[Blog] Solar Boat: The first race

In the weekend of May 11th to 12th, our team, the TU Delft Solar Boat Team, entered the first race of the Solar Sport One 2018 competition. The first race was held in Akkrum, Friesland, and was the first of five races in the competition. Our goal is to win the overall ranking of the Solar Sport One competition.

On Thursday May 10th, our team packed our last things and we went to Akkrum by car. When we arrived in Akkrum, we set up our tent, prepared the strategy headquarters, did the last tests for the boat and prepared the Support, Scout and PR cars for the race. The next day, May 11th, the Time Trial race took place. This race consisted of a 55 km route which had to be finished as quickly as possible. Our team started as the last boat in our class. Despite this late start, we overtook most of our competitors very early in the race, bringing us to second position with only Clafis Victron Energy ahead of us.

Teamwork was essential during the race. Our Support Crew had to be ahead of the boat at all times and be prepared for pit-stops and check-ups. Our Scout Crews positioned themselves ahead of the boat all the time to collect the weather and environmental data and pass it on to our Strategy Crew. The Strategy Crew then combined this data and the data of our boat to decide on the best way to sail to fit our strategy. Our communicator, Tim, had to filter all the information into an easy and calm message for the pilot.

Solar Boat finished second. (Photo: Paul Schellekens)

This teamwork resulted in our boat finishing second, behind Clafis Victron Energy. This was very exciting since, even though our team had so little time to practice with the new boat before the race, we still managed to perform so well.

“The team ahead of us had not built a new boat in more than four years, instead it concentrated on optimising its boat, and it had a very experienced pilot. I am very proud that we came this close while our boat and team is entirely new!” Team Manager Sjoerd says.

The following day, the Endurance race called Rondje Akkrum and the Sprint were on the planning. During Rondje Akkrum, we had to sail as many laps around Akkrum as we could in just one hour. Again, we managed to end up second, again behind Clafis Victron Energy. This time, it was a very close call with the University of Twente Solar Boat Team – we beat them by just one lap!

The last race of the day was the Sprint Race where we had to sail 360 metres as quickly as possible. We finished in fifty-two seconds, in fourth place, just two seconds behind Dutch Solar Boat Team and two seconds behind the University of Twente Solar Boat Team.

The 2018 Solar Boat Team. (Photo: Paul Schellekens)

Our team is very proud of the results of this weekend’s race. We came second overall and this motivates us even more to work even harder to improve ourselves and the boat for the next races.

Paul Schellekens, Exposure manager 2018

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