Vaan R5 with Oceanvolt Servoprop wins at Multihull Awards

When it comes to electric sailboats, it doesn’t get much better than having an award winning hull matched with an award winning electric drive.

Such is the case with the Vaan R5 – the new 2024 Multihull of the Year Winner – and the Oceanvolt HP Servoprop electric drive that swept the 2023 METSTRADE DAME Design Awards.

The Multihull of The Year awards have been presented by Multihulls World magazine and the International Multihull Show since 2018 with boats competing in four categories: Sail Cruising, Sail Performance, Multipower and Multiyacht.

The Vaan R5 captured the 2024 Sail Cruising category with a boat test noting its “meticulous design, remarkable cruising comfort and good performance potential. The Vaan R5 is also one of the forever green multihulls leading the way in terms of environmental friendliness.”

Graph of Oceanvolt HP Servoprop hydrogeneration performance
Graph showing hydrogeneration capabilities of Oceanvolt HP Servoprop

The Oceanvolt HP Servoprop (HP for High Power) was introduced in the summer of 2023, with a patented technology that offers the most powerful hydrogeneration of any electric motor on the market. Last November, at the highly competitive DAME Design Awards of the boating industry it won both the Propulsion & Dynamics Category and the Overall 2023 DAME Award.

The 49 foot (14.95m) Vaan R5 has twin 25 kW (≈35 hp) Servoprops with 86 kiloWatt hours of battery storage. The motors can generate 5kW at 10 knots, which the 70 ton (65 tonne) R5 can easily achieve with its 125 m2 (1,350 sq ft) of upwind sails.

Vaan R5 with Oceanvolt Servoprop: luxury and sustainability

In addition to hydrogeneration, solar panels can provide 1.5 kWh peak. The boat can operate electrically for most sailing and the battery also services the kitchen appliances and water heater. There is an 18 kW genset aboard to provide extra assurance on longer journeys.

Vaan Yachts was founded in 2018 by sustainable entrepreneurs Igor Kluin and Nienke van ‘t Klooster based on the idea that luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand by making clever use of technology and materials. The company’s motto is ‘Sail The Planet’ and the R5 has been designed for extended blue water cruising or a family live-aboard.

Vaan R5 with Oceanvolt Servoprop being built in the shipyard
Aluminum hull of Vaan catamaran under construction

Like every Vaan, it is made of circular materials and almost entirely recyclable.

The issue of recycling end-of-life pleasure boats has already generated a lot of discussion. Composite fiber-resin boats end up more than 95% shredded and then burned. Vaan estimates that “every year 80,000 boats see their end-of-life in Europe alone, with only 2,000 properly dismantled. The remaining 78,000 are burned in incinerators, causing massive CO2 emissions.”

Unlike composites, aluminum is a metal that recycles wonderfully. Nearly 75% of the metal used to build it comes from recycling streams, and the Vaan R5 catamaran uses a maximum of recyclable or circular solutions.

Aside from the environmental aspects, the strength and durability of aluminum offers other advantages over fibreglass/composite/GRP. Offshore sailing faces risks and the construction of the R5 protects from one of the constant dangers at sea: unexpected collision with a floating object.

On the design side, the R5 has taken the architecture of monohulls and mixed it with that of open catamarans. On those open cats, the helm station is located against one of the sides of the rear partition. On the Vaan R5, there are two helm stations that provide good visibility regardless of the tack she sails, and these stations are placed all the way back, like on a monohull.

Vaan has also designed a retractable canvas bimini at the rear cockpit which offers shelter, but also more versatility than the usual fixed cap.

 Most of the sail trimming is done through a V-shaped pedestal, located between the two steering pedestals, with two optionally electric winches fitted on it. There is also an option for lifting centreboards, for more reaching capabilities.

Luxury, which joins sustainability in the Vaan founding philosophy, is evident throughout the R5. The salon area is open and spacious, with wraparound floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a very modern, Scandinavian feel.

See the Electric Sailboat Finalists  in the 2023 Gussies Electric Boat Awards

The cork decking provides both comfort and elegance. All fabrics are natural and recycled. A dining table is located on the port side with the kitchen installed starboard. Seatings and furniture smoothly follow the perimeter. One or two cabins can be fitted in each hull, with generous 1.55m (5 ft) wide beds.

Vaan is one of the early adopters of electric propulsion for sailboats and has made it standard – not an option – on their boats since the introduction of the first R4 in 2019. This Multihull of The Year award is a sign of more electric sailboats being recognized in the mainstream awards and competitions, with the Windelo 50 also receiving a Multihull IMS Premiere award. Plugboats will be writing about that in an upcoming article.

The R5 was finalist in the  Electric Sailboats category of the 2023 Gustave Trouvé Awards for Excellence in Electric Boats and Boating. Nominations for the 2024 awards will open this summer.

Vaan Yachts Oceanvolt  Oceanvolt in Plugboats

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