Torqeedo launches electric-propulsion challenge

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Torqeedo has created the Torqeedo Catalina Solar/Electric Boat Challenge to prove that electric outboards are destination motors.

The challenge also honors Bob Nordskog, a man who, 30 years ago, traveled more than 26.5 nautical miles in the Pacific Ocean from Long Beach Harbor to Catalina Island in the first electric boat ever built, Torqeedo said in a statement.

The first Torqeedo Catalina Challenge took place Oct. 24 in a 16-foot, 7-inch Hobie Getaway Catamaran named the Kona Concept, modified to accommodate batteries and a solar panel and powered by the Cruise 4.0R Torqeedo Electric Outboard Motor.

The captain of Kona Concept and grandson of Bob Nordskog, Erik Robert Nordskog; and navigator Jim Czarnowski, director of engineering for Hobie Cat, completed it in six hours and 41 minutes with 35 percent battery power remaining.

"The purpose is to go beyond using electric propulsion only on green lakes, in marinas and on cocktail cruisers," the company said in a statement. "It's to demonstrate that electric propulsion can be developed into a destination motor in the mainstream boating industry."

There are four classes in which to compete: mono-hull, above and below 18 feet, as well as multi-hull, above and below 18 feet. Participants need to submit a proposal and document the voyage for consideration. Winners will be rewarded with a bronze medallion replica of the original Catalina Challenge trophy.

For information and challenge rules, e-mail Larry Smith.

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