SEE PICTURES: Solar-powered boat makes first milestone

PlanetSolar is approaching the Straits of Gibraltar as it completes the first week of its attempt to become the first solar powered boat to circumnavigate the world. Raphaël Domjan, the project’s founder and initiator, is one of six men aboard the boat and says that their goal is to navigate around the world at an average speed of 7.5 knots.

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“It’s a technological challenge”, said Patrick Marchesseau, the boat’s skipper, “one I want to participate in”. PlanetSolar’s electric motors and onboard systems are powered solely by electricity generated by 537m² of solar panels covering almost all the upper surfaces of the boat.

The 31m catamaran, built by Knierim Yacht Club in Kiel, has already encountered lively seas and up to 40 knot winds since setting off from Monaco. It will make its first stopover in Miami, with further stops planned for Cancun, San Francisco, Sydney, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, and the voyage is expected to take around 160 days.

You can monitor PlanetSolar’s progress on www.planetsolar.org/be-part-of-it-follow.en.php