1/20th scale trimaran model development






1/20th scale model TRIMARAN in heavy going.


So as to complete the test program, a trimaran hull configuration is tried.  The same wave piercing centre hull is used as per the last of three Catamarans.  In this format the solar panels are much closer to the water which reveals the shortcomings of such a design.  



Princess Park Eastbourne testing temporary trimaran hull rig using outriggers made from poly drink bottles


Testing temporary trimaran hull rig using outriggers made from poly drink bottles



Such a design is lighter than the Catamaran configuration, also sporting a reduced frontal area.  The driving propeller had to be changed to compensate for all the available power going through just one motor.  



Solar powered model trimaran open water testing at Princes Park, Eastbourne


Rough going into strong headwinds 1/20th Solar Navigator trimaran

Princes Park, Eastbourne



What was clear from this outing, is that poly bottles (although proving displacement and balance) simply cannot cut through the water as the main wave piercing hull demonstrates with ease.



Open water testing a solarnavigator trimaran hull 2004, Princes Park, Eastbourne


Nelson Kruschandl - launching trimaran



We suffered technical problems when the radio equipment got damp and halted play.  Subsequently, the switching servo also failed, but we were pushing it.








World's first autonomous solar powered circumnavigation

Solarnavigator is a battery electric ASV (Autonomous Solar Vessel), a trimaran with an extremely efficient active hull that runs on solar power = energy from nature. This hull form has never been

attempted before, nor has the use of wind energy been used in such manner for crew comfort.

Add to that autonomous capability and stealth cloaking, for a true voyage of discovery.

The model shown here is just 150mm long. The radio controlled test model is 2.1 meters in length.




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.








This website is copyright © 1991- 2012 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.

 Max Energy Limited is an educational charity working for world peace.