The 8-foot long watercraft — Damon McMillan’s two-year garage project — had a rocky start when a software bug ruined the first attempt to set sail on Memorial Day. Two weeks later, on June 11, bug fixed, SeaCharger was off to sea again from Half Moon Bay, California, and arrived safely in Mahukona, Hawaii 41 days later on July 22.
McMillan’s aim was to create an “unmanned surface vehicle that could cross an ocean using sunlight as its sole energy source.” Accordingly, the fiberglass-covered hull is topped with solar panels that charge a battery bank to run the autopilot, GPS and satellite communication circuitry.
The SeaCharger averaged 2.43 mph and 58 miles a day, even being pushed around by winds and currents, and is pictured, courtesy of www.seacharger.com
By the way, the Solar Voyager, a similar vessel with the same aim, which tried to cross the Atlantic this summer, wound up being rescued by the Royal Canadian Navy in June.
— Elleda Wilson