Yachting and sustainability may sound like a paradox, but we’re steadily seeing the marine world embrace eco-change. For the yachting world, there are an increasing number of ways to boat with a lower carbon imprint. From electric-diesel hybrids to zero-carbon catamarans powered by alternative fuel sources, here is a closer look at the newest eco-conscious yachts on the water—as well as several concepts that will be on the market in the next year, and a sailing vessel that helped start the emissions-reduction trend among superyachts.
Having the world’s largest yacht builder embrace sustainability promises to exert pressure on hundreds of smaller builders around the world. When the three-model Azimut Seadeck series is launched, the combination of complementary emissions-reducing technologies promises to be a major milestone for yachting.
“This is the most efficient yacht ever designed by Azimut,” said Federico Lantero, head of Product Design at Azimut/Benetti, at an event announcing the series. “We’ve identified the most recent technologies over the years, so we sat together said let’s raise the bar once again. Let’s push these technologies to the limits. It’s been like assembling a big puzzle.”
The Italian shipyard promises above-average efficiency at a wide range of speeds: The official estimates predict an emission reduction of 40 percent, thanks to Seadeck’s diesel-electric hybrid systems, lightweight carbon-fiber superstructure, solar panels, and other energy-absorption solutions.
Monaco-based designer Alberto Mancini, who penned the exterior, teamed up with other Italian designers Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez, who completed the sleek interior design. Thun and Rodriquez infused the interior with the newest sustainable materials, including cork, which they describe as the “best alternative to teak.”
The concept of Seadeck’s large open aft section—dubbed “Fun Island,” follows the success of the extended deck of sister builder’s Benetti Oasis. That design was a game-changer in its wellness-outdoor living approach. Azimut will release the Seadeck models in the next 20 months, starting with the Seadeck 6 in early 2024.
Alva Yachts Ocean Eco 90 H2
In the past couple of years, German catamaran and sailboat builder Alva Yachts has turned heads with its innovative solar catamarans. But now it’s pushing boundaries farther with the announcement of what it’s calling “the first zero-emissions superyacht catamaran to run without fossil fuels.”
The Ocean Eco 90 H2 is a special 90-foot version of the Ocean Eco 90 series, the shipyard’s flagship model. It comes in two versions: full electric and hybrid diesel-electric. The new model is the company’s first venture into hydrogen. Dubbed a “fuel-less superyacht catamaran with wings,” the H2 was requested by an existing Alva owner. It is powered only by sustainable sources, including the sun, wind, electric energy, and hydrogen fuel cells. The company’s signature solar cells generate up to 40kWp of power while twin performance electric motors give power, with the aid of the Ayro Oceanwings wind-propulsion system.
Oceanco ‘Black Pearl’
The world’s biggest sailing superyacht—Black Pearl—is also the most sustainable boat on water. Energy is saved at every turn on board the 350-foot yacht, from the HVAC system to three carbon-fiber masts, striking black DynaRig sails and aluminum superstructure that combine to make the Oceanco yacht lightweight and efficient. Controllable pitch propellers feed power back into the yacht via a pair of shaft generators providing enough power to support the yacht’s hotel load. Equipped with battery banks and a waste-heat recovery system, the gigayacht is capable of sailing across the Atlantic using only renewable energy.
Sunreef 80 Eco Marie-Joseph
Formula One champion Fernando Alonso so enjoyed his Greek charter aboard the Sunreef 80 Eco Marie-Joseph last summer that he now has a Sunreef 60 Eco in build. Equipped with electric engines, Marie-Joseph is fitted with nearly 1,800 square feet of solar panels integrated into the yacht’s composite structures, including the mast, boom, superstructure and hull sides. It’s enough to generate up to 45.5kWh, which leaves the deck areas free for guest enjoyment. In addition to the yacht’s “solar skin,” the vessel also has a hydro-generation system, which recovers energy from the propellers as well as high-efficiency batteries.
Steeler 61S Electric
Designed by Vripack and built by Steeler, the 61-foot Steeler 61S Electric is a full custom electric trawler built for a liveaboard owner. Sustainable materials, such as steel, wood, leather and Flexiteek decking, give a nod to the owner’s determination to have a lighter carbon footprint—though the biggest sustainability breakthrough lies with the boat’s propulsion and slow-boating efficiency. Though equipped to run a 75kW diesel generator, the Steeler 61S Electric is also equipped with a 90kW electric motor and can run on shore power. In true Dutch style, solar panels and windmills mounted on the roof help feed the 184kWh battery pack.
Newcastle Marine ‘Safira’
When it comes to sustainability, every little bit helps. Powered by azipod drives, which provide 20 percent more efficiency than conventional shafts, the 129-foot Safira can also run on 15-percent biodiesel. The boat is fitted with LED lighting and good insulation, which allows for smaller generators and reduced fuel consumption. Environmental considerations extend to the choice of materials as well, with reclaimed oak, remnant stone and Esthec—a synthetic replacement for teak—being used for both cabinetry and exterior decks.
Rossinavi ‘No Stress’
Italian designer Enrico Gobbi’s latest project comes in the form of Rossinavi’s first hybrid yacht. Delivered earlier this month, the 169-foot, full-aluminum sports yacht, No Stress, is powered by two MTU 16V diesel engines and two electric motors. In electric mode, the dual power system is managed by an artificial intelligence (AI) system that monitors fuel consumption. No Stress forms part of the Italian shipyard’s aim to develop boats with BluE technology. In addition to more environmentally-friendly cruising, the inclusion of AI means the owners “can enjoy the electric experience on board to the fullest,” said Rossinavi’s COO Federico Rossi, in a statement.
The Italian yard recently launched another hybrid-electric “BluE” concept called Infinity, a sailing yacht with an exterior by Fulvio de Simoni. The 138-footer has solar panels that can be stored so that yacht can navigate in full-electric mode for 90 percent of an average day. De Simoni also penned Rossinavi’s Sea Cat hybrid cat, which is currently under construction.