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Mission accomplished with historic voyage

MAY 10 — The crew of the Swiss-designed catamaran sun21made its final stop Tuesday in New York City’s North Cove Marina, and wrapped up a record-setting journey as the first motorized boat to cross the Atlantic without using a drop of fuel.

“This proves that in our modern society it is indeed possible to travel the world efficiently and still safeguard the environment,” the crew’s skipper, Michel Thonney, said at a press conference.

The 46-footer set off from the Spanish port of Chipiona Dec. 3 and arrived at the eastern Caribbeanisland of Martinique Feb. 2, officially completing its crossing of the Atlantic. From there the five-person crew continued pushing east and made several stops in the Caribbean before reaching Miami in March. They then headed north along the coast to New York.

The catamaran, an MW-Line Aquabus C60 design, was driven by two electric motors powered by battery banks charged by 48 solar panels attached to a canopy-like structure over the deck. The panels contain photovoltaic cells that convert light into electricity and, combined, can produce up to 10 kW of power. The cells are capable of producing electricity even on cloudy days.

“I feel like shouting to the world that the sun is the energy source of the future,” Thonney said at the conference. “As the skipper, I am extremely proud to have successfully completed the sun21 project.”

For more about the sun21 transatlantic journey see the July issue of Soundings, on newsstands after June 10.

Jason Fell