We have been running Sun Powered Yachts for 5 years and the number of boats going solar is on the increase. It's palpable, you can walk the docks at your local marina, look around the anchorages and it's easy to notice that solar is on the rise. In fact I wonder if there are now more boats with solar panels than without?
It's hard to put an exact number on how many boats have solar aboard but we're keen to do some more research. We reached out to World Cruising Club in Cowes (UK) to see what data we could pull from their ARC sailing rallies. As you may know we recently sailed on the ARC 2021 on our own boat ('Blake' - a Dufour 382) and this is World Cruising Club's signature rally across the Atlantic with typically well over 200 cruising sailboats taking part each November. I have also personally worked for World Cruising Club starting in 2009 as a "yellow shirt" and going on to be the Event Manager for ARC Europe (the return crossing) for 10 years.
World ARC route map
We took a look at the numbers on the recent edition of the World ARC 2023, this includes the boats that started their circumnavigation in Saint Lucia and those that started in Australia, but also those that stopped in Australia after crossing the Pacific.
So in total there were 60 boats surveyed, 34 had solar, 15 did not and 11 boats did not specify.
57% of boats have solar aboard with an average of 646W
What is the World ARC?
World ARC is a round-the-world adventure taking place over 15 months and covering 26,000 nautical miles. Following the classic tradewinds route, the rally avoids regions of political instability, piracy and the storm seasons in both hemispheres. You can join in Saint Lucia or in Australia, and sail a half rally or make the whole circumnavigation. Boats leaving after a half rally can join the next edition to complete their circumnavigation.
Where are the boats now?
We look forward to doing further research into how many ARC rally boats have solar, and just boats in general. Going solar aboard is certainly a growing trend that we are very pleased to see.