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Educational Cuba voyage running on solar-powered boat

Oct 12, 2016
Washington DC Public Schools Sailing Club members get a look at the solar panels on Vittoria.

Washington DC Public Schools Sailing Club members get a look at the solar panels on Vittoria.

Courtesy VEE

Four sailors are preparing for a three week voyage from Washington D.C. to Cuba aboard a sailboat powered by wind and renewable energy. 

The Vittoria Energy Expedition, or VEE, is scheduled to depart Washington on the 31-foot vessel Vittoria on Oct. 30. They plan to visit Charleston, S.C., and Cape Canaveral on the way to Key West for the final leg of the journey to Havana and other points in Cuba. 

The crew consists of Chad Johnson, Andrew Polich, Peter Serano and Nathan Sermonis, each of whom bring different skills and expertise to the voyage. On the island, they’ll visit solar and wind farms and communicate with Cuban residents about alternative energy. 

“Ultimately, we aim to show how these technologies can empower individuals, communities, and nations to localize power production and take control of their energy destiny,” Nathan Sermonis, VEE co-founder, said in a statement. “With Vittoria and our 2,000 mile expedition to Cuba, we’re not only surviving on renewables, we’re thriving.”

The sailboat Vittoria has been outfitted with “off the shelf” renewable equipment. In all, six 250-watt solar panels have been installed on the vessel, along with a 400-watt turbine and 6 250 Ah 12-volt batteries. These systems provide power for the boat’s electric propulsion system. 

The vessel is intended to serve as a floating, sailing classroom. It’s also meant to test these sustainable systems and demonstrate their potential, according to a news release. 

“Our demonstrations aim to draw audiences into a fun, educational campaign that illustrates the impressive capacity of wind, solar, battery, and other technologies have to change how we power our lives and draw audiences into a meaningful discussion on the benefits of modern renewable energy systems,” Johnson said in a statement. 

Frager's Hardware, Solar Solution, DC Sail, Patagonia, and Clif Bar are among the companies sponsoring the voyage. 

Go here to learn more about the voyage, the vessel and the crew. 

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