The Monaco energy boat challenge - open sea class

We won 2nd place in the world championship at the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge!

From 4 to 9 July we participated in the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge. We competed in the Open Sea Class, in this class, green-energy propelled boats raced each other at sea. We sailed three challenges: The manoeuvrability challenge, the speed challenge, and the endurance challenge.

The first race was the manoevrability challenge. The team practised hard for this challenge and it paid off. The manoeuvres we have to complete are mooring with the right and left side of our boat, going around a buoy, going backwards and completing a 360° turn. We were able to determine the order ourselves and carefully planned the most efficient set-up. The race went very well with enthusiastic encouragement from the whole team. We completed the parkour in 5 minutes and 42 seconds which earned us 2nd place.

Mooring
Ventimiglia-01

The Speed Challenge was the hardest for the team. We started the speed challenge in 4th place. With a speed of 16 knots, we quickly reached the mid-point at Ventimiglia in 36 minutes. However, then the Mediterranean heat unfortunately became too much for the boat. The cooling systems did not yet have the optimal settings to cope with this heat. After 2/3 of the race we had to make the decision to end our race. Once back in the harbour, the team immediately started repairing the boat. After extensive investigation of both mechanical and electronic parts and a thorough data analysis, the problem was found to be in the motor controller. After discovering the problem, the team immediately took action and adjusted the settings so the boat was ready to sail again!

The team pulled out an excellent performance in the final race: the endurance challenge. With a convincing 17 laps, we won the Endurance Challenge! We covered 51 nautical miles (95 kilometres) by only using eight kilograms of hydrogen. The team covered almost twice as much distance as the number two. In doing so, we left our six competitors far behind. By winning, the students proved the potential of hydrogen for the maritime industry. The team is extremely proud of what we have shown over the last few days and the bizarre performance we achieved during this race.

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Victory in the endurance race and a neat second place in the manoeuvrability race put the team in second place in the world championship. The team is extremely proud of this achievement. The whole team has worked so hard for this. ‘In one year’s time, we have built a boat with which we race against commercial companies. To then achieve second place, that is unbelievable,’ says the boat’s pilot Louis Van Cauwenberghe.

The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge was an amazing ending of our one-year journey to demonstrate the best possibility of hydrogen. The race ended our year, but our journey to decarbonise the maritime industry will continue. Join us to take action for a more sustainable future!

Endurance challenge

Aftermovie20220712135008

Aftermovie

Yesterday we won the endurance challenge and reached second place overall in the open sea class!

It was an amazing day. After a flying start of the endurance challenge we constantly kept passing by our competitors. In total we sailed 17 laps which is almost 100 kilometers and became first in the race with a wide margin. With this result we became second in the overall competition. We are extremely proud of this result and achieving this together as a team. Yesterday we proved the potential and power of hydrogen!

14:00 – We won the endurance challenge!!20220709151228

14:00 – We won the endurance challenge!!

Finished first!

After racing laps in front of the shore of Monaco for four hours we ended up in first place! We sailed 17 laps, with a difference of 7 laps between us and second place. All the friends and family that cheered on shore were so supportive and got us through. It was a great race and we are so proud of what we achieved!

We took up the challenge of the Mediterranean Sea and proved that our hydrogen-powered boat can sail efficiently and stably on the open ocean! But moreover, our success underlined that hydrogen could be the future of sustainable shipping.

Currently, we are still waiting for the final ranking of the world championships. No matter what the final ranking will be, we are already so proud that we performed so well in competition against commercial boats.

13:30 – Last 30 minutes20220709135210

13:30 – Last 30 minutes

The last half hour of the race has arrived!

So far we raced the full race without any problems so far! We are leading with an amazing 14 laps and hoping to get to sail another two. We are very excited to see the results!

12:00 – Still leading halfway through the race20220709111100

12:00 – Still leading halfway through the race

We are halfway in the Endurance Challenge

Ever since we fixed the height control problem, we have been sailing for one and a half hours without encountering any problems. We are sailing at a constant speed of 30 kilometers an hour. The average speed of our competitors is 15 kilometers an hour, so the team has no problems in overtaking them on the track. Right now, the team has already completed 7 laps! On average with our current speed, we complete one lap in 12 minutes.

10:30 – Completed the first lap20220709103734

10:30 – Completed the first lap

The first lap is a fact

The first lap is a fact! Unfortunately one of the tubes in our boat came loose and we had to repair it on the water. This went very well and after a quick we fixed it and we were able to sail on! We are still in the leading position.

10:05 – Started the Endurance Challenge20220709100818

10:05 – Started the Endurance Challenge

The endurance challenge has started!

After the start sign we are off to race the endurance challenge. As opposed to yesterday’s mass fleet start, today we could just choose when to start the race. The team immediately started, taking the lead in the endurance challenge. The team and our fans are closely following our boat and cheering on the quay!

9:30 – We are ready for our endurance race!20220709092755

9:30 – We are ready for our endurance race!

Ready to tackle the endurance challenge!

