Seniors Nihal Gulati (left) and Arijit Trivedi (right) carry out one of the two solar panels from the SMUD building in downtown Sacramento. These solar panels, which produce 230 watts each, will power Country Day's boat. (Photo by Samhita Kumar)

SCDS Solar Regatta team to compete in SMUD competition for first time

This May will be the first time Sacramento Country Day takes part in SMUD’s annual Solar Regatta competition. The event entails students building, designing and racing solar-powered boats in a lake, according to SMUD’s website. 

The faculty advisor of the team, math teacher Patricia Jacobsen, said the team is registered for the competition, and the school has bought a boat.

“We have attended a two-hour preliminary meeting to learn a little bit more about it. We got our solar panels and we have the subteams in place,” she said.

The team is split into multiple smaller groups, each responsible for a different aspect of the boat. 

The groups are five main groups: boat design/building led by senior Arjin Claire, electrics led by senior Nihal Gulati, propulsion led by senior Arijit Trivedi, steering and control led by senior Ethan Monasa and prototyping led by juniors Adam Akins and Samhita Kumar.

Trivedi said his subteam is currently working on designing the propulsion system for the boat.

“Right now, we’re looking at different systems that exist such as different ways to rig a motor to the boat, where to place the motor and which motors to use given the power requirements that are given to us by the electricity team that’s in charge of the solar panels,” Trivedi said. “I can’t really say yet, but right now we’re looking at a twin motor system.”

The team is considering using two motors placed on either side of the boat’s rear.

Trivedi said the team will begin construction on the boat and its different systems this month and in March through April.

“It’s been a little bit of a slow start since everyone’s been busy with other stuff, but now a lot of people are free and now we can start really working on the boat,” he said.

The media team, tasked with making a video about the boat and the team, is currently working on their video for the competition. Students are encouraged to get creative with the video.

“We’re being a little bit ambitious with our video. We’re trying to make it fun and funny and engaging. We’re going with a boat sale theme,” Trivedi said.

The team is also in the process of completing their boat pilot certificates.

“All the boat pilots are taking an on-water safety training course, and at the end of it, we’ll receive our certificate, which SMUD requires for us to operate the boat. Most of us have to get the certificates to even be in the water with the boat,” Trivedi said.

Although this is the first time SCDS has done this competition, Jacobsen believes that the team will do well.

“I think that the team that we’ve put together is awesome. They have a lot of enthusiasm, and they are very bright. I think that we will do a great job,” she said.

The Solar Regatta competition will take place Friday, May 13, 2022, on a lake at the Rancho Seco Recreational Park.

— By Ryan Xu

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