VICTORIEN ERUSSARD, AN experienced ocean racer from the city of Saint-Malo in the north of France, was halfway through a dash across the Atlantic when he lost all power. Sails kept the boat moving, but Erussard relied on an engine and generator to keep the electronics running. He temporarily lost his autopilot and his navigation systems, jeopardizing his chances of winning the 2013 Transat Jaques Vabre race.
Never again, he thought. “I came up with the idea to create a ship that uses different sources of energy,” he says. The plan was bolstered by the pollution-happy cargo ships he saw while crossing the oceans. “These are a threat to humanity because they use heavy fuel oil.”