Successful sea trials for solar yacht

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The Solar Eclipse Aquanima 40 yacht, constructed by Azura Marine, has undergone a successful four-hour sea trial off the coast of Bali, Indonesia.

The boat’s builders stated that it achieved a maximum speed in excess of 8.5kts, but more importantly, was able to cruise at a steady 4.5kts, while consuming less power than was captured by its solar panel array. At this speed, it used 2kWh while the panels produced 8kWh. As a result, the vessel returned to its mooring with a fully charged battery. The company noted that throughout the sailing, navigation systems and domestic appliances were also consuming energy.

Azura Marine CEO Julien Mélot commented, “During these exceptionally difficult times with most of the world still under some form of lockdown, we are very grateful to the Balinese maritime authorities for allowing us a few hours at sea to put Solar Eclipse to the test. With around 10kts of easterly breeze and some nice swells, we were able to head out into the open Indian Ocean and put the boat through her paces.

“Admittedly, even I was surprised that we were able to immediately achieve cruise speed with such minimal power consumption giving us the clear confirmation that this is a true go-anywhere boat relying purely on the energy of the sun. It was exhilarating! The fact that the Aquanima 40, even in full spec version and fully loaded with fresh water and dive gear on board (compressor and six dive tanks), is able to achieve this energetic balance, is the holy grail of true solar-powered vessels.”

The vessel is equipped with a 10kWp solar roof and has an overall displacement of 10 tons, which the company said is currently the best ratio solar power/displacement on the blue water solar yacht market, and carries a 60kWh battery bank (available to customers either in LiFePO4 or lead-acid versions and with increased capacity), which is kept topped up by the solar roof. Theoretically, and weather permitting, this means the yacht has unlimited continuous range, with no need for shore plug-in or fossil fuels.

The yacht also carries a six-person Zodiac Cadet 310 Alu tender which is powered by Azura Marine’s own 5kW electric outboard motor, dubbed Manta 2.0, which the company said is designed and built in-house; a 10kW version is also available. The waterproof portable Li-ion battery pack for the tender is fast-charged directly from the yacht.

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