First electric boat circumnavigation on hold

Jimmy Cornell has abandoned his Elcano Challenge – a quest to retrace the world’s first circumnavigation in a fully electric boat – for now.

Jimmy Cornell has abandoned his Elcano Challenge – a quest to retrace the world’s first circumnavigation in a fully electric boat – for now.

The yachtsman, author and World Cruising Club founder, now in his 80s, says vital lessons were learned in the attempt to retrace the Magellan-Elcano expedition.

Aventura Zero, his Outremer 4.Zero multihull, proved ‘outstanding seaworthiness’ during a 1,500-mile passage from Tenerife to La Grande Motte.

However, its ability to reproduce electricity while sailing – via propellers on two saildrives – needs addressing.

The goal is to complete the challenge without diesel generator backup.

Jimmy Cornell said: ‘In my long life I cannot remember ever abandoning a promising project, and it is painful to accept failure.’

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Aventura-Zero

Aventura Zero – attempting to sail with zero emissions

Despite not using electric winches, no hot drinks, turning off fridges and using the solar cooker, Aventura Zero failed to maintain a sustainable balance between consumption and regeneration.

Cornell said: ‘The system might work on a passage to the Caribbean in tradewind conditions, or a Mediterranean cruise where one could stop in a marina and charge the batteries, but not on a challenging route such as the one we were embarking on.’

Cornell is working with Outremer and Oceanvolt to install more efficient equipment.

After testing, the challenge will restart in Seville this October.

He added: ‘The delay has a silver lining: our planned return to Seville will coincide with the 500th anniversary of Elcano’s arrival on 6 September 1522.’

Source: Yachting Monthly

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