Today is our final and most important race day. This is what we have worked towards all year: showing the power and potential of hydrogen on the open sea in Monaco. This morning we had a moment to brief the team on what is happening today and to watch the recap of yesterday’s race day. After that, there was a pilot briefing to discuss the races of today. We have to sail laps just off the shore and complete as many as possible in a timespan of 4 hours. The team is ready to sail, let’s go!

Watch recap
Endurance challenge20220621140918

Endurance challenge

The last challenge on July 9 is the endurance challenge, where we must sail as many laps, covering the most distance as possible in 4 hours. In this challenge, we can really show the potential of hydrogen. Hydrogen has a high energy density, and it can be stored under high pressure, which means the fuel contains a lot of energy and needs little space to be stored. With this, we can cover a long distance at sea with hydrogen!

16NM Speed challenge

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Aftermovie

A recap of our second race day!

Yesterday we started the second race element: the 16 NM challenge. After a flying start and passing Ventimiglia we encountered some technical problems. The boat was towed back to the harbour, lifted out of the water and thoroughly examined. By working together very well we were able to make the boat ready again for sailing! We also got a second chance in the manoeuvrability challenge and were able to shave off about a minute of our original time. We set a new personal record and also moved up to second place in this challenge!

18:00 – The boat sails again!20220708172903

18:00 – The boat sails again!

The boat is sailing again!

We took the boat out of the water to see what the problem was. We took the rear strut out of the boat and opened it up. Fortunately, all the mechanical parts were still intact and we could not find any problems there. At the same time, we analysed the data to see if we could identify the problem.

Based on this, we now suspect that our motor controller overheated in these warm southern French temperatures. As a result, it did not function properly and our boat failed. We have now made some adjustments in the settings of this controller and hope this will solve the problem! We are going to give everything to win our endurance race tomorrow!

Fixed the boat
14:00 – Looking for the problem20220708141900

14:00 – Looking for the problem

The team is investigating our boat

After the boat was towed back to the port, we hoisted it onto our boat cradle to find the problem. So far, we still don't know what went wrong on the water. We are working hard to find to problem so that we can still participate in the Endurance Challenge. We won't give up!

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10:45 – Encountered a problem20220708105859

10:45 – Encountered a problem

The boat is being towed back

Unfortunately, our boat encountered technical problems and it has to be towed back to the harbour. The most important thing is that the boat crew is safe and once back in the harbour, we're going to find out what's wrong.

10:35 – Passed the second buoy20220708103739

10:35 – Passed the second buoy

We passed the buoy at Ventimiglia

With a speed of 16+ knots, we just passed the halfway point at Ventimiglia. At this point, we made a U-turn and sailed back to the finish line at Monaco.

10:00 – We started the speed challenge20220708102749

10:00 – We started the speed challenge

We started the speed challenge!

At 10 o’clock this morning the speed test started! With a lot of boats on the water, the start was crowded. The competitors had a fast start, but after warming up our fuel cell we were able to catch up in no time! We started in 5th place and already managed to overtake a boat and are currently sailing in 4th place.

Speed challenge20220621141033

Speed challenge

The second challenge on July 8 is the speed challenge, where we will cover a course of about 30 kilometres as fast as possible. We start in the harbour of Monaco and sail to the Italian town Ventimiglia. Here we make a turn of 180 degrees and sail back to Monaco. The first to cross the finish line wins!

Manoeuvrability challenge

Friday 18:00 – Retake of the manoeuvrability challenge!20220708183327

Friday 18:00 – Retake of the manoeuvrability challenge!

We sailed our manoeuvrability challenge once more!

During the manoeuvrability challenge some of our competitors sailed faster than 3 knots while this is the speed limit in the harbour. We did not sail faster than 3 knots which gave us a disadvantage. Because of this, the organization allowed us to sail the manoeuvrability challenge one more time to improve our result and we succeeded! We achieved our record of 5 minutes and 42 seconds, giving us second place in the manoeuvrability challenge!

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Aftermovie

Our first race day is finished!

Yesterday, our boat performed outstanding in the manoeuvrability challenge; the first race element of the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge. After the official opening of the competition, all boats participating in the Open Sea Class had to tackle five required manoeuvres: docking at port and starboard, making a 360 degree turn, sailing backwards between two quays and grabbing a line from a buoy. In a time of 6:36, we were third best to complete all manoeuvres, What a great way to start the competition! Today it is time for the next race element! This will be the 16 nautical mile challenge in which we will have to sail to Ventimiglia and back in the shortest amount of time. The race will start with a mass fleet start which means all 6 boats in the open sea class will start in a big line, it will be spectacular!

18:30 – Official results Manoeuvrability Challenge20220707161448

18:30 – Official results Manoeuvrability Challenge

We got third place in the Manoeuvrability Challenge!

We completed all manoeuvres in a time of 6 minutes and 36 seconds. We are very happy with our performance today and the boat crew worked together seamlessly.

