Episode Three of YachtTalk, a new talk show by Dutch shipbuilder Heesen, has now aired, with the guests’ discussion focusing around sustainability solutions within the superyacht industry.
The YachtTalk show was first debuted by Heesen back in September to fill the void left behind by this year’s cancelled yacht shows. Each episode brings together industry experts to discuss current issues and hot topics within the superyacht world.
In this episode, Charlotte Kan moderated a discussion between professionals whose work focuses on assessing and improving the sustainability of new-build yachts. They included Robert van Tol of non-profit organisation Water Revolution Foundation, Perry van Oossanen of Van Oossanen Naval Architects and Enrico Della Valentina of maritime sustainability research institute MARIN.
During the course of the discussion, all of the panellists agreed that the yachting industry needed to do more to make superyachts more eco-friendly in order to aid conservation. “We have such a unique and affluent clientele, that we are actually in a strategic position to take the extra step, and to be more proactive" suggested Van Tol, adding that the those within the industry could "lead within the wider maritime sector to not only reduce the environmental impact to ideally zero, but especially to protect the oceans that we need in order to sail and enjoy this yachting lifestyle.”
Alongside discussing the importance of conserving our oceans, the episode was heavily centred on how efficient design can improve the sustainability of superyachts. Aspects mentioned by Della Valentina included aerodynamic investigations of hull design as well as the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source; something which the Zero Emissions Lab at MARIN institute focuses on assessing.
When asked what naval architects and designers can do to improve sustainability, Van Oossanen proposed that “research and development” was the way forward, sharing that around 25% of the workforce at Van Oossanen Naval Architects is dedicated to just this.
When asked by Kan how the yachting industry can become more sustainable, Della Valentina commended the approach of offering rewards to owners with more eco-conscious vessels. “In Canada, for example, at the moment, you get a reduced harbour fee, if you enter into the harbour with a vessel that doesn't emit too much underwater noise”, explained Della Valentina.
Before concluding, Van Oossanen showcased a model of a boat designed for public use at the Port of Rotterdam in order to talk through some of the important aspects required to design sustainable vessels. According to research conducted by the labs at MARIN, a combination of specific height and shape measurements helped save the operator of this model 50,000 litres of fuel per year.
At the end of the show, the panellists talked about their hopes for future generations of yacht designers, as well as why more had not been done in the current time to advance sustainability and conservation initiatives within the industry. A lack of general awareness, and therefore acceptance of new ideas, was suggested by the experts to be the contributing factor that needed to be addressed to solve these issues.
“It is always difficult if you introduce something new to the market to get it accepted. I'm not sure if it's conservatism or if it's being careful. Maybe it's the same thing. But it is very difficult indeed. And you can only get there with patience and perseverance”, summarised Van Oossanen.
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