Rules of SOLAR SPLASH® 2014
World Championship of Solar/Electric Boating
Updated September 2013
c/o Jeffrey H. Morehouse, PhD, PE
Mechanical Engineering Dept.
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
Phone: (803) 920-9231
September 4, 2013
In the event of a conflict between the Rules on the website and the PDF version available above, the PDF version controls.
The SOLAR SPLASH has been established to promote interest in Science and Technology, Education, and Personal Interactive Skills. Established for collegians, it gives students an opportunity to apply theory to a practical project in a team environment. The SOLAR SPLASH itself serves as an opportunity for students to compete and showcase their accomplishments. Although it is an intercollegiate competition, high school teams who demonstrate competence may be included.
2.3 Right to Revise Rules - The Organizer, as defined in Rule 2.6 below, reserves the right to revise the Rules at any time by providing the participants notification of revisions in the form of Bulletins, revised editions of the Rules, or announcements at the Competition.
2.6 Organizer and Address - The Event is organized and produced by Dr. Jeffrey Morehouse (the “Organizer”) located at the Mechanical Engineering Department, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. This location shall serve as Event Headquarters.
Business hours are generally 9-6 Eastern weekdays.
Phone (803) 920-9231
2.7 Event Officials - The Organizer will select and announce the list of Officials for the Event. These Officials are generally known as “Red Shirts” because of their distinctive red shirts worn at the Event. The Event Officials will be instructed in and responsible for specific duties pertaining to the operation of the Event. The Event Officials shall have the authority and responsibility to ensure compliance with the Rules.
2.8 Insurance - Each participating Team is required to provide proof of general liability insurance from their educational institution or written proof that, as a state institution, they are self-insured. Proof of insurance must be supplied with the Technical Report. Failure to do so will result in a 10 point penalty applied to the Technical Report score.
2.9 Accidents - All accidents must be reported to an Event Official and the Organizer immediately. Failure to do so may affect a Team’s standing in the Event. The Organizer and the Sponsors assume no liability for accidents that occur as the result of poor craft design and construction, unsafe or improper boating procedures, or any form of negligence on the part of the competitors and spectators.
2.10 Release of Liability and Image Release - Everyone involved with the Event – Participants, Faculty Advisors, Officials and official visitors – are required to sign this release upon arriving on-site. The Release is available at Registration.
2.13 Withdrawals - Any team which has agreed to participate shall fulfill such obligation unless excused by the Organizer. Any Team wishing to withdraw must notify the Organizer in writing. If a Team wishes to withdraw at the Event, the Organizer must be notified as soon as possible.
4.1 Registration - The Organizer will require all persons participating or officiating at the Event to Register on Wednesday starting at 8 am. Registrants will be divided into the following categories:
A. Participants (Skippers and Crew)
D. Sponsors and VIPs
4.1.1 Badging - All Registrants will be badged by category when they register to make them easily identifiable at the Event. Badges will be issued after all necessary waivers have been signed, signifying eligibility to participate in the Event. Badges must be worn at all times during the Event, except by the swimmers (4.2.2).
4.1.2 Point of Contact - One person, preferably the Faculty Advisor, must be designated as the primary point of contact for the team during the Event.
4.1.3 Faculty and Guests - The number of faculty at the Event is not limited. Alumni, family, and friends are all welcome, but may not be team members for insurance purposes.
4.1.4 Ballast - The official skipper weight for the competitive events shall be seventy (70) kg. Each skipper will be weighed when he or she registers. Skippers will be weighed in their bathing suits. If a skipper’s weight is less than 70 kg., ballast will be added to make up the difference. If the weight of the skipper is over 70 kg., no credit will be given. Skipper and ballast will be identified with unique tags. The ballast corresponding to the skipper must be carried in the boat when it is on the water.
4.2 Technical Inspections - All craft will be inspected to verify compliance with the Rules. Any Team not passing Technical Inspections will be required to correct the deficiency prior to Qualifying. Craft may be weighed during Technical Inspections. Each team will have a copy of its Technical Report available at Inspection time. Any changes made after Inspection require reinspection.
4.2.1 Safety - Each team is responsible for the seaworthiness of their craft. Passing Technical Inspections does not relieve the Team of any liability. All craft must be maintained in a safe, seaworthy condition at all times.
