So­lar boat picks the right time to shine

NT News - Motoring - - MARINE GUIDE -

DOMINIC de Vries was in a mi­nor­ity of one at the Sanc­tu­ary Cove In­ter­na­tional Boat Show, but the man be­hind one of the world’s first fully so­lar-pow­ered cruiser cata­ma­ran’s be­lieves that will change in years to come.

‘‘As you can see, 99 per cent of the boats here have con­ven­tional en­gines but each year more and more peo­ple are in­ter­ested in what we’re do­ing,’’ the Al­l4So­lar pro­ject man­ager said.

‘‘When we started in Aus­tralia four years ago, a lot of peo­ple would say, ‘Oh, it’s not go­ing to work’ but we haven’t had one per­son say that at this year’s boat show. Ev­ery­one knows re­sources are limited and we have to do some­thing.

‘‘Petrol is get­ting so ex­pen­sive that we have to think of al­ter­na­tives be­cause peo­ple will al­ways want to go have fun in their boats.’’

De­spite many pro­to­types around the world, the So­lar Pa­cific Cruiser is the first of its kind to make it to pro­duc­tion.

The hull of the 10m x 4.5m cata­ma­ran is un­der con­struc­tion near Her­vey Bay and will then be trans-

Petrol is get­ting so ex­pen­sive that we have to think of al­ter­na­tives

ported to Cairns for its fi­nal fit-out.

It is ex­pected to make its maiden voy­age in De­cem­ber and will be on show at next year’s Sanc­tu­ary Cove boat show.

‘‘We want to cre­ate a purely so­lar-pow­ered boat that can sleep six peo­ple and go out to the reef com­fort­ably.

‘‘You’ll still have your fridge and air­con­di­tion­ing, your toi­let and shower. ‘‘We all know so­lar power works. ‘‘This is just the next step.’’ The So­lar Pa­cific Cruiser, which will have a cruis­ing speed of 18 knots, is a joint pro­ject with Aquawatt, SYAS Per­for­mance, Stream­line Cata­ma­rans and ATL Com­pos­ites.

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