The energy sources aboard Prysmian Group
If there is one Vendée Globe skipper who is especially well-informed about the different forms of energy available to the world of offshore racing, it has to be Giancarlo PEDOTE, who is proudly flying the flag for Prysmian Group and Électriciens sans Frontières (Electricians without Borders). The computer, satellite, autopilot, keel ram, etc. are big energy guzzlers. To recharge this equipment, Giancarlo uses two sources of energy.
– a petrol engine (Lombardini Marine) fitted in the centre of the boat. The traditional engine has the advantage that it recharges the instruments quickly and comprehensively. Furthermore, via the heat that it generates, it helps expel any moisture from the boat.
– two hydro-generators are installed on either side of the transom. The two propellers enable free energy to be produced using water.
However, these devices operate at maximum strength when the boat’s speed is between 7 and 20 knots (the upper limit being the point at which the propellers start to cavitate). Wind turbines and solar panels have been trialled on the IMOCA. The first is ill-suited to monohull sailing and the second, more expensive option, is something that needs to be considered during the construction of the IMOCA.