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Solar powered catamaran yacht. Solar boat heads into the sunset

Solar powered catamaran yacht. Solar boat heads into the sunset

    Swiss solarpowered catamaran PlanetSolar remains stranded in India

    The PlanetSolar catamaran, renamed Porrima, has run aground and remains stranded on a beach south of Mumbai in India, according to media reports. It was the first boat to complete a solar-powered round-the-world voyage.

    Other language: 1 ( en original)

    The news was first reported last month by the French-language news site 24heures after a YouTube video of the solar catamaran with a Swiss flag emerged. The video External link. which shows the local population visiting the interior of the boat, has been viewed more than 1.3 million times. The video also shows that the boat’s motor, batteries and hull have been badly damaged.

    Around the world in a solar boat

    This content was published on May 4, 2012 May 4, 2012 The “PlanetSolar” catamaran toured across the US, the Panama Canal, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Persian Gulf.

    The owner of the boat, Gunter Pauli, who lives outside Geneva acknowledged the accident in an interview External link on Swiss public television RTS on Monday, saying that fortunately no one was in the catamaran when the accident occurred.

    “It’s tragic. It’s always tragic when a boat, after 100,000 miles, finds itself on a beach. But on the other hand, it’s still quite exceptional that after 12 years, it meets its first disaster,” said Pauli.

    The Swiss-led catamaran set off from France in 2017 on a five-year voyage to raise awareness about the level of plastic pollution in oceans.

    Unique boat

    In 2012, PlanetSolar became the first boat to complete a solar-powered round-the-world voyage. At the time, the CHF16 million (17.3 million) boat, which sails under a Swiss flag, was the world’s largest vessel fuelled by renewable energy.

    Several other expeditions later, the boat was bought in 2021, renamed Porrima and embarked on a new world tour to promote renewable energies. It has been named a “special supporter” of the 2025 World Expo in Osaka, Japan.

    The tides turned, however, when two members were taken away by Indian police two weeks before the accident. According to RTS, cantonal police in Switzerland are investigating the case. A new captain was apparently steering the ship when the boat landed in India, on a beach 100km south of Mumbai. It isn’t clear whether the accident was caused by human error but the boat’s designer, Raphaël Domjan, told RTS that the boat is complex to navigate, and it isn’t clear if the crew was well-trained.

    The boat should be towed in the coming days and Pauli assured RTS that it will sail again in February 2023.

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    Looking for allergy relief in the pollen-free Swiss Alps

    Once a haven for tuberculosis sufferers seeking treatment, today Davos has become a hub for studying a common modern-day affliction: allergies.

    Solarwave Silent 64

    Are you looking for a luxury catamaran charter in the Bahamas? What about a solar-powered yachting experience? We have the Silent 64 luxury yacht available from Nassau to sail the Exumas ready to go anywhere at any time. Literally, the sea is the limit. All appliances on board as well as the propulsion drive are provided by solar energy stored in highly developed batteries. Even the sun should not shine, SOLARWAVE charter catamaran is self-sufficient and can be powered electrically keeping appliances like refrigerator, induction cooker, washing machine, air condition etc. running. Normally such features require shore power or noisy diesel generators, but not our SOLAR WAVE.

    Is silence the new form of luxury? Yes, but there is more into that. No traditional engines mean zero emissions and an electric drive means there is no need for fuel!

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    Luxury charter catamaran SOLARWAVE in the Bahamas comes with all amenities for a comfortable retreat. Ideal for a small family or two couples, this modern catamaran accommodates up to 5 guests in 2 well-appointed spacious cabins. Needless to say that air condition and water maker are on board as well as audio-visual features like an LED-TV, surround sound system and iPod docking stations. SOLAR WAVE catamaran for charter sins in favor of fun on board and therefore carries a jet-ski to entertain guests. Unfortunately, technology is not that far that our water toy is available with electric power, but still, it does not take the gloss off this environment-friendly charter holiday.

    Add a great captain with a fantastic chef preparing delicious Mediterranean and Caribbean dishes, and voilá, a unique breathtaking luxury catamaran charter in the Bahamas is ready for you.

