I have been watching fellow Bernotas Middle School Dad Ray Christe’s and his Algonquin friend Larry Kozak’s progress as the boat went from conception to completion.
The first “home” for the boast was in Oakwood Hills resident Charley Birks’ garage.
I went over to Oakwood Hills to meet Marc Müller, who was driving a solar-powered car across the country. Unfortunately, the vehicle was being repaired, but I had a delightful conversation with the young man, who had been active in Swiss politics.
At that time, just the ribs of the boat had been completed.
The CalypSol escaped damage from July’s storm, even though trees fell in Christe’s yard.
Now comes the following press release from the CalypSol Group:
The Constructors of the CalypSol celebrate a milestone!
On September 20, the CalypSol Group celebrated a milestone with the construction of their high tech solar power 22FT trimaran; the final stage of the assembly of the main components.
The craft is due to leave mid-May 2012 for a long journey down the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, taking two adventuring mariners from Chicago to New Orleans.
They will be using the same waterway used by Joliet and Marquette in their birch bark canoes over 330 years ago. CalypSol will be the first solar power boat sailing the path, still referred today as the “French Corridor”.
The construction of the boat required more than 1000 hours of combined design engineering and fabrication. The selection of the material and components was carefully reviewed with professional boat builders.
For safety purpose, the boat has several back-up systems.
Two sets of solar panels charge independently two batteries which alternatively run the electric outboard motor. The high efficient light weight photovoltaic solar modules were manufactured in Italy but distributed in the States by HighFlex Solar in California. The solar panels are articulated for best sun incidence, thus increasing the efficiency of the battery charge. A special sundial designed by Ray Christe, the lead canoer, provides with the best angle to position the solar panels.
The core of the main hull was fused by Melges Performance Sailboat in Zenda, WI.
The batteries and outboard electric motor are manufactured by Torqeedo in Germany. Their North American headquarters are in Crystal Lake, IL.
The design of the electric motor and propeller shaft allows the boat to move forward, backward and make turns on a sharp angle.
A solar-powered convection fan maintains continuous air flow in the batteries compartment.
There are dual bilge pumps for redundancy.
Instrumentation includes Depth Finder, GPS, Netbook, Energy Monitoring and Cellular Phones.
During their voyage, the mariners will camp overnight on the river islands or banks with an occasion night in a motel.
The boat is equipped with a cooler to store beverages and food purchased along the way from cities and towns. The duration of the voyage is expected to last two months, which allows time to go sight-seeing, meet with local townspeople, routine boat maintenance, and so forth.
You can learn more the Odyssey of the CalypSol Group, founded by Ray Christe of Crystal Lake and Larry Kozak of Algonquin, on their Website: www.calypsol.com, or call 815-455-6797
“We’ve been looking forward to this adventure for quite a long time. We’re excited and just about ready to go,” said Kozak. “Next May can’t get here fast enough to begin our adventure of a lifetime.”