First of it's kind retro-fitted, solar powered catamaran seats sail from Preston docks

A first of it's kind retro-fitted, solar powered 50-foot catamaran (watercraft) has set sail from Preston docks.

By Emma Downey
Saturday, 30th July 2022, 4:55 am

The unique British catamaran named Starlight departed on Thursday from 11am and will travel from Preston to the Isle of Man, Ireland, then Isle of Skye in Scotland.

This is a joint-venture by Lancashire man Neil Poulton, 63, and 81-year-old serial entrepreneur from Chorlton Peter Alexander Woolsley.

Engineer Neil from Longton, who owns Royce Paper Rolls Ltd on Preston Docks, fitted the solar power and him and his brother have transformed it from a diesel yacht to a solar powered one, making it more carbon foot friendly.

Neil Poulton and Peter Woolsey set sail for Skye in their solar powered catamaran from Preston Marina

He said: "I bought the vessel eight years ago as it should have been scrapped and I recycled it into a hydrogen-powered conversion running off sea water.

"Myself and my brother Irving spent the next eight years converting the catamaran to solar power alone."

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Peter added: "Aged 14 I watched as a tiny wind turbine, a Lucan Fanlight, generated electricity and also oxygen and hydrogen when charging a Leclanché Accumulator. In 1955 I realised Scottish wind power could create massive amounts of hydrogen, via electrolysis of water.

Neil Poulton (pictured) and Peter Woolsey set sail for Skye in their solar powered catamaran from Preston Marina

Everything is electric - electric sails. When we are sailing the propellers recharge the batteries.

"In future when we go to Scotland we will put a hydrogen fuel cell in and the whole thing will be sustainable."

Peter also received a Gold Award from Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, May 18th 1960, in Buckingham Palace.

He also funded the launch of the D of E Award in Estonia in 2018.

Bon Voyage gents!