Just weeks to go before the start in the Principality of the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge, the largest meeting for alternative energy sources organised by Yacht Club de Monaco. Already 27 teams have completed their registrations in the Solar and Energy classes, categories composed mainly of engineering students. The event has also attracted around 15 professional entrants coming to present their latest innovations at the first YCM E-Boat Rally from Monaco to Cala del Forte in Italy. YCM has also set itself a zero-emission goal with its 100 per cent electric press and safety boats. A total of 50-plus boats will be out on the sea in the bay of Monaco.
Focused on R&D in open source, with a full programme of nautical challenges on the sea, daily Tech Talks, industry pitches and a conference, this unique in the world event is supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. Other partners include Credit Suisse, BMW and SBM Offshore, with key yachting industry players involved such as the Sanlorenzo, Oceanco, Ferretti and Monaco Marine shipyards.
Well over a century since the first powerboat meetings that attracted the world’s industrialists to discover the latest innovations in propulsion, the Principality maintains its long tradition as a laboratory of technology. “YCM aims to be a driving force in the environmental transition, an ambition that is part of the collective ‘Monaco, Capital of Advanced Yachting’ approach,” says YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri.
Alternative Power Sources at Heart of Discussions
As every year, sustainability discussions will continue during the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge with a half-day conference (Thursday 6th July) entitled Challenges, Engagement and Adoption to take stock of the challenges ahead and progress made. Next day (Friday 7th July) sees the 4th Hydrogen Round Table organised by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Energy Transition Mission and the YCM. Monegasque, French and international governmental and institutional stakeholders will come together with international developers of hydrogen projects. Worth noting that every year the number of hydrogen-related prototypes entering this Challenge increases, up from two in 2019 to six in 2021, seven in 2022 and this year nine teams have taken up the hydrogen challenge.
An international meeting
In the Energy Class registrations closed mid-January, those in the Solar Class have just completed their dossiers. A total of 27 teams from 23 nations are set to descend on Monaco from as far afield as Peru, USA, Canada and India, as well as Turkey, Croatia, Italy, Portugal, etc., all will be represented ashore and at sea. Competitors in the Open Sea Class have until 1st of June to complete their entries.
Industry players listening to students
Keen to promote exchanges between engineering students and industry, YCM is ramping up opportunities for them to make contact, such as the Job Forum. Launched 2019, this initiative runs throughout the event to meet a growing demand for internships and jobs for budding engineers to meet industry needs. It has proved very successful, so this year a networking session entitled ‘Live Career Day’ is being organised for the first time on Thursday 15th June to kick start these exchanges between yachting professionals and young engineers.
Also new to complement the Job Forum is a Corporate Mentoring Program that launched at the start of the year to facilitate links between the industry and university teams to give the latter bespoke targeted advice on their projects and objectives.
Quayside and at sea electricity drives progress in the maritime field
The laboratory concept that sees new technologies in action, being put through their paces in a range of contests on the sea, is what sets this meeting apart. Among new features for this 10th edition is the first ever YCM E-Boat Rally set up in partnership with Aqua superPower which aims to bring together a record number of builders of electric boats already on the market, as one of the solutions for yachting’s future. Their potential will be fully tested on a course between Monaco and Ventimiglia (16 nautical miles there and back). To accommodate them, the first E-Dock, an eco-design pontoon (bamboo structure), equipped with AC (Alternative Current) and DC (Direct Current) chargers with capacity to supply fast and reliable power to more than 20 boats simultaneously, will be unveiled. It will act as a fast-charging floating platform for DC compatible boats.
Note, registrations for the YCM E-Boat Rally are still open and future participants will be revealed at the beginning of June on the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge website in the E-Dock section.
Note that YCM will be making full use of battery solutions in the form of a mini solar power station. The portable electricity generator has several outputs (USB, DC, AC, wireless) to power a range of devices and means the PC team that manages boat races at the YCM will be totally autonomous energy-wise.
Outside the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge, YCM continues to ramp up actions in pursuit of its environmental goals, such as installing charging stations for electric vehicles (cars and boats) in the YCM Marina; purchase of three electric tenders to support its youth competition teams; use of BTL biofuel; and development of a water recycling system for the Club’s swimming pool. The overall goal is to save energy on every level.
In line with the wishes of YCM President, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, who believes that “faced with the climate emergency, it is imperative that living proof of progress replaces the promises,” the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge proves technology exists and is efficient. Through this event, YCM intends to be a key player in the environmental transition, positioning the Principality as a driving force for responsible yachting.
Photo credit: Studio Borlenghi