4.2.2 Swimming Ability - Technical Inspections will include a brief test (50m or less and treading water for 1 minute) of the swimming ability of all team members who may skipper the craft. Participants will not be allowed to use any flotation equipment or any propulsion device such as “flippers” to assist them.
4.2.3 Configuration - All entries (referred to as boats or craft) must conform to the following definitions. The boat will have a skipper who will be the sole occupant.
The only two components that may be removed from or added to the boat for different configurations are the solar panels and the batteries. However, the boat configuration may be modified by replacing or exchanging other individual components (motors, propellers, drive train components, rudders, etc). All components (other than solar panels and batteries) that will be used in any of the configurations must be safely secured within the boat for all configurations and all competitions.
In the Endurance configuration, solar panels must be in place. This configuration will be used during part of the Qualifying Event (the Maneuverability course) and in the Endurance Event. No changes to the configuration are permitted between Qualifying and the Endurance Event.
The Sprint configuration will be used during part of the Qualifying Event (the 70m Sprint course) and in the Sprint Event. No changes to the configuration are permitted between Qualifying and the Sprint Event.
For the Solar Slalom, either configuration may be modified. Solar panels are optional. Replacement or exchange of other parts (motors, propellers, drive train components, rudders, etc) is allowed, but is limited to onboard components as previously described.
All components used in any configuration must be inspected along with the craft. All craft will have their configuration verified in the staging area before competing. The Technical Manager may perform inspections at any time at his discretion.
4.2.4 Solar Array Output - All participants must have their solar collection devices checked to verify that the output does not exceed 480 watts under normal one sun conditions. Commercially-built solar panels will be verified for compliance by using the manufacturer’s specifications. Student-built solar panels will be verified for compliance by using the individual cell specifications, which must be provided at Inspection. A power allowance of 10% will be given to student-built panels, i.e. the total power of the individual cells can add up to 528 Watts.
5.2 Team Member Eligibility - Anyone who has attended the participating educational institution as a full time student in one of the past two semesters or two of the past four quarters, or part time for the past year, is eligible to serve as a team member.
5.4 Entry Forms and Fees - An entry form and fee of $400 ($500 if after the January 13, 2014, early registration deadline) payable to “SOLAR SPLASH” must be submitted for each craft. Each participating institution will be limited to two entries. Each entry must be in the name of the School and signed by a Dean or Principal.
Entries by a club or individuals not formally affiliated with the school will not be accepted. Entries must be sent to:
SOLAR SPLASH Headquarters
c/o Jeffrey Morehouse, PhD, PE
Mechanical Engineering Dept.
University of South Carolina
Columbia , SC 29208
Voice: (803) 920-9231
6.1 Site - The site for SOLAR SPLASH 2014 is the Great Miami River in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Site pictures can be seen on www.solarsplash.com.
The "Open" Class competition events will include:
Solar Slalom, Sprint, Solar Endurance
7.1.1 Solar Slalom - All craft will be considered “electric” for the Slalom, i.e. the solar energy conversion device(s) may be removed.
7.1.2 Solar Endurance - All craft will be powered by direct and stored solar energy. A minimum of 100 Watts of solar power under one sun conditions must be carried on the craft. Only one set of batteries may be used for one Endurance Heat. Batteries cannot be changed during the heat.
7.1.3 Sprint -All craft will be considered “electric” for the Sprint, i.e. the solar energy conversion device(s) may be removed.
7.2.1 Length - The overall length of the craft may not exceed 6 meters (19 ft, 8 in). This does not include the boat number sign.
7.2.2 Width - The maximum allowable width, including the solar array, is 2.4 meters (7 ft, 10.5 in).
7.2.3 Height - The maximum allowable height above the waterline is 1.5 meters (4 ft, 11 in). This height can never be exceeded during the events. This does not include the boat number sign.
7.2.4 Depth - No restriction. An excessive depth may make the craft awkward to handle near shore and may increase the likelihood of encountering underwater obstacles.
7.2.5 Cross Sectional Area - In profile, the fixed area (such as the hull) is unrestricted. The solar array may be fixed or may be in the form of one or more movable panels.
