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Highlights of the 2021 Monaco Energy Boat Challenge so far

10 July 2021 • Written by Laura Nicholls

As the 8th Edition of the unique Monaco Energy Boat Challenge comes to a close, over 400 participates from 32 teams of racers and innovators proved that there is so much more to come from technology and alternative fuels for the maritime and transport industries. 

Working as a platform for exchanges and meetings to test and introduce the latest technologies, the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge hosted by Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) is “an incubator of ideas for the maritime industry”.

“More than ever we have to build our future through a prism of environmental responsibility. The yachting industry cannot grow if it does not integrate sustainable development in all its initiatives. YCM has stepped up its ambition with the establishment in 2020 of the SEA Index, a bespoke tool to assess superyacht CO2 emissions with a view to reducing them. To accommodate these “green” yachts of the future, we must rethink the whole ecosystem so that we can offer them facilities to match,” says Managing Director of the YCM, Bernard d’Alessandri.

One new “green” boat showcased at the event was the 12-metre Hynova 40. As the first pleasure boat to be equipped with the zero-emission silent hydrogen-electric hybrid REXH2 (Range Extender Hydrogen) technology, the Hynova 40 was able to make use of the first hydrogen refuelling services available for the first time in Monaco for the event.

Hynova 40

This year, hydrogen was the main topic of conversation, particularly during a Round Table that brought together Monegasque and French government representatives and hydrogen project developers to discuss the development of the fuel in the maritime and transport sectors. “Hydrogen is the only energy we can consider," says economist and ecologist Gunter Pauli. "Its performance compared to a battery or to a diesel engine, even compared to electricity (…), hydrogen surpasses them all”.

Looking to serve a superyacht mothership as a zero-emission tender, the 10.5-metre Vita L-ion electric powertrains was presented to event visitors as the first of its kind to offer seamless compatibility with rapid DC charging. The range was developed using Formula 1 and Formula E engineering and can reach a top speed of over 30 knots.

Candela C-7 hydrofoil 100% electric boat

Entrepreneur and influencer Tom Claeren attended the event to test some of the electric and hydrogen craft, including the Candela C-7 electric hydrofoil craft and said: “These boats are really smooth and make no noise – these are just some of the advantages. I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s to come in the future.” Also on site was HSH Prince Albert II and the explorer Mike Horn, who both supported participants and saw the various exhibitions and Tech Talks.

Another main highlight of the five-day Monaco Energy Boat Challenge is the series of races for the students and yachting industry professionals and their environmentally-friendly propulsion systems built to participate in three different classes: the Energy Class, Solar Class and Open Sea Class. 

Winners of the 8th Edition of the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge:

International Speed Record: Candela (Sweden) 

Solar Class

Championship Race: Sunflare Solar Team (Netherlands)

Fleet Race: Sunflare Solar Team (Netherlands)

Slalom Race: Sunflare Solar Team (Netherlands)

Energy Class

16NM Lap Race: UniBoAT (Italy)

Slalom Race: UniBoAT (Italy)

Championship Race: UniBoAT (Italy)

Qualifying Race: UniBoAT (Italy)

Open Sea Class

Manoeuvrability Challenge: Lanéva Boats (Indonesia)

16NM Coastal Race: Vita Yachts Ltd (Indonesia)

Endurance Race: Hynova Team (France)

Qualifying Race: Sunflare Solar Team

All images courtesy of Carlo Borlenghi.