Austria’s Silent-Yachts is one of the pioneers of solar powered yachts. From 2005 to 2009 founders Michael and Heike Köhler sailed all over the world tested the possibility of an all solar-electric boat and after 15,000 Nautical Miles (NM) on a test catamaran launched the SolarWave 46 in 2009.
This was the world’s first oceangoing yacht that was capable of running totally on solar power. Not just the motors, but everything. All on board appliances – cooktops, oven, microwave, grill, freezers, fridges, air conditioning, washing machine – all solar powered.
In their quest to be able to be anywhere on the ocean without any need to get back to land, they designed a boat on which the sun also powered a water maker. And the dinghy motor. And the electric motorbike. Their dream was now a reality. In their words “no fuel, no gas, but a lot of noiseless and emission free luxury”.
There are lots of doubters about the idea that a yacht could run only on solar energy, because, after all, as people keep pointing out about solar panels on land ‘not every day is a sunny day.’ But Michael makes a pretty good point when he says ‘people, even sailing people, are usually looking for sunny holiday spots, not cloudy or windy’.
“Even sailing people are usually looking for sunny holiday spots, not cloudy or windy!”Michael Köhler, founder of Silent-Yachts
After the launch of the SolarWave things only got brighter. Silent-Yacht won the Energy Globe Award for sustainability, the NauticExpo i-Novo Eco award (discontinued in 2015,) the Global Warming Foundation Award, and kept building bigger and more efficient solar mega-yachts.
Their line now includes the Silent 55, 64 and 80. The IBI (International Boat Industry) reports that “as of February 2019, three Silent 64s, and five 55s were already in the water, with two 55s, two 64s and one Silent 80 in build.”
These magnificent craft are the embodiment of all the pampering and luxury the term ‘mega-yacht’ brings to mind, so they don’t come cheap. The low end Silent 55 starts at €1.8M (that’s 2 mil $US), the basic 64 will run you €2.5M before add-ons and the 80 comes in at €3.97M, a cool four-and-a-half-million US dollars.
On any of these ships you can literally go all around the world in the lap of luxury without burning one drop of fossil fuel. To be sure, they each have diesel generators for emergencies, but the slew of solar panels covering the boat provide for a speed of up to 20 knots and every mod con and plasma TV you can think of.
The website puts it best: ”Without operating a generator you can watch football on TV, have a cold beer, run air-conditioning and enjoy bright interior and exterior lighting – for as long as needed. Production of up to 3.000 litres of drinking water per day grants you a kind of comfort you would not have considered possible up to now. This is “SILENT” and emission-free luxury.”
Silent-Yachts now offers a charter/time share ownership service
So now that you’re drooling, here’s the news that might apply to you (not that you don’t have 4.5 million lying around). In response to hundreds of queries about whether the boats are available for charter, Silent-Yachts has just introduced a service wherein you have the possibility to charter and invest to be part of what they are calling the SILENT-CHARTER participation model.
You can get all the details on the website, but the crux of it is:
- Cruising regions include the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and South East Asia.
- As an investor you become shareholder in an investment company based in Austria.
- The company owns the yacht and manages the charter business.
- Shares are sold in 1% tranches at 20,000€ with a maximum available of 49%.
- The yacht is owned by an Austrian company (Austrian law), and every investor is a shareholder of this company.
- You receive free usage of a double cabin on your yacht and can sell your free days to somebody else or also purchase extra days for your family and friends.
There are obviously more details than this, but that is the quick overview.
To find out more about these silent luxury leviathans and the charter arrangement, visit the Silent-Yachts website.Like this article? Why not sign up for the Plugboats weekly newsletter?