7.3 Materials - Teams are encouraged to be creative in the selection of materials. The only restrictions are 1) flexible materials are not allowed to create a sail, 2) any materials that would pollute the water are not allowed.
7.4 Power - Sunlight is the only power source that shall be used for propulsion. Wind and human power are not allowed. The sunlight may be direct (received onboard during the Event using energy conversion devices) or may be stored in batteries or in other approved energy storage devices. Batteries can be charged only from the inspected energy conversion devices during the Event. Batteries may be brought to the Event fully charged.
7.4.1 Batteries – Craft are allowed to carry 45.5 kg (100 lb) of lead-acid batteries in all events. A maximum of two sets of batteries will be inspected and permitted for use in the competition.
7.4.2 Storage of Solar Radiation - All crafts in the Event will be allowed to store solar energy in their batteries at any time during daylight hours from the time of registration to the completion of the last competition.
7.4.3 Supplemental Batteries -The bilge pump and skipper’s radio must be powered by supplemental batteries. Measurement and telemetry devices may also be powered by supplemental batteries. Any other devices requiring electric power that directly enhance performance must use the energy storage as defined in Rule 7.4. The batteries are not limited to lead-acid technology, and the bilge pump battery must be securely fastened to the hull. Supplemental batteries may be charged from sources other than the inspected energy conversion devices.
7.4.4 "System Voltage" - May not exceed 52 VDC or AC rms.
7.4.5 "Source Voltage" - May not exceed 36 VDC nominal value (usually 3 batteries). A maximum open circuit voltage of 52 VDC for the photovoltaic charging devices is allowed.
7.4.6 Energy Storage Devices - In addition to the storage of solar energy in batteries (7.4.1), energy may be stored using other devices such as capacitors or flywheels. Storage of energy may begin at the "on deck" time.
7.6 Stability - The stability of the craft will be tested by placing 10 kg at the sheer line (outer edge at the beam) with the skipper stationary in the normal operating position. Craft must not heel more than 15°. Skipper must remain centered with hands/feet in normal position.
7.10.1 Shock Hazards - All exposed conductors operating at greater than thirty-six (36) volts must be properly insulated.
7.10.2 Battery Type - Only secondary (electrically rechargeable) batteries are permitted. Fuel cells, primary batteries, or mechanically rechargeable batteries will not be approved. Each team is responsible for supplying their own batteries. The batteries must be commercially available, lead-acid, unmodified with their weight consistent with the Rules. Batteries must be absolutely stock (as manufactured) in every sense. The battery modules may not be modified in any manner, including the addition of electrolyte additives, case modification; or plate addition, removal, or modification. Manufacturer’s data, specification information, and MSDS sheets must be supplied with the Technical Report. Failure to do so for the batteries you plan to use will result in a 10 point penalty applied to the Technical Report score.
If you do not supply literature in the Report, you will be penalized and your batteries will be weighed on site and no tolerance beyond the prescribed weight will be allowed. If you decide to use batteries different from those in your Technical Report, you may do so with no penalty by bringing the new batteries and Manufacturer’s data, specification information, and MSDS sheets to Inspection on site.
7.10.3 Battery Safety - Batteries must be enclosed in one or more battery boxes or a portion of the hull to separate them from the skipper. Battery containment shall not be sealed and must allow for ventilation. Battery containment must protect the skipper from battery explosion and leakage, and may be plastic, fiberglass, or similar materials that will not chemically react rapidly to battery acid. All electrical cables must be properly sized to expected system currents.
7.10.4 Motor Switch - All craft must have a switch wired to disconnect all power to the motor. The device must be able to interrupt full load current. It must be clearly marked in 10 mm high letters as the "Motor Switch" and be plainly marked with "ON" and "OFF" positions in 10 mm high letters. A relay may be used for the switch function.
7.10.5 Main Fuse - A separate fuse (not a circuit breaker) must be in series with the main battery and the rating must be such that it protects the craft's wiring.
7.11 Radios - During all events radio communication between the skipper and a team member on shore is required. There is no restriction on the type or frequency of voice or telemetry radio communication. Radios will be checked during technical inspection, and channels will be assigned. A team member must be in the Scorekeeper area with a radio any time their boat is on the water.
