20 years ago, in 1999, Energy Solutions supplied 12 sets of 673L (6kW @ 1800rpm) Northern Lights Marine Generators, DC link boxes, AC Distribution panels and power electric units for the new 12 steel cutters built for the 2000/2001 BT Global Challenge race.
The Challenge race – started by Sir Chay Blyth in 1989 was held every four years, and took a fleet of one-design steel yachts, crewed by ordinary men and women who paid to take part, round Cape Horn and through the Southern Ocean. It was unique in that the race took the westabout route around the world against prevailing winds and currents - often referred to as the ‘wrong way’ route. The fleet of steel cutters were raced in the both the 2000/1 and the 2004/5 races. Four of the vessels were bought by the Tall Ships Youth Trust and are in still in use today.
Since becoming part of the Tall Ships Youth Trust each yacht has completed around 10 transatlantic crossings with adult crews and delivered hundreds of voyages in the Solent and beyond taking young people aged 12 – 25 many of whom are disadvantaged or disabled, on physically and mentally challenging sail training adventures which equip them with the skills they need to reach their true potential and thrive in life.
Over the 20 years the Northern Lights generators onboard have undertaken 6,000 hours of use, powered each of the 4 yachts through over 200,000 miles of worldwide racing, transatlantic and local journeys and they are still going strong. With regular servicing, good maintenance and care the units have proven to be the ultimate in robust, marine engineering.
On a visit to the Trust, Energy Solutions’ Hugh Cunningham was delighted to see how the units were still performing and acting as a perfect showcase of how a good specification will deliver exceptional long term results.
“The four generators are excellent examples of what we expect from a Northern Lights set - robust, reliable power. For vessels like these that perform such an important function these generators have really delivered the best performance possible.”
Moving forward, the Tall Ships Youth Trust are currently raising funds to add a a 24-berth flagship to the fleet which will be the optimum size for larger groups of young people. The Trust envisages a schooner-type vessel, akin to the Sir Winston Churchill and Malcolm Miller the charity operated when they first started over 60 years ago. Energy Solutions look forward to working with the Trust as they move forward with their plans.