Annual Solar-Powered Boat Races to Wrap up

WINCHESTER – Students from 40 Southern California high schools will take their final laps today in the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s 12th annual Solar Cup competition in the waters of Lake Skinner near Winchester.

The event got underway Friday, featuring teams from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties.

Today, contestants will power through 200-meter sprint races in their 16- foot plywood skiffs, relying on batteries charged with absorbed sunlight to propel their crafts.

An awards ceremony is scheduled after the final race, with trophies going to teams that racked up the highest points for performance, meeting technical standards and producing a public service announcement emphasizing the need for water conservation.

Standouts will be recognized in the ”veteran” and ”rookie” divisions, as well as for teamwork, sportsmanship and the ”hottest-looking boat,” according to the MWD.

Riverside County schools entered in the competition are:

— Hemet Unified School District team;

— Moreno Valley Unified School District team;

— Perris Union High School, Menifee;

— Arlington High School, Riverside;

— Norte Vista High School, Riverside;

— Temecula Valley High School, Temecula; and

— Elsinore High School, Wildomar.

A total 700 youths are taking part.

They’ve spent the last seven months readying their hand-built crafts, which are constructed from kits consisting of batteries, drive trains, electrical systems, propellers, rudders and the solar panels.

According to the MWD, since 2002, about 10,000 students have participated in the solar boat races.

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