The issue of sustainability has never been more pressing, but as lifestyles adapt and solutions are hastily sought, aesthetics can often take a back seat.
Not so at Vripack, a luxury yacht design studio with extensive naval architecture experience, known for its innovative and playful approach. The company’s new concept, the 66-metre Futura, raises the bar when it comes to form and function. It’s slick, fun, Instagram-worthy and has impressive eco credentials to match. Vripack creative directors Bart Bouwhuis and Marnix Hoekstra give BOAT International’s Charlotte Hogarth-Jones an insight into Futura’s key elements.
Bart Bouwhuis: “It was important to us that this boat was really enjoyable to use – we wanted it to be different, and for it to change the user’s appreciation of the yacht as a whole. This meant breaking away from the traditional way of thinking about the yacht in levels, and using a split-level configuration to create a myriad of spaces that intertwine and interconnect – outside as well as in, upstairs as well as down, all through diagonal sidelines.
“We used the latest virtual-reality design software to really optimise space distribution, to place ourselves in the user’s footsteps and ask, what can I see here? What’s on the deck below, what’s in my line of vision, and how could this be better? It’s become common on larger yachts to have huge rooms with big windows, but it’s more fun to discover a whole host of bright, beautiful spaces where you don’t necessarily expect them.
“The statement piece is a big crystal palace of glass, which is set neatly on top of the hull so you can see everything on the boat. In practice, this means that everybody on Futura can be doing their own thing, but you’ve still got this consciousness of where your family and friends are. You’re spending time separately, but you’re still together, and I think that’s a beautiful thing. It’s a radical concept, both visually and socially."
Marnix Hoekstra: “We don’t need to wait for yacht owners to request sustainable design. For us, creating something that looks beautiful, performs flawlessly and leaves minimum ecological impact is always in the forefront of our minds.
“Futura is an electric/diesel hybrid with a difference – the batteries are charged by an enormous kite on an electric winch that can be released at the touch of a button. As the kite circulates in an infinite pattern, it turns the winch, which generates the power required to charge the batteries before returning back to the boat when the process is complete. It’s essentially a double win: one, because you’re using battery power instead of fuel; and two, because there are no fossil fuels involved in the charging process.
"Futura also features revolutionary bio-based batteries, so the bank itself is 100 per cent biodegradable, and by means of an equally disruptive gasifier the CAT generators will far surpass any future IMO Tier emissions regulations. We don’t see sustainability as a sacrifice – for us, it’s simply another design challenge. One that in Futura, we believe we have truly met.”
For more information about the Futura project, visit vripack.com