Anchors Aweigh: Race Starts to Devise Swiftest Solar Boat

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Last year's LBHS team tries out their handiwork on Lake Skinner.
Last year’s LBHS team tries out their handiwork on Lake Skinner.

Four Orange County high schools have begun to assemble the 16-foot hulls they will equip and race next spring as part of Metropolitan Water District’s 14th annual Solar Cup.

The race that began in 2002 with just eight teams and about 80 students has become the largest solar-powered boat competition in the nation, showcasing technical ingenuity, scientific skills, creativity and collaboration, the water district said in a statement.

This year, more than 900 students will participate on 40 teams in the three-day competition, including a contingent from Laguna Beach High School and three others in the county.

Earlier this month, teams gathered at Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Claremont to build identical, canoe-like hulls from pre-cut, marine-grade plywood. Over the next seven months, the teams will equip them with motors, batteries, solar-collection panels, rudders and steering systems. The race takes place May 13-15 at Lake Skinner near Temecula.

The program allows students to apply math, physics, engineering and communications, while learning about resource management, conservation and alternative energy development, the district says.

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