Students race their boats on Lake Skinner in annual Solar Cup

Students race their boats on Lake Skinner in annual Solar Cup

They had nothing but their ingenuity and the sunshine,


But hundreds of high school students from across Southern California began competing Friday, May 18, in the annual Solar Cup competition on Lake Skinner near Temecula.


The contest — in which students race boats they have been working on for seven months — continues Saturday, May 19, and Sunday, May 20. The program includes lessons on conservation, natural resources, electrical and mechanical engineering.


Teams build 16-foot-long single-seat boats from kits of marine-grade plywood provided by the sponsoring Metropolitan Water District with financial assistance from local water districts. They equip the boats with steering, solar panels, batteries and motors producing up to 320 watts.


The Perris Union High School District team helps launch its boat, driven by Johan Aguayo, on Friday, May 18, at the annual Solar Cup competition at Lake Skinner.(Photo by Andrew Foulk, contributing photographer)
The Perris Union High School District team helps launch its boat, driven by Johan Aguayo, on Friday, May 18, at the annual Solar Cup competition at Lake Skinner. (Photo by Andrew Foulk, contributing photographer)

Teams are required to create a water conservation public service project. This year’s theme was “Conservation: It’s not about the weather, it’ about forever.”


Thirty-eight schools from Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura and San Diego counties are competing. Qualifying rounds were Friday, with endurance races set for Saturday and sprint races for Sunday.


Tiffany Jones drives the boat created by students at Riverside's Poly High School on Friday, May 18, at the annual Solar Cup competition at Lake Skinner.(Photo by Andrew Foulk, contributing photographer)
Tiffany Jones drives the boat created by students at Riverside’s Poly High School on Friday, May 18, at the annual Solar Cup competition at Lake Skinner. (Photo by Andrew Foulk, contributing photographer)