7.12 Skipper Cockpit - The skipper’s cockpit must provide for the skipper’s unassisted exit within 5 seconds in case of emergency. The five (5) second exit, as well as the function of the dead-man’s switch, will be checked during Technical Inspections.
7.12.1 Harnesses - No harnesses or restraints to hold the skipper in place will be allowed.
7.12.2 Safety - The cockpit area will be inspected for hazards and compliance with the Rules during the Technical Inspections and in the Staging and/or On Deck areas.
7.13.1 Drive Train - All fasteners associated with the craft’s drive train must be equipped with locking nuts, double nuts, or nuts secured with safety wire or cotter pins. Locktite may be used in areas of difficult accessibility, but must be accompanied by a written statement of application by the Team’s Faculty Advisor.
7.13.2 Batteries - Batteries must be secured to the hull. This must be done with a strap not less than 1¼" in width, or other hold-down device, that will not allow the battery to come loose if the boat capsizes. Velcro is not acceptable.
7.13.3 Solar Panels - Each panel, with or without a frame, must be attached with a mechanical fastening to the hull. The design should take into account the possibility of gusty winds during the events. In addition, a lanyard must be attached from each solar panel to a secure member of the hull or a frame that attaches to the hull. The lanyard must be strong enough that it will not break if the panel should go into the water while the boat is moving.
7.14.1 Life Preservers - A life preserver, USCG approved Type I, II, or III, must be worn by all craft occupants and safety craft occupants at all times.
7.14.2 Buoyancy of Craft - Sufficient flotation must be provided on board so that the craft cannot sink, even when filled with water. A 20% safety factor must be included in the calculations. Verification calculations must be included in the Technical Report. Failure to do so will result in a 5-point penalty. Revised calculations must be presented at Inspection if significant changes have been made since submission of the Technical Report.
7.14.3 Towing - A fitting for emergency towing must be attached at the bow. Its hole diameter must be at least 14 mm (0.56 in). All boats must carry a minimum of 5 meters of towing line, which will be provided at Registration. The towing line must be attached to the fitting and must be made easily accessible for emergency towing.
7.14.4 Signal Devices - Two signal devices must be carried on board the craft at all times. They are:
A. Audible - a sound-producing device (a pressurized air can is acceptable).
B. Visual - an orange ("skier in the water") warning flag. This flag must be displayed in the event of a breakdown. A socket for the flag must be provided to allow the skipper to paddle the craft.
7.14.5 Paddle - A paddle, no less than 60 cm (23.6 in) long with a blade at least 13 cm (5.1 in) wide, must be on board at all times. The skipper will be required to propel the craft with the paddle during Technical Inspections.
7.14.6 Fire Extinguisher - A U.S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher with a minimum capacity of one pound must be carried on board.
7.14.7 Automatic Bilge Pump - an automatic electric bilge pump that is powered by a supplemental battery is required. The pump must have a minimum rating of 360 GPH, such as a model #24-35 pump made by Rule or equivalent. The discharge hose may not be smaller than the outlet on the pump. The hose must be secured to the hull to ensure that the discharge goes overboard.
7.14.8 Covers and Shields - The craft’s revolving parts must be suitably covered to prevent accidental contact. All steering linkage must be shielded from contact with the skipper. If a flywheel is used, an NHRA approved scatter shield must cover it.
8.1 Morning Meetings - An open meeting will be held each morning, at 8 a.m., unless otherwise posted, before the day’s events. Attendance by a skipper and the Team Leader is mandatory. Failure to do so will result in a penalty and team representative(s) must be briefed and sign a waiver.
8.3 Course - Courses for the on-the-water events are defined below (courses may be as shown or mirror-image). Boats are required to get to the start line and return to the Launching Site by motoring or paddling unless towing is required for safety.
8.3.1 Qualifying - The primary purpose of Qualifying is to determine the eligibility of Teams to participate in the Event. Qualifying will be used to test the safety, seaworthiness, handling, maneuverability, and “qualifying time” of each craft. The track of the boat through the Maneuverability course must generally conform to the diagram and may not vary by more than 15 meters from the prescribed path. A 70-meter straight line Sprint course will be set up and timed to demonstrate the ability of the skipper to control the boat from a standing start in a straight line under full power.
