HRH The Duke of Edinburgh presents the prizes

The inaugural Royal Thames Mansura Trophy has been won by the Lagoon 420 hybrid-powered catamaran from French shipyard Constrution Navale de Bordeaux. The boat is sold in the UK through Ancasta.

The design’s “ecological innovation and practicability” was recognised on Tuesday 19 February in a ceremony at London’s Royal Thames Yacht Club, when the trophy was presented to M. Loic Lagrange by HRH the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. MBY editor Hugo Andreae was among the guests.

The inspiration for the competition was Mansura, a cabin cruiser built in 1912 and driven by a petrol-electric hybrid propulsion system developed by her owner, Jack Delmar-Morgan, an electrical engineer and member of the Royal Thames Yacht Club.

Having researched the history of Mansura, marine writer Kevin Desmond persuaded Delmar-Morgan’s grandson, Julian, and David Barratt to commission a trophy to encourage hybrid boat propulsion.

With recognition from the Royal Yachting Association and launch support from The Green Blue, more than 50 projects were identified worldwide “that addressed the spirit of the rules”.

Some 25 hybrid designs were followed up in Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK and USA, leading to a final shortlist of five contestants from four nations.

Chairman of the judging panel David Arnold said: “We were faced with a number of innovative and frankly ingenious original designs or retro-conversions but it was the Lagoon 420 motor-sailing catamaran which had the commercial advantage.

“Its use of one engine, one diesel generator and a bank of batteries which recharge via propellers turned by the boat’s speed whilst under sail is simple and effective.

“The fact that Constrution Navale de Bordeaux have built over 60 Lagoon 420’s since 2003, half of which have made trans-Atlantic delivery trips, further underlines the potential.”

There was a very different approach with this year’s runner-up, a Sydney Harbour passenger ferry.

The craft has rigid photovoltaic sails supplying its electric motors, with a back-up LPG generator.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh met finalists and diplomats from the competing nations, as well as representatives from the maritime world and members of the sponsoring Royal Thames Yacht Club.

The club is already attracting competitors for the 2008 competition.

Constrution Navale de Bordeaux’s Loic Lagrange said: “We are obviously very pleased and honoured to have our ecological engineering solutions recognised by the Mansura Trophy competition.

“We continue to explore hybrid power for our designs and winning this trophy, in the face of so much international competition, is a very sweet success, especially as the trophy plinth is made from timber recovered from HMS Victory!”

Picture credit: Nicolas Claris/onEdition

www.ancasta.com