Talk about a spacious aft casting platform!
OK, that may be stretching it a bit, but the folks at popular skiff builder Gheenoe shared with us that the University of Central Florida’s College of Engineering and Computer Science has completed construction of a solar-powered Gheenoe that will compete in the national Solar Splash event, a solar-boating competition held June 13-17 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
No, they won’t be fishing — but it’s cool nonetheless!
“The UCF folks approached me at the beginning of year,” Gheenoe co-owner and vice president Sam Gheen tells Sport Fishing. “They needed as big a skiff as possible, so we built them a Super 18 and added some modifications, like brackets for the solar panels and a sump through the rear floor where the propeller’s shaft comes down and into the water.”
Dubbed the White Knight, the tricked-out ride was designed by UCF undergrads James Dinan, Marie Guastella, Julian Sanchez, Daniel Thompson, Kevin Tourville and David Letter.
While she may not exactly be rigged to spec for your average flats angler, Letter tells Sport Fishing she’ll run between 18 to 20 mph all day when fully charged — and he’s got video to prove it:
Of course, you won’t ever stand atop the solar panels to fish. They’re very thin, says Letter, about “the thickness of a folder.”
Gheen has yet to see the finished boat, but the thought of some wild, futuristic Gheenoe built for fishing has crossed his mind, if only in theory.
“I’ll bet if you built a tee top for those panels, they’d be out of the way and you’d be able to fish just fine,” he speculated with a mild chuckle.
And so the world of boating innovation continues to turn…