GOOD FUN IN THE SUN
Like millions of kids before me, I was enthralled by Jules Vernes' Around the World in Eighty Days. So of course this modern-day version of sorts caught my eye. Wired.com explains in this piece titled "Around the World in a Solar Boat":
"A seafaring band of scientists, engineers and yachtsmen with an obsession for Jules Verne and clean energy are building what they call the largest solar boat in the world, a $13 million catamaran they hope will take them around the world next year.
Construction is well underway on the 98-foot-long vessel, which will feature 5,059 square feet of photovoltaic cells. The project is being funded by Rivendell Holding AG, a Swiss firm that invests in renewable energy, simply to prove it can be done and the shipping industry can reduce its dependence on fossil fuel.
The team plans to circumnavigate the globe at the equator in 120 days at an average speed of 10 knots. Should they succeed, Planet Solar will set a maritime milestone. Solar electric pleasure boats have been tooling around lakes for awhile now, solar electric ferries are increasingly common and a solar electric catamaran called Sun 21 crossed the Atlantic in 29 days. But so far no one's made it around the world in a solar electric boat..."
"Solar boats are a viable form of transportation for the future," Delia Collardi, a spokeswoman for the project, told Wired.com. "Our society is too dependent on fossil fuels, which are in limited supply and which are causing measurable negative effects on the earth's atmosphere. It's now time to demonstrate the potential that renewable energies have to offer in the area of mobility."
The piece goes on to add:
"Collardi says the vessel will have enough power to carry skipper Raphael Domjan, the 37-year-old founder of Planet Solar, and navigator Gerard d'Aboville. Both men are accomplished sailors and adventurers who, according to a press release, "want to be the Phileas Fogg" of the 21st Century.
Fogg, of course, was the adventurous main character Around the World in Eighty Days, Jules Verne's novel about a man who travels by train, balloon, steamer and even elephants to circle the globe in record time and win a bet."
The project goes on to add a grand historical gesture:
"Verne's great-grandson Jean Verne has signed on to the project, which organizers say represents "humanity's hope for a better future."
The route for the trip is still being finalized, but it's supposed to come through New York. Can't wait.