Solar boat race: Fourth edition registers forty

The participants will be challenging to meander through the five stages of the traditional ice-skating route along the Frisian cities in the north of the Netherlands. Organisers of the challenge said that the participants list has become more global with China, Finland, Turkey and the U.S. joining this year to an already-global mix of competitors.

The Sun Factory will provide solar panels to the participants who will compete in three classes: the Challenge A and B for one and two person boats and the Top class.

Joris Melkert, Head of the Technical Committee said that the speed of the solar boats is expected to increase this year. "Also the quality of several teams will take great steps forward. In 2010 only a few teams placed innovative hydrofoils on their solar boat, now more teams will take this step. I also think the hydrofoils which are now constructed, will be more reliable because there is more experience. A couple of solar boats will reach speeds of 35 km/h," he added.

The solar boat race in the Netherlands started in 2004 when Bouwe de Boer, co-operator of the energy policy of the province Fryslân, thought that what they did in Australia with the World Solar Challenge, was also possible on the Frisian waters. Together with Professor Wubbo Ockels of the Technical University in Delft, the challenge was envisioned. Electricity company Nuon was the sponsor of the first two races and thereafter, the third edition and the latest one are sponsored by DONG Energy, hence the name DONG Energy Frisian Solar Challenge.