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UPS Systems MD Tom Sperrey wins ARC yacht race with onboard fuel cell power

A yacht skippered by Tom Sperrey, Managing Director of UK-based UPS Systems, has won the prestigious Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) racing division. A portable fuel cell from SFC Smart Fuel Cell provided auxiliary power onboard during the transatlantic race.

UPS Systems' Tom Sperrey and his crew crossed the finishing line on December 8, after sailing his boat Nightlife from Gran Canaria to St. Lucia. Under the race’s handicapping system, Nightlife won the RORC IRC Racing Division of ARC 2009, and the crew received their winner’s trophy in front of 800 people at the prize-giving ceremony.

Nightlife had onboard an EFOY 1600 direct methanol fuel cell power supply manufactured by German-based SFC Smart Fuel Cell. The unit generated 65 W of electricity to power the navigation, computer, and communications equipment.

The annual transatlantic race is part of the largest ocean sailing event in the world, attracting more than 200 yachts each year. The race starts in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and covers 2700 nautical miles (5000 km), finishing in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia.

‘After being at sea for 16 days, we were absolutely delighted to reach St. Lucia and discover we had won the race,’ says Tom Sperrey. ‘The fuel cell performed incredibly well, even under the hostile conditions of the mid-Atlantic. It’s perfect for sailing as it provided us with a quiet, clean, compact and reliable source of power that lasted for the whole trip.’

Sperrey continues: ‘There isn’t much equipment on a boat that doesn’t require maintenance, but we didn’t have to worry about the fuel cell. Using the fuel cell for the communications equipment meant that we didn’t have to keep powering up the boat’s diesel engine to recharge the batteries.’

UPS Systems Plc is the UK’s largest independent supplier of standby power solutions, and has implemented the first two hydrogen fuel cells in the UK to provide AC standby power. UPS Systems is currently working on several projects where fuel cell technology will be used for the supply of backup or prime power to utilities, telecoms, remote telemetry, portable signage, and renewable energy applications.

Last month another yacht, equipped with an EFOY 2200 fuel cell from SFC Smart Fuel Cell, came second overall in the Transat 6.50 solo transatlantic sailboat race.

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Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Other marine energy and hydropower