The sun21 crew at the press conference after their arrival in New York (Beat von Scarpatetti, David Senn, Michel Thonney, Martin Vosseler, Mark Wüst, from the left)
Arrival in New York City
The mayor of Miami, Manuel A. Diaz, presents the crew the Keys to the City of Miami.
Arrival at Martinique.
The sun21 heading to Martinique.
On the way to the Canary Islands.
Due to a storm the sun21 sought refuge in the harbour of Casablanca (Morocco).

The story so far


Mark Wüst and MW-Line resolve to cross the Atlantic for the first time in a solar boat. They look around for interested partners.


Martin Vosseler and Beat von Scarpatetti are involved in a climate project and consider possibilities to travel from Europe to America in an environmentally friendly way. Inspired by the idea of a solar boat, they join the project.

January 2006:

The association "transatlantic21" is founded to realize the project. Financing is guaranteed by a group of committed individuals networked by Dr. Daniela Schlettwein in Basel.

March 2006:

The construction of "sun21" begins. >> pictures

April 2006:

Professor David Senn of the University of Basel joins the team. He will be on board and will carry out ocean-biological studies, including an analysis of the Atlantic's plankton.

11 May 2006: goes online and is presented to the public at a media conference.

20 September 2006:

The "sun21" is transported from Western Switzerland to the Rhine river.

21 September 2006:

The boat is put into water at Birsfelden near Basel. Some final installations and tests are done.

14 October 2006:

Public visitation to the boat in Basel. >> pictures

16 October 2006:

Christening and departure in Basel. Federal Councillor and Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey officially launches the boat. After the ceremony, about 400 invited guests and passers-by watch the "sun21" starting its journey. >> pictures

16–26 October 2006:

The solar catamaran travels from Basel to Rotterdam. Meetings and press conferences at several stopps in France and Germany.

*Thanks to Peters & May, GmbH for transportation!

26 October 2006:

In Rotterdam, the "sun21" is loaded onto the freighter "Joanna" (Peter & May GmbH) that brings the solar boat through the difficult Channel and Gulf of Biscaya to Cadiz in Spain.

10 November 2006

The American Time Magazine nominates the solar boat "sun21" as a candidate for the "Best Invention of the Year 2006" in the category of transportation.

21 November 2006

After a journey along the river Guadalquivir, the "sun21" arrives in Seville.

3 December 2006

Departing from the Spanish port of Chipiona, the "sun21" leaves the European mainland with its sights set on the Canary Islands. With a crew of just five (skipper Mark Wüst, skipper Michel Thonney, Martin Vosseler, Beat von Scarpatetti and David Senn), the solar catamaran will follow Christopher Columbus' historic route to the Americas. Prior to the departure, an official farewell ceremony was held in Sevilla, which was attended by the mayor of Seville, Alfredo Sànchez Monteseirìn, Armin Ritz, the Swiss Ambassador to Spain, and project collaborator Juan Carlos del Olmi, General Secretary of WWF/Adena. >> pictures

11 December 2006

Travelling from Chipiona to the Canary Islands, the "sun21" weathers its first storm and seeks refuge in the harbour of Casablanca (Marocco).

19 December 2006

The "sun21" arrives in Puerto Calero (Lanzarote - Canary Islands). >> pictures

9 January 2006

Midway between the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, the "sun21" crew decides to head directly to Martinique without the originally planned stopover in Cape Verde.

2 February 2006

The "sun21" becomes the first motorized vessel to cross the Atlantic without fuel. At 3 p.m. local time, the solar catamaran arrives in the harbour of Le Marin, Martinique. The crew is in good health and is pleased with the successful transatlantic crossing. >> pictures

2–12 February 2007

In Martinique the crew enjoyed the feeling of solid ground under their feet. They participated in press conferences with TV and radio stations to discuss their successful crossing of the Atlantic. Politicians, local administrators, environmental activists and other high-profile individuals had lively discussions with the crew and invited them on interesting tours. Professor David Senn returned to Switzerland.

