As my eyes scanned the familiar view across Amalfi’s harbor, they stopped at something with a large, flat top docked on the opposite side. “What is that?” I asked my husband as we stood there squinting into the sunshine. “It looks like a spaceship landed in Amalfi,” I said. And with that there was nothing else to do except to take a stroll along the harbor to check out just what had landed in Amalfi. As we got a closer, it was the oddest looking boat we’d ever seen.
We could see that it was a catamaran style boat, but that’s about all we could figure out. We weren’t the only ones standing around in Amalfi staring either. It’s not every day a boat like this sails into the harbor.
It wasn’t until we climbed the stairs to the upper level of the large pier that defines the port of Amalfi that we could really get a good idea of what we were looking at. A solar powered boat!
When we got home I looked up the name PlanetSolar and realized we had just seen the world’s biggest solar powered boat. Those solar panels on the top of the boat measure 537 m2 and create enough energy to power everything on the boat. If that isn’t cool enough, PlanetSolar is on the very last leg of a tour around the world. Amalfi is one of the last stops before it returns to Monte Carlo. Here are the details of the world tour from the PlanetSolar website:
“PlanetSolar is accomplishing a journey around the world calling several times along the Equator where the available sunshine period is maximal. The four sailors of PlanetSolar will cross the Atlantic ocean, the Panama Canal, the Pacific ocean, the Indian ocean, and finally the Suez Canal in order to reach the Mediterranean.
The stops (Miami, Cancun, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, etc.) will allow the project to increase its impact and visibility and will serve as a promotion platform for renewable energy and solar energy in particular.”
What luck that PlanetSolar arrived in Amalfi on the only day of sunshine last week! I’m not sure how long the crew intended to stay, but they arrived just in time to weather some tough spring storms coming down the coast of Italy. The sun has been peeking out between the clouds and rain today, so I hope they’ve been able to absorb enough energy to fully recharge the batteries. Despite the bad weather, the crew seems to be enjoying the Amalfi Coast.
“This place is really beautiful, it looks like the village is hanging from the cliff with its feet in the water…”
-Excerpt from Log Book – Day 569 – 04.18.2012
Wishing the crew of PlanetSolar fair sailing and abundant sunshine as they make their way to Monte Carlo to finish the first around the world trip with solar energy!