Luxury charter yachting is to become kinder to the environment with the arrival of ‘E’, a new 60ft zero-carbon eco-catamaran that is powered by the sun, sea and wind. Anthony Pearce reports
Designed in partnership with Polish custom ship builder Sunreef Yachts, eco-conscious luxury charter yacht E (an upgraded Sunreef 60) has been fitted with a high-powered electric propulsion system – two 55 kWh engines that generate electricity from the wind while sailing and also charge its 140 kWh battery.
Launched at the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival, it will be setting sail next month (December). E also has curved solar panels also provide energy from the sun, meaning it can sail silently for up to six hours without emitting any pollution. (A 90 kW diesel generator is kept on board for emergencies.)
“We want to show that luxury sailing is possible without consuming natural resources. That it can be combined with a gentle care for the environment,” its website states.“We believe in producing our electricity and water from the sun, sea and wind – thanks to our energy efficient propulsion system that runs on rechargeable batteries. We have incorporated reclaimed and recycled materials into our design – all without compromising on style or luxury.”
The eco-catamaran, which is free from single-use plastics, ticks many other boxes for the responsible traveller too – it features fully recyclable performance sails, a wastewater management system, non-toxic paints and a smart energy management solution.
Co-creator Tomasz Piekarec says: “We had a dream to sail in silence, to harness the power of the sun, sea and wind to create a truly sustainable and innovative yachting experience that still affords our guests the luxuries associated with a charter holiday.
“Much more than an electric yacht, we want E to be a force for change, inspiring our guests and the wider yachting community to be more responsible, with the legacy of preserving our precious oceans for generations to come.”
The yacht is staffed by expert crew and a week in winter starts from US$46,000, all-inclusive, with a focus on the Caribbean (calling at the British and US Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda and Guadeloupe) and Mediterranean (Sardinia, Corsica and Amalfi Coast).
What’s it like on board? The E sleeps eight guests in four en suite cabins. The interiors are “understated and sleek”, with sustainably sourced Burmese teak flooring, Carrara marble, and Missoni fabrics.
E’s lifestyle partners have also been chosen for their eco credentials. These include eco-friendly sunscreen brand People 4 Ocean, family-owned sustainable Antonius Caviar and biodynamic sulphite-free Redentore Prosecco.
Yachties also have a selection of “toys” such as electric Seabobs, a Fliteboard eFoil surfboard, Goccyle G3 electric bikes, stand-up paddle boards, a wakeboard and scuba diving equipment.
The company says: “Our entrepreneurial spirit, fascination with cutting-edge technology, dedication to performance, safety and efficiency, our care for the environment – and most importantly – our love of sailing, combine to create ‘E’.
“This is the first luxury eco-catamaran of its kind developed in partnership with Sunreef Yachts.”
Yachting magazine Boat International has also noted the trend for eco-charters, listing the likes of Black Pearl, Savannah, Safira and Ice, which offer a mix of diesel and hybrid propulsion, among its most eco-friendly superyachts.
E’s ability to sail in silence, free from the humming and vibration of engines, also means it can support marine research projects such as supplying scientists with recordings of dolphins in their natural habitats that will be used for decoding their language. (Currently such recordings are only possible in marine parks for captive dolphins, meaning such research could provide a potential breakthrough for marine biologists.)