May 9, 2007 by Joseph Krohn
A Swiss-built solar-powered vessel arrived in New York City on Tuesday on what the group behind the project said was the first sun-powered voyage across the Atlantic. Dubbed “sun21,” the catamaran reached North Cove Marina after a journey of six months and some 13,000 kilometres from Chipiona, Spain, to the Caribbean island Martinique and then along the U.S. East Coast to New York, the Switzerland-based group transatlantic21 said in a statement.The organization said the 14 metre-boat produced 2,000 kilowatt hours of solar energy during its voyage thanks to a roof of photovoltaic panels mounted above the twin-hulled design. The solar energy was used to power the boat’s electric motors and any surplus was stored in batteries, allowing it to travel at a constant speed of 5-6 knots (10-12 kilometres an hour) day or night, the group’s website said. The group said this shows the crossing can be made entirely without fuel, a claim which could not be independently verified. “This proves that in our modern society it is indeed possible to travel the world efficiently and still safeguard the environment,” said the boat’s skipper, Michael Thonney.