When you hear the word yacht, several thoughts come to mind: luxury…affluence…beautiful women sunbathing and sipping mojitos amidst the shimmering cerulean waters of some equatorial heaven. The yacht has long been a symbol of the lavish lifestyle that money can bring. Certainly the majority of middle America has not added this item to their holiday wish list. But one descriptor that most certainly does not pop into your head is “eco-friendly”. Somehow, this term does not seem synonymous with the absolute opulence that one associates with yacht ownership. And yet, after environmentally sound buildings and cars, green yachts seem like the next logical step.
And in fact, there are already several eco-friendly options available (or soon to be available) for those seeking their own private luxury liner with an emphasis on the environmentally sound. So how do these floating palaces go green? Some, like the Independence 60 motor yacht (www.independencegreenyachts.com), do it old school (like millions of years old) by running on solar power (plus, the hull is made entirely of 100% recyclable aluminum). Island Pilot LLC also utilizes solar power with their DSe Hybrid 12m (www.dsehybrid.com), although it can fall back on clean-ish options like diesel and electric when needed.
Others, like the Ethereal superyacht (www.ronhollanddesign.com), take their cue from the hybrid automobile revolution by operating on battery power (in this case, rechargeable lithium-phosphate batteries). More interesting, though, are attention-grabbing alternatives like the Green Jet (www.mides-design.si). This futuristic yacht runs not only on earth-friendly wind power, but also low-to-no-emission hydrogen power. And the automated aero-sail system (controlled by a touchscreen) is both technologically advanced and easy on the eyes (when lit, the sails are practically a piece of art).
I know what you’re thinking…you have to trade something for the environmentally friendly aspect of these machines, and it’s going to be style. Historically speaking, solar panels are not so pretty, and wind power means huge sails or chutes, not exactly an image that is analogous with a super-sleek yacht. However, assumptions like these are absolutely unfounded. Each of the designs listed above were clearly created with the specific intent of impressing the yachting enthusiast. In their way, each represents a class and sophistication that is only enhanced by the knowledge that they are doing nothing to mar the beautiful vistas they decorate. These cleverly designed comfort cruisers not only preserve the planet, they pander to the pleasure-seeker in all of us.