In June 2008, an interdisciplinary team from the Nautical Centre from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro took part in the Frisian Solar Challenge, in The Netherlands, with their solar boat the Copacabana. The Copacabana proved to be a fierce contestant and finished 4rth of class A – the most competitive, with 32 boats competing – and 7th overall. The team came back enthused by the whole experience and determined to reproduce the challenge with the first Brazilian solar boat race.

The first edition of the Frisian Solar Challenge took place in June 2006. The idea was born from a desire to recreate, in a slightly updated version, the famous Frisian ‘Elfstedentocht’, a gruelling ice-skating race around the so-called ‘11 cities’ of Friesland. Since 1997, the water of the Frisian canals has stopped freezing in winter, making the race impossible. Officials of Leeuwarden, the capital of the region, imagined a new, 21st century version of the race. And the Frisian Solar Challenge was born.