WESTPAC SUNBOAT II  by PRINCE ALFRED COLLEGE, ADELAIDE

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SOLAR POWER ON THE RIVER MURRAY (WATERWAY)

 

The Prince Alfred College - Westpac Sunboat II was designed and constructed by students and staff at Prince Alfred College in Adelaide.  She utilises our most natural energy resource - the sun. The story of Sunboat II begins on January 1, 1993. On this day the PAC-Ford Sunboat I completed a 2000 kilometre journey on the River Murray.


Having battled severe weather conditions for many weeks, the team finally landed at the Murray Mouth.
The Prince Alfred College team achieved its goal of setting a new world record for a solar powered boat on an inland waterway. Checks with the Shell Book of Firsts and the Guinness Book of Records and other sources at the time, indicated that Sunboat 1 and its crew achieved the goal with three records:

  • 1. the longest trip on an inland waterway by a solar powered boat

  • 2. the largest solar powered boat in the world

  • 3. the first solar powered catamaran to be designed and constructed in Australia.

The journey was recorded on the Inland Rivers National Marathon Register by the Signal Point River Murray Interpretive Centre at Goolwa. In March 1993 Prince Alfred College was presented an Advance Australia Award at Government House for its work in the development of Solar power. South Australian Maritime Museums have expressed the desire for the boat to become a permanent part of their collections.

 

 

PRINCE ALFRED COLLEGE - WESTPAC SUNBOAT II

 

The success and interest in Sunboat I encouraged Prince Alfred College staff and students to design and construct Sunboat II. The project is the largest of its kind to be undertaken by an educational institution in S.A., Australia and possibly the world.

 

The craft represents a major improvement of an already very successful project which gained a world record and an Advance Australia Award in 1992-93. The new design is seen by some people as the most advanced Solar boat of its kind in the world. (Certainly the largest.) The design generated at the school is unique and may point the way to the future for this type of craft.

 

The final design was arrived at after many variations were created and tested on computer. One of the students involved in this design process wants to become a Naval Architect, and has already taken part in work experience of this nature.

 

The "state of the art" electronics were initially computer designed. A group of students converted the design to printed circuit boards and then completed wiring and assembly. The 11.3m (37') x 5.5m (18') tri-hulled boat is powered by the energy generated from 1728 solar cells.

 

Construction of the boat involved sophisticated construction methods and has resulted in a boat of great strength, light weight and maximum in-built buoyancy for safety.  The hulls of the boat were constructed from hi-tech materials which included Divinycell fabrics - made from kevlar and carbon fibre - requiring highly specialised fibre glassing techniques incorporating polyester, epoxy resins and special adhesives. Some of these materials are used in the manufacture of submarines at Port Adelaide.

 

Students were able to develop new skills in hi-tech areas such as computer aided design (CAD), aluminium and stainless steel fabrication, electronics, photo voltaic power application, modern boat building methods, boat design, modern plastics, lateral thinking and problem solving, plus the traditional skills of woodwork, metalwork and drafting.

 

Once the actual voyage commenced, everyone was focused on creating a new world record run for a solar powered boat. The trip was designed to provide students with the opportunity to practice navigation, steer a straight course, avoid snags, reefs, correctly operate 2 way radios, operate and check on-board computers, take the boat through locks and correctly moor the boat each night. Social aspects included learning to live in a confined space and interacting with others in a positive, helpful manner. Every boy taking part in the voyage had to first achieve a boat operator's licence and pass a practical boat skills course.

 

One of the unique aspects of this venture was the way staff and students worked together as a team. Anyone with a good idea was encouraged to contribute.  The development of the project and organisation of the journey was coordinated by Mr Malcolm Gray, Head of the Art and Design Department at Prince Alfred College. Assisting him in this role were staff members, Phil McLaughlin, Peter Sillett and Garry Simcock.

 

The boat has accommodation for six people, full headroom, a galley, toilet, solar powered refrigeration, and is equipped with a satellite phone - which brings an everyday reality into the solar powered equation. The boat has been designed so it can be trailed on the road. This again presented another range of problems that had to be overcome. (Everybody will look at this one as it goes by on a 12m trailer.)

 

The plan of action involved taking the boat to Yarrawonga and travelling the 2,200 kilometres to Goolwa in world record time. To achieve this the river needed an increased water level above pool height - but not too much - or the boat would not get under bridges along the river. The boat had to have to be taken out of the water at Yarrawonga to transport it around the weir, then reassembled to continue to Lock 26 where it was again removed from the water to by-pass the lock which was being reconstructed.

