The 7th Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge kicks off tomorrow, an edition that has had to amend its format given the situation these last few months. For the first time since its launch in 2014 it was decided to promote technical discussions with oral defences of presentations live online, thereby avoiding crowds gathering, but rewarding all the hard work already put in this year by participants.


It is therefore a virtual competition to respect health measures. “It was a question of being able to run the event without penalising competitors who are now able to present the progress they have made on their projects this year. It was impossible to imagine cancelling it, so we dug deep to be innovative and adapt,” says Yacht Club de Monaco General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandri.  “Last year we had a thousand visitors to the Village and 350 participants on site which given the situation would have been impossible this year. The solution therefore was to go digital”.


Organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the International Powerboating Federation, this unique event focuses on zero emission propulsion, bringing together researchers, academics, future engineers, inventors, and yachting and energy sector professionals. All share the same ambition to develop alternative propulsion systems to build the future of yachting. The Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge is therefore adopting a virtual format in association with long-time partners of this event, Iqos and Credit Suisse. Joining them for the first time are BMW and YPI (Yachting Partners International).


Virtual format for 2020

Twelve nations represented by 18 teams, seven in the Solar Class, nine in the Energy Class and two in the Open Sea Class, have submitted their projects to the Technical Jury which, alongside the event’s official partners, comprises engineer Marco Casiraghi, the man behind the project; naval architect Erwann Lebel from Espen Oeino International; and Jérémy Lagarrigue from Energy Observer.

Oral presentations of their projects start tomorrow (from 30th June to 4th July) when each team will have 10 minutes to defend their work on line via Zoom. The results will be announced on Wednesday 8th July at 11.00am with a virtual prize-giving ceremony.


In the running for three prizes

Each team is free to have a crack at any of the three prizes. The most advanced improvements of relevant innovations that are likely to go forward for production can aim for the Innovation Prize, with winners being recognised and rewarded for highlighting their boat’s energy efficiency and being open about the advantages and disadvantages in their presentation.


The Eco Conception Prize puts the spotlight on efficiency of materials and processes used, as well as its contribution to science and the team’s commitment to sharing good practices. Ecological motivation is central to this category, while presenting key effects on the environment and feedback on the knowledge acquired during the project. Of note is the participation for the second year running of a team from Monaco, SBM Offshore E-Racing Team, which is in competition for the Eco-Conception Prize in the Energy Class.


Last but not least is the Spirit Prize for creativity and originality when participants have one minute and 20 seconds to present a video of their project, the team, the boat, how it evolved and the technical progress made during the last few months.


As well as recognition from the industry and pride in revealing hours of work put in and discussions, each winner will receive a cheque for €2,000.


Exchanges to progress

All year round online discussions are organised to help progress new ideas and are the very essence of the event itself, as evidenced by the webinars, free online technical discussions chaired by professionals and open to all. These meetings (five held so far) maintain a valuable link between the industry and contestants, giving them access to new information to feed into their experience. These presentations are available to watch on the event’s website:


Job Forum: talent just a click away

The Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge makes every effort to encourage students and industry professionals to stay in touch all year round via the Job Forum online platform. Potential employers can post vacancies on it and students their CVs and letter of motivation. It is proving a win-win situation for both sides, hailed by the industry. For example, in 2019 Energy Observer representatives interviewed 15 students, going on to hire eight of them, with a similar scenario for Torqeedo and Azura Marine. As a result of the health crisis, the initiative has taken a break for 2020 but will be up and running in 2021.


Local companies have their working group

At YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri’s instigation, a commission dedicated to alternative energy sources was set up in September 2019. The initiative is part of a move to become a Yachting Centre of Excellence with a mission to motivate those involved, be they Monegasque (Laneva) or operating locally (Vita, Candela, Suncv…), to join forces on innovative projects. Brought together in a working group that meets every two months, the commission discusses new developments and potential synergies. At their last meeting, for example, Vita announced the launch of a new Vita Supercharger that could be adapted to suit other boats.


To find out what these talented future engineers and latest developments in propulsion have in store, you can follow:

The auditions online 30th June to 3rd July from 5.00pm to 7.00pm

Prize-giving online: Wednesday 8th July at 11.00am.


To connect to the meeting on the event’s dedicated website:

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