7,000-mile voyage on clean energy

A Swiss crew has sailed a solar-powered catamaranSun 21across the Atlantic. They claim that it is the first motorized vessel to cross the Atlantic without oil or steam power.

The 46ft, 11-ton craft carried 3,600lb of batteries to store power drawn from the sun via a canopy-like roof of 48 silicon cells. A power of about 1kW drove the boat at typically 3.5 knots. Two electric engines are fitted.

Launched in Basel in Switzerland, the boat was brought down the Rhine into the Mediterannean. The crew then set off to follow Columbus’s route to Martinique, with a stopover in Morocco. They left Chipiona, Spain, on 3 December and docked at Staten Island on 4 May. On 9 May, the crew were met by the Swiss Consul General in Manhattan.

Photo by Dylan Cross