Solar trans-Atlantic

Five mariners made history voyaging from Basel,       Switzerland, and Seville, Spain, to Miami aboard a 46-foot Swiss-built catamaran relying exclusively on solar power for propulsion and auxiliary power. The voyage to Miami lasted 117 days with stopovers in the Canary Islands, Martinique and the Caribbean. The Atlantic crossing itself – Las     Palmas to Martinique – took 29 days.

The idea for the boat and passage began in 2004 with Mark Wüst, boatbuilder and manager of MW-Line, a Swiss company specializing in solar-powered watercraft. Wüst wanted to build a motorized solar vessel capable of completing a trans-Atlantic passage with the hope of drawing attention to the advantages of solar power and the environmental problems associated with climate change. Wüst partnered with Martin Vosseler and Beat von Scarpatetti, two scientists involved in a climate change project to create transatlantic21, an association founded to realize the project and to advocate for solar power. Funding for the project was guaranteed by a group of committed individuals networked by Dr. Daniella Schlettwein in Basel.

The new boat, sun21, was built by MW-Line, Yvonand, Switzerland, and christened in Basel. With a length of 46 feet and a beam of 21 feet the catamaran is based on MW-Line’s C60 catamaran and is able to travel at between 5 and 6 knots. It was transported from Basel to Rotterdam, where it was taken by freighter to Spain to begin its journey. Sun21 and its crew of five departed Seville, Spain, on Dec. 3, 2006, and arrived at Le Marin, Martinique, Feb. 2, 2007, making it the first motorized, solar-powered vessel to successfully cross the Atlantic without burning a single drop of gasoline or diesel fuel.

After leaving Miami sun21 will travel the East Coast to New York where it will be on display for several weeks before eventually returning to Spain.

To follow the solar boat’s progress visit:

By Ocean Navigator