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Why would you voluntarily spend a year delaying your studies to build a boat? To give you an idea of what drives this team, let me tell you what happened this week.

This was a special week for me. It was the first time in three months that the TU Delft Solar Boat Team of 28 people was gathered in one place. We could reflect on what we have achieved so far. But most important, we could look at the months ahead of us, and the race that they are leading up to.

For the past three months our team members were always spread around the country somewhere, working at one of our production sites. From Sneek to Venlo, and from Delft to Emmeloord. We always kept in close contact with the team members that were away from Delft, but the vibe coming from this team when we were all together was amazing. It was then that we reflected on what we had achieved in the eight months that we have been working. We designed the first solar boat for the open seas, had an amazing Design Presentation and have actually started building this foiling trimaran. But we still have a long way to go.

So let’s go back to the question at the beginning, ‘why would you voluntarily (yes, that’s right, we don’t get paid) spend a year delaying your studies to build a boat?’ Maybe the real question is ‘what makes Dream Teams so special that hundreds of students join them each year?’

Every single member of our team shares one motivator: the wish for this project to succeed

Though the answer is different for every student, I have realised over the last few months that every single member of our team share one motivator: the wish for this project to succeed. The motivator can be found in drawing up a unique design, to implementing it a few months later. It can be found in embarking on an adventure with 27 random students with a single shared goal in mind – to become world champions. And it comes from working your ass off, and sharing every single moment with your team.

Working in a Dream Team is tough. Production is difficult; you have to deal with setbacks; the days are long; and the work is both physically and mentally very demanding. Yet, speaking on every team member’s behalf, working in a Dream Team has also been one of the most rewarding things any of us has ever done.

In the coming months, we will finish production and start testing. Our design, the technical capabilities of each team member and the level of cooperation in the team will be put to the test. We have one goal in mind: to win the Monaco Offshore Challenge in July. In just 75 days we will be crossing the Mediterranean. And in 100 days we will set a world record on the English Channel.

tandwieltje
Gijs van Rijen measuring out the driveline of the boat. (Photo: Solar Boat Team)

The coming months will definitely be extremely tough for the team. But I am also certain that they will be some of the most incredible months of our lives.

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