High School Students Race Solar-Powered Boats

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The 14th annual Metropolitan Water District Solar Cup — a solar-powered boat-race competition pitting local student teams against one another — recently concluded. Teams from Riverside Poly High School and Kaiser High School claimed the top positions this year.

The Solar Cup program, for those unfamiliar with it, is a year-long program that allows students to design, construct, and race 16-foot single-seat solar-powered boats.

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This year, 38 different teams competed in the race — all from within Metropolitan’s six-county, 5,200 square-mile service area, which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties.

“This has been a great weekend where we’ve seen students at their best — working together as teams to engineer the fastest boats they can, putting to use the math and science skills they’ve been learning all year, and having fun doing it,” stated Randy Record, Chairman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board of Directors. “They’ve also gained a new and valuable appreciation of the state’s natural resources and an understanding of how to live more sustainably. We’re hoping many of these bright young students go on to careers in water or resource management.”

A recent press release provides more:

Riverside Poly High School, in Riverside, won first place in the veteran’s division, while Kaiser High School, in Fontana, took the top prize in the rookie division at the three-day competition at Metropolitan’s Lake Skinner in the Temecula Valley of southwestern Riverside County.

…On Friday, teams completed a qualifying event to ensure boats met rules and were safe and seaworthy. Saturday, the teams attached solar-collection panels to the boats for two, 90-minute, 1.6-kilometer endurance races. Today, the solar-collection panels were removed and boats used solar energy stored in batteries to race down a 200-meter stretch — like drag racing on water.

The complete scores and rankings for the event can be found at the Metropolitan website.


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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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