One doesn’t often equate luxury yachting with sustainability, but tech entrepreneur Jasper Smith is hoping to change perceptions with his new eco-conscious company Arksen. Having made his money in computer games, he has now turned his hand to real-life adventures, with green credentials. His hybrid diesel-electric boats are made from recyclable materials, have extensive solar capabilities and are designed to be at sea for up to three months at a time. And they come with an altruistic catch: Owners have to pledge 10 percent of their vessels’ time to ocean-exploration projects run by the company’s charitable wing. This will offer access to the oceans for scientists, researchers, athletes, thought leaders, conservationists, artists and journalists working to seek a better understanding of the marine ecosystem.
Built to Ice Class standards for extreme adventuring, the boats will roll out in 2020. There is also another offering for owners, the Arksen Explorers Club, which curates trips based on those undertaken by historic explorers. For example, the Nansen is based on Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian adventurer, and takes in Bergen, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. Another references Jacques Cousteau’s voyage around the Galapagos Islands.
There are three yachts in the series, ranging from 75 meters to 100 meters, which holds up to 14 people and all have a life cycle of 50 years plus. “Ultimately, Arksen is about delivering the very best machines for ocean adventure as well as change the existing models of luxury travel, by facilitating more mindful explorations and ensuring collaboration between owners, scientists, ocean advocates and activists. It’s changing the meaning of owning a boat from a self-serving endeavor to a powerful statement of intent to use these vessels to drive behavioral change, to better understand, to discover and to educate.”
As David Attenborough said, “I’ve always believed that few people will protect the natural world, if they don’t first love and understand it.” Smith is surfing the global trend of superyacht owners seeking eco-friendly vessels, which, in our book, is making waves in the right direction.