“We are very excited, we have been working towards this since September”, says Heleen Jeurink, one of the fifteen students in the team. The team encountered some problems during the preparations. Engine problems and bad luck with the delivery of new parts made it necessary to move everything on the planning forward. These setbacks have made it a bit unclear whether the boat will function as it should at sea. Nevertheless, the students are currently making the final preparations. They had a big success last week: the boat was lifted out of the water for the first time, using hydrofoils. Further optimisations are still needed, but the chance of successfully “flying” over longer distances before next week has increased.
The team left Enschede yesterday, with several cars and a large trailer that is used for transporting the boat. The journey of about 1400km was their first challenge. They booked a hotel just outside of Monaco once they arrived. “We would rather spend our money on the boat than on a luxurious hotel in the middle of Monaco.” Their crowdfunding campaign will end this week. It was started, so they could pay for the boat trailer, under the motto of “Help us get to Monaco”. Around half of the target was raised, and the team can set off on their journey without any worries with a final helping hand. All donors will receive, among other things, a lovely card from Monaco this week.
The race itself will take place from the 13th to July 15 and will consist of several parts. Day 1 will mainly be about inspections to see whether the boats comply with the regulations. All pilots will also have to take a swimming test. There will be an endurance race on day 2, and the slalom and sprint are programmed for day 3. The slalom is a new element for this team, but the sprint is also different from how it is in the Dutch Championships, where time was the deciding factor for the ranking. Now, direct opponents
The goal is achieving a top-3 ranking in Monaco. Dutch teams in recent years have won the race, so the pressure to uphold the Dutch honour is high. You can notice it in all 14 teams from the Netherlands. The students from Enschede hope to perform well in the slalom and sprint, but the real difference has to be made during the endurance race. Still, it remains to be seen how the solar boat will function in Monaco; the Mediterranean Sea is entirely different from the Twente Canal, after all. That is where most of the test runs have taken place so far. They have also tested the boat in the North Sea last week, to get used to the sea. But will it be enough to continue the Dutch success of recent years? “We will find out this weekend.”
You can follow the race via the website and social media channels of the team.