The Cedarville University Solar Boat Team is fresh off impressive performances both in the US and abroad. In July 2012, the Cedarville team was the top university team in the Dong Energy Solar Challenge (the Netherlands) finishing ahead of all other university teams and taking a 3rd place overall in the Top Class. In 2013, Cedarville captured the Solar Splash World Championship of Collegiate Solar Boating; this is Cedarville’s seventh championship in the past 10 years.
The Dong Energy Solar Challenge, with over 40 boats participating, follows the 220 km course of the great Elfstedentocht, a famous ice skating race around the province of Friesland, the Netherlands. The course begins and ends in Leeuwarden, the capital city of Friesland, and traverses the Frisian canals and lakes, passing through eleven cities. The 2012 race was a challenge in perseverance as rain continually hampered the event and forced teams to be especially diligent in the management of energy. The Cedarville team was the only team from the US and, in addition to defeating the university teams from Europe, Cedarville also beat teams from Brazil, Turkey, and China. Two boats, out of the same mold, finished ahead of Cedarville. These boats, sponsored by Private Energy, were impressive in their performance and set a standard for other boats to strive to achieve.
Competing in these two disparate events, Cedarville finished in second place in both the Solar Splash competition and Class A of the Frisian Solar Challenge. In 2007, the team turned its full attention to the Solar Splash competition and regained its current place as world champions. In the summer of 2008, Cedarville returned to defend its title, setting a new points record.
On May 31, 2009, Cedarville won its record 5th Solar Splash World Championship and has now surpassed the four titles ('94, '95, '96, '99) of Kanazawa Institute of Technology (Japan) and the University of South Carolina at Columbia's three ('98, '00, '01).
In 2010, the team once again set its goal of competing in the Frisian Solar Challenge in the Netherlands, and Solar Splash. The team tackled the tough job of designing an entirely new hull for the Top Class of the Frisian race, new solar arrays, new peak power trackers, and a new motor. While the team made excellent progress towards these goals and worked as hard an any other team, not all the components were perfected causing the team to withdraw from the Frisian race; circumstances at Solar Splash caused the team to drop to a fifth place finish. However, the motor built in 2010, was instrumental in winning the 2011 championship.
As we look forward to 2012, Cedarville seeks to defend its title in the Solar Splash World Championship. In addition, the team will be returning to the Dong Frisian Solar Challenge in the Netherlands, competing against top scholastic and industrial solar boat teams, mainly from Europe. The team aims to compete in the Top Class and improve from its 2006 performance.
For more information on Cedarville University's Solar Boat Team, please contact Dr. Timothy Dewhurst.