by Jeni Bone
A boating demonstration in the middle Darling Harbour during the Sydney International Boat Show showed off the capacity and potential of the prototypes of Riviera Solar Boats.
Riviera Solar Challenge, practising for the International Solar Challenge later in 2008.
The boats, specially developed by apprentices at Riviera for the International Solar Challenge later this year, were manned by representatives of the marine media.
Modeled on Riviera's popular 45 Open Flybridge model and featuring two catamaran hulls with a solid deck between, each boat is powered by an electric outboard motor that draws energy from a solar panel mounted on the boat's deck.
Hillary Buckman from Ocean magazine, Gary Dickson from SeaSpray and Charlie Walter from BoatsPlus raced on behalf of the media and they were joined by Miss World Australia contestant, Sonia Lipski.
Solar Challenge host Tim Levy with Hillary Buckman, Sonia Lipski and Gary Dickson
Competition was fierce and fast through two laps around the small area of waterway in Cockle Bay and while the results were disputed and unclear, the opinion was unanimous that the boats are efficient and fun.
Riviera Solar Challenge makes its way to the marina for launching.
Australia's International Solar Boat Challenge is being run by Social Environment and Economic Sustainability Ltd (SEES). This is a non-profit organisation that has been formed for the purpose of running our Challenge programs and to undertake activities for the general encouragement of science.
Heats and finals will be held at the following venues:
* QLD Finals - Thursday, September 11, Evandale Lake Parklands, Bundall, Gold Coast
* NSW Finals - Saturday, September 13, Sydney International Regatta Centre, Sydney
* VIC Finals - Sunday, October 19, Scienceworks, Melbourne
* National & International Finals - Saturday, November 1, Sydney International Regatta Centre, Sydney
More at www.riviera.com.au and www.solarchallenge.com.au