Ship Ahoy! Aboard the S.S. Solar Shuttle

Earlier this week, Treehugger reported on the launching of the first solar-powered boat in Britain, so this Treehugger felt obliged to go on board for a first-hand report of this naval experience. The voyage starts in the Serpentine, a 40-acre artificial "lake", located in the centre of London. The boat is light, airy and beautiful, all teak and stainless steel, as it floats through the busy waters. Plain sailing ahead, as it rides high in the pond so lots of breeze flows through and there is a good view of the surrounding (pedal) boaters and vistas. The boat is very quiet, with a low hum, much like the sound inside an electric car. It is quite spacious and the fittings are clean and nautical with wood plank flooring and metal seating.

Yesterday was the first day of business and in the boiling heat 300 would-be sailors gave it a try throughout the day. On a bright day like that the solar panels would draw 10-12 amp's. Today is cloudy and overcast but with the ambient light it still draws a minimum of 2.5 amp's. In the winter it will have to be battery-charged once a week. The ride itself takes about 12 minutes and costs 3£. Land ho!