controlled by an onboard computer that tracks the sun and wind for maximum power.

The lower wings hold two electric 200-horsepower engines at their tips (just in case the wind isn’t cooperating) that are powered by cells kept at the bottom of the ship’s centerboard which are used as ballast. The lower wings can retract against the side pf the ship to reduce drag for higher speed when the wind is cooperating and the sails can fold back in the event of really high winds (this thing can operate safely in winds of 60 knots, which is about 70MPH!), making the Volitan (named after a flying fish of the Mediterranean) the coolest boat I’ve ever seen.

The icing on the cake is the carbon fiber and epoxy resin hull covered in carbon foam lamination, which will give the Volitan a futuristic look; as if one was needed, right?

I think something like this might be cool enough to get me past my unreasonable fear of sharks to set sail for points unknown–maybe. What do you think? Any boat enthusiasts have any idea what a boat like that would cost? Let me know in the comments, and check out PopSci for photos.

[Source: PC World]

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