Bill is an environmental science education professor at Penn State University and Cynthia was writing for Public Radio. They were on a mission to prove that not only can the Great Loop be done in a canal boat, but much of it can be done under solar power. Bill received a one-year sabbatical from his university to show that solar powered boats are both practical and eco-friendly.
The experiment was not a multi-million dollar research project , but rather a very modest undertaking with Bill and Cynthia doing most of the work. They bought a used rental canal boat that had seen 20 years of service on the Erie Canal. The Yanmar diesel engine had 13,000 hours! On our Great Loop trip we had seen a few of these on the Erie Canal.