Although the boat was not the fastest, the team is super proud that we completed the first. Race. “The crew did a great job! As a team of three, each of us specialized in different tasks while we collaborated smoothly. I’m really proud of what the team has performed!” said our pilot, Louis

But it isn't over yet. Tomorrow is the second race which is all about speed: the 16 NM Speed Challenge. And on Saturday the important Endurance Challenge where we must sail as far as possible in four hours. But we have completed the first race and with this result in the rankings, we continue with confidence.

15:45 – Manoeuvrability challenge20220707153835

15:45 – Manoeuvrability challenge

We raced our first challenge!

We have completed the first race element: the manoeuvrability challenge! Five manoeuvres had to be completed in the shortest time possible. We could decide on the order ourselves and made sure to carefully plan the most efficient arrangement.

The race went very well under the enthusiastic encouragement of the whole team. We set a time of 6 minutes and 36 seconds. Later today we will hear the set times of our opponents and find out if we won this race element. We are patiently waiting!

15:30 – Parade20220707152409

15:30 – Parade

The parade and manoeuvrability challenge!

We just sailed in the parade! All boats participating in the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge showcased their boat. It is really fun to see all the other boats using different green fuels such as the solar boats from the solar class. When the parade is finished, our manoeuvrability challenge will start! In this challenge, we have to perform different manoeuvres to show what our boat can do in the harbour. Manoeuvres we have to perform are docking with the right and left side of our boat, sailing around a buoy, sailing backwards and completing a 360° turn. The race starts and ends with the boat crew on the dock and we have to perform all these manoeuvres as fast as possible. We are confident and ready for this challenge. Let's show what our boat can do!

Parade
Manoeuvrability challenge20220609111140

Manoeuvrability challenge

During the manoevrability challenge the agility of our boat and the skills of our pilot are put to the test. In this challenge, we must complete a challenging course in the least amount of time. The parcourse consists of tight turns, sailing backwards and stopping the boat. The fastest team wins!

18:00 – Tech Talk20220707231833

18:00 – Tech Talk

Presentation by team members Olav and Mannes

Closing off our first racing dag, we presented our project in a TechTalk. All teams participating in the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge gave a presentation about the technical journey they went through building their boats.

It was an inspiring moment, learning from others and sharing our knowledge. Mannes presented our team mission and Olav dove into the technical aspects of our project. We also presented our life cycle assessment and our eco friendly design.

Stay tuned for our next racing day tomorrow. You can also follow our journey on the live stream from the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge!

Races Stadium

Wednesday – 19.00 Opening ceremony20220707101857

Wednesday – 19.00 Opening ceremony

We had the opening ceremony!

During the opening ceremony, we were introduced to the ambassadors of the event, with their support the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge can be organized. We also got introduced to the jury, they will decide if everybody sticks to the rules and who the winner is. Finally, all the teams participating in the race were presented. 38 teams from 21 nationalities are present at this event! It was amazing to see everyone who is working so hard on making the maritime industry more sustainable.

This event festively opened the event, so tomorrow we can start with the first challenge!

Wednesday – 15:30 Practicing manoeuvrability20220706153051

Wednesday – 15:30 Practicing manoeuvrability

We practiced the manoeuvrability race

Tomorrow it is time for the first challenge! The boat's manoeuvrability will be put to the test in this first challenge of the race. The pilot has practiced some tricky manoeuvres today and they all went smoothly. We are confident about the first race! Before the race, there is a parade in which all boats participating in the Energy Boat Challenge show their boat. The boats are competing in the Energy class, the Solar class and the Open Sea class.

On Friday, we will take on the second challenge, the 16 nautical mile sprint, which is all about speed. On the 9th of July, we will compete in the final race element: the endurance challenge, where we will sail as far as possible in 4 hours. With every challenge, the boats earn points and the team with the most points wins the world championship. In case of a tie, the winner of the endurance race will be the deciding factor!

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Wednesday – 11:00 Sea trials completed20220706150230

Wednesday – 11:00 Sea trials completed

We sailed on the open sea for the first time!

Yesterday, after we passed the technical inspection, we sailed on the open sea for the first time. It’s definitely a different experience compared with our testing location in Drimmelen. Due to the waves that are much higher and more powerful here, we ran into an electrical problem that caused the engine to cut out briefly. It turned out that a cable had a bad connection for a while but we solved this problem immediately last night.

Today is a new day and we sailed our second trial. We have sailed at maximum power with no problems! We are happy with the results of this test and are ready to race on the Mediterranean.

Tuesday – 14:30 We passed the technical inspection20220705163700

Tuesday – 14:30 We passed the technical inspection

We have passed the technical inspection of the boat!

Today, the team got up early to hoist the boat onto the boat cart to attach the struts and wings. When the boat was fully assembled, it could finally get a taste of the Mediterranean Sea. It was a very exciting moment for the team to finally see the boat in the harbour of Monaco.

Every boat competing in the race is thoroughly checked by the organization of the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge to inspect if all boats comply with the rules. Our boat was just inspected and some things they took a good look at were safety measurements, the electrical system and the cockpit where our pilots sit during sailing to steer and control the boat.

Now that the technical inspections are passed and done, we are preparing to test our boat on the open sea.