"Solar Eclipse" 100% Solar Yacht goes out to the open sea!
Updated: May 24, 2020
Bali, Sunday the 17th of May 2020, 9 o’clock in the morning, under a slight drizzle and whipped by a strong wind, the 9 Crew of Eclipse assemble on the fore deck for briefing. Balinese friends, an experienced cruise vessel owner, videographers and eco-activists make up the Crew of the day and everybody is excited to be part of this unique voyage. The plan is to take our first Aquanima 40 from the marina to a mooring up North. For this passage, Eclipse will have to meet her first waves as she exits the Bay of Benoa, where she was born.
Conditions are not optimal, to say the least. The management of the marina are even reluctant to open their trash boom as they do not believe Eclipse would be heading out in those conditions: 20+ knots of steady head wind (look at Eclipse flags!), overcast sky and a choppy sea on top of a good swell are awaiting the brave crew and their innovative yacht.
Having strong confidence in the blue water capabilities of the Aquanima hull design and in the UltraMarine propulsion system of the yacht, the experienced Captain gives the order to cast off at 10:00 sharp, as per the plan. After a smooth manoeuvre to leave her berth, Eclipse glides silently towards the open sea, she is the only boat heading out that morning. As soon as the mouth of the Bay is left behind, some serious waves start building up, putting Eclipse to the test. Despite being slightly overweight with her 9 pax Crew, water tanks full (550 litres) and hundreds of kilos of tools and equipment left over from the build (the launch took place merely one week earlier!), the yacht behaves fabulous, riding those waves nonchalantly. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the drone and his pilot, therefore, there is no aerial footage of the open sea crossing.
As conditions worsen and the swell reach above 3 m with gusts of wind up to 30 knots, all cushions are stowed safely inside and everyone is on watch to monitor every corner of the boat. Meanwhile, at the helm, the Captain is having a good time, all systems are functioning to perfection and Eclipse is cruising at a steady 5+ knots with head wind and waves. After about half an hour of this shaky treatment, the yacht rounds the last channel buoy and can head North with the waves starting to meet Eclipse on her beam which is more comfortable for catamarans and more fun for the Captain. Finally, Eclipse and her guests of the day turn to the West to negotiate the narrow entrance between the island of Serangan and mainland Bali, going on interminable surfs as they pass the buoys marking the channel between the nearby reefs South and North. No doubt that day, the Eclipse party were the only ones surfing those big waves! Enjoy the movie!