A Lakewood man and an Algonquin man have spent a couple of years building a solar powered canoe.
They are Ray Christe and Larry Kozak, respectively.
On the windiest day this week, they decided to launch the canoe, which they have named the CalypSol, for the press at the Crystal Lake Park District’s Main Beach ramp.
Three of us showed up, so you can expect a couple more stories in the near future.
The CalypSol Group celebrated a nautical milestone with the completion of construction of their high tech solar power 22FT trimaran by completing the final stage of the assembly for the main components.
The craft is due to leave this summer from the Chicago River for a long journey down the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, taking two adventuring boaters from Chicago to New Orleans. From “The Loop 97.9, Chicago’s Rock Station” sticker on the sides of the trimaran, I imagine that the Chicago launch might be covered live by the radio station.
They will be retracing the same waterway used by Joliet and Marquette in their birch bark canoes over 300 years ago.
CalypSol will be the first solar powered boat navigating this route that is still referred to 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 the boat has several back-up systems.
Two sets of solar panels independently charge two batteries that alternatively run the high performance Torqeedo Travel 503 outboard electric motor. It represents the latest design in a series of highly efficient models developed by Torqeedo.
One of the key features for selecting Torqeedo Travel outboard was the lithium-manganese battery which can be solar charged while running the motor.
It also includes GPS and charge-monitoring. On the digital throttle display you get distance covered, battery charge status and travel distance remaining at current speed.
The three-blade propeller pitch has been optimized by Torqeedo.
The assembly of the electric motor and propeller shaft allows the boat to move forward, backward and make sharp turns.
The Torqeedo professional Staff in Crystal Lake, IL was very supportive throughout the stages of design and construction of the CalypSol.
HighFlex Solar in California supplied the highly efficient lightweight photovoltaic solar modules. A custom designed mechanism positions the solar panels into the sun, optimizing the charging of the batteries.
Ray Christe designed a special sundial that provides the best angle to position the solar panels. Melges Performance Sailboats in Zenda, WI fused the main hull core. A solar-powered convection fan maintains continuous airflow to cool the twin-battery compartment.
- Depth Finde
- GPS, Energy Monitoring System
- Cellular Phones
During their voyage, the boaters 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 sightseeing and meeting with local townspeople.
You can learn more about the odyssey of the CalypSol Group, founded by Ray Christe of Crystal Lake and Larry Kozak of Algonquin, by visiting their website at http://www.calypsol.com/ or calling 815-861-6898 or 847-226-4899.
“We’ve been looking forward to this adventure for quite a long time. We’re excited and just about ready to go,” said Kozak.
“[Our trip] can’t get here fast enough to begin our adventure of a lifetime.”