 

Once at Goolwa the boat was turned around and travelled back up stream, stopping at major towns to enable people to view the boat and gain some idea of what a solar powered boat has to offer now and in the future.

The trip began on 1st December, 1995, and ended on January 8th, 1996. The voyage lasted a total of 38 days and covered a distance of 2,507km.

 

The advantages of a Solar Powered Boat:

  • No pollution!

  • Minimal running costs!

  • Minimal noise!

  • Power cells guaranteed for 10 years!

  • Power cells can last for 20-25 years!

  • No impact on fragile environment!

STATISTICS ABOUT SUNBOAT II

  • main hull: 11.28m (37') long, 2.35m (8') wide

  • small hulls: 9.3m (30.5') long

  • assembled boat: 5.49m (18') wide

  • solar panels: 1728 solar cells

  • motor: 36 volt

  • steering: hydraulic steering

  • accommodation: 6 berth with 1.8m (6'2") headroom, galley, toilet, hand-basin, solar powered refrigeration, solar powered lighting

  • communications: 2 way radio, Satellite telephone

     

    Prime Sponsor of the Prince Alfred College - Westpac Sunboat II

     

    Westpac Bank

     

    Westpac was the first Bank to be established in Australia in 1817. Since that time, Westpac has guided and supported the development of industry throughout Australia. Westpac in SA has shown particular support for high technology industries in recent times. Our commitment to technological development is continuing through the sponsorship of projects such as the Prince Alfred College - Westpac Sunboat II. Westpac congratulates the students, teachers, parents and friends of PAC who have worked hard to ensure the success of this project. May your journey be world record breaking!

The Prince Alfred College Council, Staff & Students also thank the following sponsors to the project:

 

ACRILIX PLASTICS

ALLIED TECHNOLOGIES PTY LTD

AUSTRALIAN SATELLITE & COMMUNICATION SERVICES

AUSTRALITE DOORS & WINDOWS

AUTO INSTRUMENTS

BALDOR MOTORS AND DRIVES

BANNER HARDMART

BAROSSA VALLEY ESTATE (BAROSSA WINES)

BOB SPROTT FASTENERS

BRICE METALS

CAMEC

CAPRAL ALUMINIUM

CIBA

CLARKE PETROLEUM

CLIPSAL

COCA COLA BOTTLERS

COOPERS BREWERY

CSR SOFTWOODS

D.J.C. AGENCIES

DIVINYCELL INTERNATIONAL PTY LTD

DUNLOP FLEXIBLE FOAMS (THE FOAM CENTRE)

DURACELL

EAGLE MARINE ENGINEERING

ENTECH

ENERGY SOLUTIONS

ETSA

OUTBOARD MARINE CORP (AUST) - EVINRUDE

FIBER GLASS INTERNATIONAL

FLOAT PAC

FRIDGE MATE

G.N.B TECHNOLOGY (MARSHALL BATTERIES)

GLASCRAFT MARINE

GOULDING PUBLIC RELATIONS

HANIMEX/FUJI FILM

HY-DRIVE ENGINEERING PTY LTD

J.T.A. AUSTRALIA (POLAROID)

KELLOGG (AUST) PTY LTD

LEONARDS POULTRY (POULET FRAIS PTY LTD)

MAKITA

MAUGHAN THIEM MOTOR CO PTY LTD

MAXCO INDUSTRIES (PHIL RUNGIE AGENCIES)

MOMENTS FOREVER PHOTOGRAPHICS

MT LOFTY SPRING WATER

NATIONAL MUTUAL

NEC

OPTUS

PREMIER ART SUPPLIES PTY LTD

PROTEC PAINTS

QUIN MARINE

RIVER MURRAY CHARTS

RODAQUIP (UNIDEN)

S.A. TRAILER & CHASSIS EQUIPMENT

SAVAGE BOATS

SIEMENS SOLAR INDUSTRIES CALIFORNIA

SHOWA SOLAR ENERGY SINGAPORE

SOLAR POWER ASSOCIATION

SPORTS MARINE

SPRINT GRAPHICS

SWIFT PRINTING

TRANCIEVER SERVICES

TREG TRAILERS

TRIM'S MENSWEAR

TRITON DESIGN & MANUFACTURING

WARWICK WILSON TOYOTA

WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION

WIA (WELDING INDUSTRIES OF AUST.)

 

Contact Prince Albert College: pactech@nexus.edu.au

 

CONTACT:  nelson@solarnavigator.net  07905 147709 (UK)

 

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