    Two decades of luxury catamarans

    Lapp made Sunreef’s debut in 2003 at the Cannes Yachting Festival. He had been moved to build luxury catamarans after his own experiences renting the vessels.

    “When I started to charter out my first catamarans, I noticed that both inside and outside the overall quality wasn’t good enough or matching my expectations. There was too much plastic and it was definitely not luxury,” he recalled in an interview in 2020.

    When he brought his catamaran to Cannes, the industry was underwhelmed, he said.

    “There were other yards telling us, ‘Guys, you’re not going to make it through the year—there’s no market for luxury catamarans out there.’ ”

    But the designer said it only fueled him to continue. “As a matter of fact, I never let go of this. My vision turned out to be the right one—and we’re still here today.”

    Now, the brand holds a reputation as the industry leader. And the move toward eco vessels, a shift that’s happening across the industry with yachts innovating on clean engine technology and even building greenhouses into boats, is charting a new future.

    “The idea behind these yachts is to offer a 360-degree concept for eco yachting,” Lapp said.

    “This means more than just electric engines. It is about combining modern technology (light batteries, innovative solar panels, wind turbines) with naturally-sourced materials.”

    Award-winning technology

    In 2021 the Sunreef Eco range also received a World Yachts Trophy during the Cannes Yachting Festival—the same place it had been criticized two decades earlier. It also won the UIM Environmental Award and the Gustave Trouvé Award.

    Sunreef’s proprietary green tech includes flexible solar panels, wind turbines, a unique water purification system, and innovations in air conditioning. The eco ships also include sustainable materials in cabins and decks.

    The Sunreef 80 Eco was first announced last March, billed as “the world’s most advanced luxury catamaran.” Sunreef said the ship is a “pioneer” in the world of responsible yachting.

    Lapp says sustainability is critical to Sunreef’s future, even as Covid has slowed business across the industry.

    “The Sunreef 80 Eco is seeing some good interest from our customer base and we have recently signed an agreement with Nico Rosberg [the German-Finnish winner of the 2016 Formula One World Championship] to become our ambassador for the Sunreef Yachts Eco catamarans,” Lapp said. “These difficult circumstances should not stop us from evolving in a green direction.”

    Holistic design

    On the other hand, it has lots of opening Windows, to allow a natural draught to do its job. “It’s a holistic approach – you can’t take the batteries and the drivetrain and drop it into another boat.”

    Of course, using the propulsion system quickly takes its toll of the boat’s 140kW battery bank. The model on display at Cannes had two 135kW motors, giving you just half an hour of silent motoring flat-out, albeit at a top speed of over 20 knots. reasonable 30kW engines and a single-digit speed give you greater range. Nonetheless, the electric drive alone isn’t going to allow you to outrun a storm, or race home after a day at anchor, so the boat is designed to work with a generator hidden in the heavily insulated transom of its starboard hull. At cruising speed of around 5-6 knots, Köhler says there is rarely any need to use the generator, citing an owner who has just emailed him triumphantly about a second year totally generator-free. “In the end, you have to compare it to the performance of a sailing boat,” Köhler says. “It is as fast as a sailing boat in similar conditions – after all, there is no wind without sun.” He went so far as to tell me during the sea trial in Palma, Mallorca, that he believed the majority of sailors would happily dispense with the hassle of sails and a rig if only they could enjoy silent motoring and anchoring. “As soon as people realise the incredible concept of this boat, they won’t understand why they ever did anything else.”

    The market does not seem to agree with him – yet. Sales of the boat have been good – they have already sold six, five of which are already in the water. But of those, four customers have taken the sail option, which means planting a 19.7m tall mast complete with boom and rigging slap bang in the middle of the coachroof solar array. “I was a bit amazed,” Köhler admits. “The shade from the rig reduces the energy generated by the solar area, while it costs more and is heavier, so consumes more fuel. Maybe it is for optical reasons.” In fact, the shade of the rig slashes the average yield of the solar panels in half. In the Med, that means around 30kWh per day. But perhaps it figures. The typical profile of buyers is an environmentalist who has a Tesla electric car and is “an early adopter who likes to have things before others”. And at low speeds, with modest use of the air-con, the reduced energy generation should still cover daily consumption.

