Liquid News

Solar Cup Team Hopes This Year Goes its Way

Irvine Ranch Water District’s El Toro High School Solar Cup team is counting on “Lucky 7” for 2012. The team is optimistic that seven – the number of years the team has participated, will be its lucky number.

For the past two years of competition, they’ve had a run of bad luck. In 2010, a drive shaft broke and last year, a brand new engine seized up and died the first day of qualifying.

“Everything will go right this year!” said Glenn Matyasovich, president of the school’s Engineering Club. “We have a great boat and great team and are adding some new features to this year’s boat.”

Solar Cup is an eco-boating competition sponsored by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The seven-month program begins with boat building workshops in which teams construct their boats from identical kits of marine-caliber plywood. Boats are 16 feet long and weigh about 250 pounds.

Throughout the months there are several workshops focusing on technical aspects such as drive trains, electrical systems, solar power collection and steering systems. Race weekend is May 18-20 at Lake Skinner in Riverside where teams will compete in endurance and sprint races.

El Toro’s 11-member team with many returning members from last year, are involved in the Engineering Club. The adviser, teacher Doug Ford, had a special room built at the school a few years ago to accommodate the solar boat construction. Previous boats had been stored at the homes of students and it wasn’t always convenient to organize work parties. Now, the boat is stored on campus and students can come in after classes, or during lunch to work on the boat.

For more information about IRWD education programs, please visit our website.

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