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Welcome the Pioneering ‘Energy Observer’ Project Under the Golden Gate

Andrea Geisinger, who works at SF Water Taxi and sails aboard Rägeboge, a Hallberg-Rassy 38 with a homeport of Basel, Switzerland, but berthed at RYC, alerted us to a unique craft that will be sailing in under the Golden Gate Bridge this week.

The Energy Observer is a wind-/solar-/hydrogen-powered vessel conceived and launched in France in 2017, and has sailed 10,000 miles in 2020. She’s on her way up the coast, sailing from Long Beach this week, with the hope of arriving in San Francisco Bay on Thursday, May 6. Currently, she’s in Morro Bay awaiting a favorable weather window.

Energy Observer is coming to the Bay as part of her world tour to showcase the electro-hydrogen hybridization at the heart of her propulsion system. It is a demonstration project showing and developing electro-hydrogen hybridization for a decarbonized future in maritime mobility and more.

Energy Observer
Energy Observer under way.
© 2021 Energy Observer

We spoke to Mary Miller at the Exploratorium, where the boat will dock between Piers 9 and 15 for several days. The Energy Observer team is bringing their innovative developments to the doorstep of San Francisco’s high-tech hub. Mary explained that because of the Exploratorium’s location in the Port of San Francisco, they are frequent hosts to world-ranging research vessels and other out-of-town visitors. As a cutting-edge energy development platform, the Energy Observer is an ideal project to rest alongside the Exploratorium, which is described as a “community museum dedicated to awareness.”

This video showcases much of the Energy Observer’s pioneering innovations.

We described the return of windships in our April 2019 issue, showcasing the numerous ways sailing has always been part of developing the creative alignment of nature’s forces to explore and enhance our world. Energy Observer is described as “self-sufficient in energy, with zero emissions, zero fine particles, zero noise, as well as being a symbol of our awareness-raising and our ambitions at the service of ecological transition.”

Maltese Falcon
Tom Perkins’s Maltese Falcon was one of many pioneering developmental sailboats created by Bay Area technology leaders.
© 2021 Richard Spindler

Assuming the hoped-for weather window arrives, you should be able to sail or walk by Energy Observer, docked at Pier 15 next weekend. You can follow her progress up the coast here.

More on this story appeared in our June 2021 issue.

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