Silent Yachts is a company with a focus on greener sea travel without compromising refinement and luxury. It’s a vision shared by many companies; however, most boatbuilders are seemingly only ‘talking the talk’, whereas Silent Yachts is undoubtedly ‘walking the walk’ with their Silent 60 Catamaran.
When it comes to green, long-distance travel, boating is king. Using the sun, wind, batteries, vertical farming methods and a seawater desalinisation system; aside from medical emergencies, you could potentially live for years on the sea without ever stepping foot on land.
The solar electric Silent 60 Catamaran from Silent Yachts is an excellent example of what’s possible today. Their innovative 17.99m yacht is jam-packed with innovative features, including solar power and a very innovative kite sail system.
What separates the Silent 60 Catamaran
Silent Yachts has become the first boatbuilder in the world to create a fully sustainable luxurious boat powered solely by solar energy and wind. Their Silent 60 has had forty-two solar panels installed that power two electric motors, backed up by a 286 kWh battery.
This combination means that the catamaran can travel using just solar energy for up to 100 nautical miles at a speed of up to 20 knots every day for weeks on end.
If you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Wow, that sounds great!” hold on, as there is more to come. In addition to the solar power, the Silent 60 also has the additional option of a 9sqm or 13sqm kite wing to help to propel it. The kite wing is housed in a dedicated storage locked under the foredeck along with a short collapsible mast and an electric winch.
The kite system
Setting up the kite wing system is relatively straightforward. The mast is mounted on a base plate inside the locker, leaving the foredeck clutter-free. It’s then a simple case of connecting the kite’s tether to the mast, inflating the kite and releasing it overboard where it will drift on the surface of the water. By pulling on the lines, the kite will launch into the air, and when it has reached its optimal height, it will begin performing a figure of eight in the sky and start pulling the yacht.
To retract the kite, you use the automated controls on the app to move the kite directly above the boat where there is the least amount of pull. From here, the electric winch will bring it back down to the foredeck, where it can be packed away.
Some reading this might be thinking, “Why use a kite when you can use a sail?” There is a significant advantage a kite system has over a sail system, and that is a kite operates at a much higher altitude reaching steadier and far stronger winds. Another significant advantage of a kite system is that it can be used at a low speed, even at less than ten knots. It would be pointless hoisting a sail in these low wind speeds on a similarly sized boat.
Unless you’re not bothered about what direction you’re heading in, it should be noted that using a kite system does require some skill, particularly when it comes to steering. A kite system pulls the boat, whereas a sail system pushes a boat. To help, the solar-powered engines designed by Solar Yachts can run at a very low rpm (less than 100) which will help with the steering.
While on the subject of solar power, Silent Yachts has configured all of the onboard systems to run using solar energy, negating the need for fossil fuels or a generator.
Inside the Silent 60
On the lower deck of the Silent 60 are four guest cabins, including a spacious master suite. The boat boasts numerous social areas, including an airy main salon, flybridge and a cosy bow area. We used the word airy to describe the salon as the boat offers high headroom throughout, and in the main salon, it’s a whopping 2.32m.
To ensure that guests feel comfortable throughout a journey, the Silent 60, the boatbuilders have installed a fully adjustable ventilation system that provides cool fresh air to the interior guest spaces. In addition to this, a reverse-cycle heat pump has been installed to provide heat, ensuring all-season comfort.
The Silent 60’s hull has also been insulated to maintain stable temperatures onboard without using excessive energy. In addition to this, it has a solar-powered watermaker, producing more than enough to supply a full complement of guests.
For those that enjoy fun on and in the water, the Silent 60 has two swimming platforms in the stern, which can be adapted to carry a pair of electric jet skis and a hydraulic lifting platform capable of carrying a 4m tender.
If you decide to head towards the solid ground one day, the Silent 60 was built with less than 1m draft, making it ideal for cruising in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. The Silent 60 is a pretty brilliant boat and shows what is possible. If I was the head of one of the largest superyachts manufacturers and still content with using fossil fuels, I think I’d be quaking in my boots.
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