Led by skipper Phil Sharp, holder of a world sailing speed record, this project aims to develop a 60 feet racing boat powered by hydrogen. It will be the first of its kind and it will take part in its first race in November.
In theory, it should have taken part in the Transat Jacques Vabre in October. But that’s just a postponement. This summer, the boat entered the final construction phase in Nantes (France). However, it will be ready to take part in Lorient’s brand new solo transatlantic race, Retour à la Base (literally “back to the basics”), which will start from Fort-de-France in Martinique on 26 November. This race is a qualifier for the Vendée Globe 2024 (07/11/2024 – 19/01/2025).
Several technical partners have worked on this hydrogen racing boat
Oceanslab will be equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell, solar panels, a hydrogenerator and lithium-ion batteries. On the surface, these are the same ingredients as for Energy Observer. But in this case, it’s all about performing in competitions.
Several partners are involved in the project. These include Genevos, which is supplying a 10 kW integrated marine fuel cell (HPM 15) that has won several awards. As a side note, Genevos was co-founded by Phil Sharp. There is also Sunpower (Maxeon Solar Technologies) for the solar panels (integrated on the deck and covering an area of 16 m2) and Oceanvolt for a 600 W hydrogenerator.
The clean energy system allows the boat to reach an average speed of 6 knots (10 kW) for 24 hours, giving it a practical range comparable to that of standard diesel-powered yachts and well above the IMOCA* safety requirement of 5 hours at 5 knots. The green hydrogen, produced from renewable energy sources, is stored in two tanks at 350 bar.
*The International Monohull Open Class Association or IMOCA is an association founded in 1991 and a recognised member of the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) since 1998. It manages the Open 60 monohull class.
Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King