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Nothing but sunny days ahead

Captain Erwann Le Rouzic and Raphael Domjan aboard the solar vessel Turanor on Saturday.
Captain Erwann Le Rouzic and Raphael Domjan aboard the solar vessel Turanor on Saturday. Roderick Makim Frasolar

THE world's largest solar-powered boat sailed along the Fraser Coast over the weekend on its way to becoming the first ever vessel to circumnavigate the globe using nothing but the power of the sun.

The 31-metre catamaran saw sunrise off Fraser Island on Saturday morning, before continuing up the coast to spend a day at Lady Elliot Island.

Raphael Domjan first had the idea in 2004 when he worked with solar technology in his native Switzerland.

He wanted to show people that solar power was not an idea for the future – that we had the technology available right now to use the sun in all sorts of commercial enterprises.

A long-time fan of Jules Verne's classic Around the World in 80 Days, Mr Domjan set out to create a new global adventure.

Six years later in late 2010, the specially designed Turanor PlanetSolar was launched in Monaco and headed off towards the future.

Turanor has now crossed the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans and now in Australia is about half-way through its voyage.

The captain of the vessel, Erwann Le Rouzic, said the silence the catamaran was able to move in made it ideal for spotting all sorts of marine life.

TURANOR

The name of the catamaran comes from the Lord of the Rings and means “the power of the sun”.

Turanor has 537 square metres of solar panels which power everything on the vessel.

The vessel is 31m long and weighs 95,000kg.

The cruising speed is about five knots, with a top speed of about nine knots.

Turanor is expected to dock back into Monaco in around April 2012.

Topics:  adventure fraser island solar power technology vessel


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