Boat with solar panels clearly visible.
Two boats leaving
varying sized wakes.
measure of the average top speed of
boats from recent races was taken
by dividing time raced by distance
covered, giving miles per hour (mph);
an average of 13-14 in most cases for
the top racers. One year, a boat
amazed the crowds and competitors
with speeds of 15-16 mph, according
The top distance of any race has
been 11 laps around a two kilometer
The Technical Workshops
The kids building and racing the
boats attend technical workshops,
which demonstrate how to use the
hull they built to make a solar
powered boat. Solar panels and
electrical systems are also covered,
along with the technical side of
establishing good floatation, center of
gravity, and anything to do with what
they will add to their boats.
There is a second workshop that
uses the first as a stepping stone,
AND THE SOLAR CUP WINNERS ARE ...
By May 20 2007, the Fifth Annual
Solar Cup (Southern California) —
the world’s largest solar-powered
boat race — was decided. The race
matched teams of high-school students against the odds and elements.
The “veteran” category (returning
competitors) winners this year were
the team from Diamond Bar High
School. Racers are identified as
veterans or “newcomers” (first-time
competitors); this year’s winning
newcomer team was Pamela County
Park, Duarte High School.
The second and third place
Diamond Bar team boat out in front
in Solar Cup sprint race.
veteran winners were Millikan High
and Canyon; Lakeside High and
Rancho Cucamonga took the second
and third spots overall among
newcomers, respectively. Thirty-six of
41 teams won various awards in both
racing and team-participation-type
The three-day weekend racing
events for speed and endurance, held
at Lake Skinner, were the culmination
of six months of preparation by
students, team leaders, educators,
and other constituents and supporters. Lake Skinner is a clean water
reservoir; racers had to compete
without touching water to bare skin.
During the grueling six month
trial of elbow grease and education,
the students learned hands-on about
math, physics, engineering, boating,
and boat construction while
designing and building their own
solar powered racing craft.
As the students prepared for the
race over the course of the previous
half year, they wrote four technical
reports, assembled and presented
visual displays on water-related issues,
and generally strained to make ready
for the race, as well as the future of
conservation and their own futures.
Through the sponsorship of each
high school’s local water organizations and agencies, municipalities and
governments, service-oriented groups
and clubs and others, each team
raised the $3,000 in fees required to
learn, build, race, and have fun.
The annual event, sponsored by
the Metropolitan Water District of
Southern California (MWD) at Lake
Skinner, points out the importance of
renewable energy, resource management, and conservation. The race
embodies a greater significance this
year, the driest year for California,
according to Tim Brick, MWD chair.
The event instills the students
with sportsmanship while engrossing
them in aspects of water conservation, resource management, and
teamwork. Almost 900 students from
five counties benefited from the