Qualifying Time will be calculated from the times on the Maneuverability and Sprint courses and will be used in determining points towards the overall winner.
8.3.2 Solar Slalom - The course will utilize the first two marks for the Maneuverability course and two additional marks at 50m intervals in the manner shown.
8.3.3 Sprints - Sprints will be held over a 300-meter straight course.
8.3.4 Endurance - The event will be held over a closed course not exceeding 2 km in length. There will be two, 2-hour heats, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. All entries must carry their solar energy conversion device(s), as inspected, on board during the Event. Any changes in the solar energy conversion devices must be reinspected and reapproved before competing.
8.8 Scoring and Results - The results of each day’s events will be available no later than the following day’s Morning Meeting. The results of the final day’s events will be announced and posted at the final awards ceremony.
- Technical Report - 90 points. The report judged as the best will receive 90 points. Others will receive fewer points as judged by a panel of technical reviewers. See Rule 8.11 for Technical Report format and criteria.
- Visual Presentation - 40 points. The presentation should be targeted to both a general audience and the Solar Splash judges. The topic of the Visual Display should directly relate to significant and/or new features of the team’s boat. Points awarded will be based on overall visual appeal, clarity of message, and ease of understanding. The display should be resistant to wind and water and must be set up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and from 9 a.m. Sunday until 1 p.m.
- Qualifying - 100 points. Your Time will be the sum of your Maneuverability time plus five times your Sprint Qualifying time. The fastest qualifier will receive 100 points. All other qualifiers will be scored by the formula:
Winner's Time Your Points = ------------------- X 100 Your TimeIf multiple attempts must be made in order to qualify, your qualifying time on that course will be multiplied by the number of attempts. Failure to complete the Maneuverability course prevents an entry from competing in the Endurance Event. Your Time will then be twenty times your Sprint Qualifying time multiplied by the number of Sprint Qualifying attempts. Failure to complete the Sprint Qualifying course prevents an entry from competing in the Sprint Event. Your Time will then be four times your Maneuverability time multiplied by the number of Maneuverability attempts.
- Workmanship - 20 points. Points awarded will be based on quality of workmanship as determined by a panel of judges.
- Solar Slalom - 100 points. The same scoring formula that is used for Qualifying will apply. If a competitor fails their first attempt, additional attempts may be allowed, time permitting. If multiple attempts are made, Your Time will be multiplied by the number of attempts.
- Sprint - 250 points. Your Time will be the sum of your two best Sprint times. If a competitor completes just one Sprint heat, Your Time will be four times the time of the completed heat. If a competitor completes no heats, they will receive zero points in the Sprint.
Winner's Time Your Points = ------------------- X 100 Your Time
- Endurance Event - 400 points. The purpose is to go as far as possible in 2 hours. Total
distance traveled will be recorded to the nearest 0.25 lap completed.
Your total distance (2 heats) Your Points = --------------------------------------- X 400 Winner's total distance (2 heats)
8.10 Seeding – First round Sprints consist of two-boat heats, which will be filled in the order that Qualifying is completed. Second round Sprints consist of three-boat heats, which will include a fast, medium, and slower boat based on first round results. The three boats with the fastest times in the first two rounds advance to the Championship Heat. Prior to the Championship Heat, all other boats also run a third time, grouped from slowest to fastest. All boats start at the same time in the morning and afternoon Endurance heats.
8.11 Technical Report - A technical report is required. A PDF copy must be received by Headquarters by 5 p.m. EDT on May 5, 2014. The boat number must be displayed on the cover in a minimum 36 pt. type. The names of all students and faculty advisors involved with the project must appear on the cover. Reports will be made available for participants of future SOLAR SPLASH Events. Requirements for the technical report are detailed on www.solarsplash.com.
9.1 Boat Number Signs - Each craft will have a “boat number” assigned by the Organizer. Each team will be provided with a base and an “L” bracket for their “boat number” sign. The base, or a satisfactory substitute, must be mounted in a manner that will allow for non-rotating display of the sign. All participants will be provided physically similar signs. These signs may not be modified. The sign will not be included in the dimensions of the craft.