Mid-February to early March 2007

The “sun21” traveled from one Caribbean island to the next and was received with great interest at every port. In Dominica 230 students came to look at the solar boat, and the crewmembers heard more about a local Swiss development project for children. They also exchanged views about the future of environmentally friendly energy supplies with a representative of the Kalinagos, the last descendents of the Caribbean Indians. The crew received an enthusiastic welcome on the islands of Marie Galante and Guadeloupe, where they were invited to many talks. In Guadeloupe Mark Wüst, the boat builder and captain, left to go back to Switzerland. A new co-skipper, Jean-Claude Pichon, was added to the crew. After final stopovers in St. Martin and in the Virgin Islands the time for island hopping was over and the travel time between ports became longer.

7 March 2007

The ship reached the Dominican Republic and anchored in the spectacular scenery of Luperon. The crewmembers were amazed by the lively city streets and took on Yves Thonney as their new co-skipper. After stopping over for a few days the boat continued on its journey, next stop the Bahamas.

13 March 2007

Towards evening the wind picked up and the “sun21” experienced a stormy night, nearly colliding with a freighter ship. The crew was extremely relieved on the following evening when the boat approached the port in Matthew Town on the Great Inagua Island. Welcome to the Bahamas!

Mid to late March 2007

Through shallow, heavenly turquoise-colored water the “sun21” traversed the islands of the Bahamas. The crew passed by countless small islands and during the stopovers they soaked up the many natural wonders of the islands. They also heard more about the history of the Bahamas and the cruelty of the colonial era to which the natives were exposed in the 15th century. North Bahamas was a confusing maze of islands, atolls, reefs, lagunas and shipwrecks, which the skipper had to navigate with the utmost caution. Strong winds and currents did not improve the situation and forced the boat to wait several times.

27 March 2007

The solar boat arrived in Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas. Due to the forecast of good weather, the crew decided to attempt the difficult journey to Florida straight away, and left the port on the following day.

29 March 2007

After a surprisingly easy final stretch out on the open seas the “sun21” arrived in Miami. The Miami Yacht Club provided a warm welcome for the crewmembers and helped them in a variety of ways on the following days. On top of press conferences, radio interviews and film crews, the crew attended several parties and social events. They did not just talk about the trip, but also encouraged the audience to use their influence to help environmentally friendly technologies make the economic breakthrough.

2 April 2007

The Mayor of Miami greeted the crew at an official reception ceremony and congratulated them on their successful journey across the Atlantic. The arrival of the solar boat had inspired him to start promoting the use of renewable energy in Miami. He also stated his intention to acquire solar boats. The Mayor backed up his words by declaring the 2nd of April the “sun21 Day of Miami”.

First half of April 2007

On the 3rd of April the “sun21” left Miami and headed towards New York. The journey was through the “Intracoastal Waterways”, which is a complex system of canals and lagunas along the east coast. The crew attached placards to the deck to explain the purpose of the journey to the countless people they passed by on the heavily populated route. After an enforced break due to heavy cloud cover the boat left the canals in Florida and headed out to the faster route at sea. It progressed quickly along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina and made up for the lost time in its travel schedule.     

Second half of April 2007

Stormy weather forced the “sun21” to stop near Georgetown, and then to continue its journey on the canals instead of out at sea. The crewmembers used the stopovers to explore nearby townships, including the city of New Bern. Many times they were treated like old friends by the locals, who were courteous hosts and provided much support.

"sun21" in New York

The solar powered catamaran made its historic arrival into New York's North Cove Marina at 3.00pm on May 8, 2007. The arrival completes a 7'000 mile journey across the Atlantic in a motorized boat that utilized not one drop of oil.


On the way to New York, transatlantic21 is looking for active cooperation of partner organisations for media events and communication. Whereever the"sun21" will stop, as many individuals as possible should meet the crew, have a look at the boat and learn about solar energy. The arrival of the boat may help local organisations involved in ecology and sustainability to promote their own projects. They are invited to use the arrival of "sun21" as a platform for events and receptions.