Liquid News

Irvine Ranch Water District’s Solar Cup Team Endures

The El Toro High School’s Solar Cup team was partially lucky in its seventh year of competition – it qualified to race in the endurance category, but steering problems arose during qualifying for the sprint portion.

“The team went to the hardware store to find a replacement part, but couldn’t fix it in time for re-qualifying,” said teacher and El Toro Engineering Club adviser Doug Ford. Overall, he said, the team was happy it could participate in the endurance race. Despite this setback, team members remained positive.

Solar Cup, sponsored by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, celebrated its 10th year. The event is a seven-month program in which students build, equip and race a 16-foot single-seat canoe-type boat powered only by the sun. Races were held from May 18 to 20 at Lake Skinner in Riverside County. Each team must compete in two 90-minute, 1.4-kilometer endurance races and in sprints down a straight 200-meter course.

Qualifying took place on Friday of the three-day event. While El Toro’s skipper was able to negotiate the boat during the endurance qualifying, he indicated steering was giving him some trouble. The skipper for the sprint couldn’t keep the boat on course and it was later determined a critical piece has broken inside the drive train.

Bad luck bedeviled the team for the past two years – the first year was a drive train problem and last year, a brand new engine seized up and died.

Still, the students learned valuable lessons on engineering, problem solving, water resources, resource management, conservation and alternative energy development.  And, the weather cooperated with plenty of sun to power the solar panels on the boats.

For more information about our educational programs, please visit our website.

Contact: Shannon Reed, Public Affairs Manager
reeds@irwd.com, (949) 453-5500

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