9.4 Team Sponsor Identification - A maximum of three (3) advertising spots per sponsor will be allowed. No team sponsorship graphics will be added after Technical Inspection without the Organizer's approval.
Any Team failing to comply with the Rules, as stated herein, may be penalized. Officials are required to record all instances of unsafe conduct, and penalties will be assessed as follows:
11.1.1 Leaving the Course - If a craft leaves the Qualifying course, as defined in Rule 8.3.1, the craft has not qualified.
11.1.2 Striking a Buoy - If a craft strikes a buoy, a ten (10) second penalty will be assessed.
11.2.1 Striking a Buoy - If a craft strikes a buoy, a five (5) second penalty will be assessed.
11.3.1 Disturbing Official Battery Markings - When batteries are inspected, they will be given official tags. These tags must not be disturbed. Competitors are allowed to use only the batteries inspected for their craft. Officials may assess penalties ranging from fifty (50) points to total disqualification.
11.3.2 Obstructive Boating - Any Team that operates their craft in a manner that impedes the progress of another craft or risks the safety of another craft or of their own will receive a minimum penalty of fifty (50) points or may be disqualified at the discretion of the Officials.
11.3.3 Striking a Buoy - If a craft strikes a buoy and remains in its lane, a five (5) second penalty will be assessed.
11.3.4 Leaving the Course - If a craft leaves its assigned lane, its run has ended and it must be shut down and may not re-enter the course or finish. See 8.10 for scoring.
11.4.1 Disturbing Official Battery Markings - When batteries are inspected, they will be given official tags. These tags must not be disturbed. Competitors are allowed to use only the batteries inspected for their craft. Officials may assess penalties ranging from fifty (50) points to total disqualification.
11.4.2 Obstructive Boating - Any Team that operates their craft in a manner that impedes the progress of another craft or risks the safety of another craft or of their own will receive a minimum penalty of one lap per infraction or may be disqualified at the discretion of the Officials.
11.4.3 Striking a Buoy - If a craft strikes a buoy, the craft must execute a 360° penalty turn on the inside of the course prior to the completion of the Event.
11.4.4 Failure to Yield to Right-of-way - Any Team failing to allow right-of-way when being overtaken by another craft will be penalized a minimum of 0.5 laps per infraction.
11.7 Conduct - Officials may assess penalties ranging from ten (10) points to total disqualification for improper conduct. Such conduct may include, but is not limited to, improper language and obscene gestures.
All advertising, sales promotion, and publicity material produced by the Teams or their sponsors concerning or referring to the Event shall refer to the Event as "SOLAR SPLASH 2014". By entering the Event, all teams shall agree to the use, without compensation, of their names and photographs in any publicity material that may be issued by the Event's Sponsor, the Organizer, and their associated companies.
The Sponsor and Organizer of the Event will recognize all Teams' participation. In addition, the following awards will be presented:
13.2 Overall and Runner-Up Awards - For each competition, an award will be presented to the Team that demonstrates the best performance. Runner-up awards may also be presented. An Overall Winner will be determined by a formula which includes: Technical Report, Visual Presentation, Workmanship, Qualifying, Solar Slalom, Endurance, and Sprint. Runner-up awards may also be presented.
To assure that all competitors are in compliance with the Rules during the competitions, an "on deck" area has been established. There are some safety concerns that will be checked, and are subject to penalty. This, along with the "staging" area, is intended to expedite the conduct of the competitions, especially the Sprint events. All Rules and procedures are written with the safety of the participants and spectators in mind.
14.4 Boats must be removed from the water if extensive repair work is required. Only minor repairs will be allowed on the water and must be done outside the course area. Boats left in the water must be reinspected before they compete in the next event.
14.7 At the discretion of the officials, in order to give the media a good photo opportunity, the start of the Endurance heats may begin with a "Parade lap". There will be no passing until on the course.
This is the area that is under large tents, where each entry will have an area of approximately 300 square feet. This area may have to be adjusted, depending on the number of participants. The area is used to work on and store the craft and for the Visual Display. Participants are encouraged to have School Banners or other identification. The area immediately outside the tent may be used for recharging.
Because of restrictions at the Site, no on-the-water testing will be allowed.