Handling Salt Water
The most well-known solar boat race is the race in the marina in Monaco. Between superyachts of over 60 meters several solar boats race at the world champion chip to be crowned the best solar boat in the world. Like any solar boat race, the TU Delft Solar Boat Team joins this race of course. However unlike any other solar boat race, Monaco offers two challenges that the other races do not offer.
Besides of in the marina, the race also takes place just outside the marina, which is open sea. And open sea has much higher waves than the inland waters of Friesland or Groningen. The second problem which Monaco has is that the water there is salt. And as part of the Electronics department, this is of big concern, since the slightest big of salt water can break any type of electronics. Especially in combination with waves this can be dangerous, as a lot of water can get into the boat due to those.
To prevent water in the boat a big wind screen was installed to prevent water from entering the cockpit due to bow waves. Also other measures were taken by the electronics department to prevent salt water from getting into contact with our electronics. Our electronics like the dashboard are already in boxes that should be fully water tight. However with the perspective of salt water we took extra measures to prevent water from entering our systems. We bought special tape which can withstand water, and taped every slit on every box to make sure that no water is able to enter the boxes. Specifically the Energybox, a black box holding our battery and most of our electronics, was taped shut very carefully. Between the box and the lid there is a small slit, and this slit should not let water through easily. However as mentioned before no risks were taken in Monaco.
Lastly the hatches we have are mostly water tight, however we noticed before that slight bits of water can still get into the boat. Therefore we also taped all the edges of the hatches, taking care of course to not block the solar panels from the sun. In the end no water has gotten into our electronics and all electronics survived Monaco without damage. Our plan to prevent water from entering our systems therefore seemed to have work. Also the wind screen has prevented some big waves from entering the cockpit and therefore seemed to be from invaluable to our success in Monaco.
In the end we ended up second place at the world championships for solar boat racing, and we are very proud of that.
Olmar van Beurden