1/20th scale catamaran model development






1/20th scale model CATAMARAN under way in PRINCESS PARK, EASTBOURNE



The (new) catamaran hull is exceptionally stable.  The wave piercing design glides through the water leaving a noticeably reduced wake.  The hulls sport a test rig constructed of upvc plumbing piping. These are to be replaced by a spaceframe shorty.



Catamaran cruising under solar power


Testing new hulls using temporary panel rig made of upvc plumbers piping



Before fitting the aluminium spaceframe and full complement of solar panels, the new motor/drive configuration is tested using a number of different propellers and (voltage) wiring configurations.  It is better to experiment on the test rig, until the set-up is finalised.




Solar powered catamaran model at Princess Park Eastbourne


Docking the 1/20th Solar Navigator catamaran - Princes Park, Eastbourne



Although the new dc motors can handle a lot more power and are more efficient, the best running configuration still has to be found.  This is quite often found by trial and error (having done your sums first).  Unfortunately, there is not a range of model propellers to cater for 'solar' applications.  Therefore we have to make do and modify. The radio controls for this test program did not exist. So Nelson fused together Futaba Focus and Ranger sets, giving 7 fully digital proportional channels.



Nelson Kruschandl, Princes Park, Eastbourne


Nelson Kruschandl at the helm (radio that is)



It is hoped the combined technology will allow us to set model speed and endurance records (beat our own records) in the near future as part of our development of the full size vessel.


The Sun Tracker system is to be incorporated in the model for the first time, to ensure maximum energy collection.






In 1995 it was proposed by our designer that a solar powered boat would be able to circumnavigate the globe using only energy from nature. He displayed the first of his development models at the Earls Court boat show in London into 1996. 


With a boat the most important component on the agenda is the hull. Solar powered boats provide marine architects with new challenges. There are as yet no conventions. Nobody knows what will work best, because so little has been put to the test. We can attest to that because we've tried 5 hull designs to date, improving on each one. Two SWATH designs (one above), two catamarans and a trimaran. The 6th design is not strictly speaking a trimaran, it does though have three hulls; so we're billing it as a trimaran. A hull design like this has not been built to date, to overcome the ever present drag and wave drag dilemma.


The other major challenge is panel design. How do you increase panel area and get as much of it facing the sun when the sun moves relative to the route, and of course keep the boat stable in all seas. We wanted at least 2 kilowatts per ton of vessel mass and can comfortably achieve that.


Not to detract from the incredible achievements of the PlanetSolar team, but the SolarNavigator project aims to improve on the record 0f 585 days set in May 2012 with our brand new design. Our advantage is that we have more than twice the power to weight ratio of the current record holder with a lower drag hull. This needs to be verified before we can go to the construction stage.


This project represents a unique opportunity for any global company with eco friendly ambitions. If this is of interest to you please let Blueplanet Productions know using the contact details below. See the breathtaking video of PlanetSolar below to get a handle on the sort of publicity that Solarnavigator can generate.






Planet Solar Utube  & 

Planet Solar docking in Hong Kong



On the 4th of May 2012 the theory was proven to be correct by Raphael Domjan and his superb boat the Turanor Planetsolar, thanks to generous sponsorship by Candido Swiss watches and Immosolar, leaders in the field of solar energy management.


Now the benchmark has been set, it will undoubtedly inspire others. As with so many things once a pioneer has shown the way, inevitably, the record stands like mountain to be scaled.








The latest Solarnavigator is a battery electric trimaran with an extremely efficient active hull that runs on solar power. The model shown here is just 150mm long. The radio controlled test model is 2.1 meters in length.




This website is copyright © 1991- 2013 Electrick Publications. All rights reserved. The bird logo and names Solar Navigator and Blueplanet Ecostar are trademarks ™.  The Blueplanet vehicle configuration is registered ®.  All other trademarks hereby acknowledged and please note that this project should not be confused with the Australian: 'World Solar Challenge'™which is a superb road vehicle endurance race from Darwin to Adelaide.

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