    Under sail

    The performance under sail should be reasonable because of the lightweight build of the boat, its broad 8.47m beam and stub keels added to each hull. Control lines are led back via conduits in the coachroof to the flybridge helm station, to make single-handing under sail a possibility.

    interesting, I think, is a sort of halfway-house option using a kite rig. This optimises the performance of the solar panels and gives plenty of propulsion. On the smaller 55 and the 64, Silent Yachts currently recommends a 19m2 kite that costs around €25,000 – a fraction of the cost of a new mast, boom, shrouds and sails. “The sail automatically makes a figure of eight above the boat, and you can steer it with a joystick or an app on an Android phone,” Köhler explains. “It can propel the 55 at up to 6 knots, even in light winds.” Perfect for an Atlantic crossing, then.

    For the bigger Silent 79, which will hit the water in the summer, a commercial grade Sky Sail system needs to be used – a smaller version of the ones used on cargo ships. This kite can propel the boat at ten knots, but it costs more than ten times as much as its smaller cousin. Both are capable of pulling the boat upwind. So far, so new. But outside the novel energy and propulsion system, the Silent 55 aims to do what many other cruising catamarans are trying to achieve. “Most of our clients order for circumnavigation and long-term cruising,” Köhler says. So the boat is aimed to be as comfortable and capable as possible with watermakers, TVs and an induction hob that all capitalise on the boat’s abundant energy. A flexible configuration allows owners the choice of between three and six cabins – the latter designed for charter. The owner’s cabin lies forward of the saloon, under the Windows of the coachroof, which provide magnificent views and abundant natural light. There’s a walk-around bed and steps down into the starboard hull give access to an en-suite shower room and heads.

    In my view, the best cabin lies aft of this, accessed in the traditional manner down steps out of the saloon. The king-sized bed lies athwartships and the shower is larger than that of the master cabin. There’s more space down here, better headroom and still plenty of light courtesy of the many hull lights.

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    The finish is good rather than spectacular, with a range of choices around woods and fabrics. The intention is to keep weight down by using laminate where possible, but owners can choose glass or porcelain fittings wherever they want. The 37m2 saloon is the star attraction on this boat, offering copious amounts of space for a well-equipped galley, a comfy dining or lounging area and a fully functional interior nav station.

    It connects through sliding doors to the broad, uncluttered cockpit, which offers seating and a dining table with room for eight. A 4.5m tender can be slung from the underside of the bathing platform here, which can be raised and lowered hydraulically.There is more lounging space at the bow, where two little trampolines between the nacelle and the hull make comfy, if eccentric, nests. There are also cushions under the overhang of the coachroof.

    On Trial

    When I had the chance to sea trial the Silent 55, albeit in motorboat format, I jumped at it. It was a contrary autumn day on Mallorca with 15 knots breeze – just a shame, then, that this wasn’t one of the sailing configured versions.

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    To start with, getting on board is made really easy courtesy of deep boarding platforms on the skirts. She feels rather square because of that vast, glazed saloon with its deep overhang, and perhaps because of the utilitarian nature of the hard top, which is really about supporting more solar panels. Nevertheless, the side decks are broad and uncluttered. The space up top is designed to concertina down flat, hence the hydraulic rams, fold-down seat back and lowering console. It makes a great sailing position, though, with all round visibility, and is also perfect for sundowners at anchor. When the rain comes down, this feels quite exposed, but there is a fully sheltered helm at the front of the saloon, and it is also possible to drive the boat from anywhere using a tablet thanks to Smart electronics. Under power, the handling is superb. The quietness of the motors is astonishing, and I gather they’ll be inaudible on the next boat, which will do away with the gearbox. Even in the aft cabins, directly above the motors, there is no more than a distant hum. The boat responds instantly to the power and the wind seemed to have no impact at all. As with any propulsion system, the power consumption jumps as you pile on the speed – it was sobering to see. At 6 knots, both motors drew 10kW but at 8 knots it was closer to 30kW. I liked the huge saloon with its raised table for 360º views. And the sliding door and window gives great access aft, connecting the saloon and cockpit in fine conditions. The finish was Smart and in muted tones, feeling more Scandinavian than German.

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