Tech entrepreneur reveals Arksen explorer fleet
by Miranda Blazeby
Tech entrepreneur Jasper Smith has unveiled the three model fleet of his "semi-autonomous hybrid explorer" builder Arksen.
Smith, who is best known for being the founder of a number of tech companies, used the occasion of the Boot Dusseldorf boat show to present the three model fleet, which ranges from 23 metres to 30 metres.
It comes after Smith revealed he had teamed up with a team of industry veterans to develop and build the fleet, including the Isle of Wight-based Wight Shipyard, naval architects Humphreys Yacht Design and interior design firm Design Unlimited.
Focused on minimising environmental impact, all three aluminium explorers come with solar energy capabilities, a diesel/electric hybrid propulsion option and average cruising speeds of 11 - 14 knots.
The 23 metre Arksen 70 is the smallest model of the fleet. It has a 6.25 metre beam, full beam master and can accommodate a total of eight guests on board.
The 26.2 metre Arksen 85 has a beam of 6.8 metres and can accommodate a total of 14 guests. It was revealed at Boot Dusseldorf that the fledgling builder has already sold its first Arksen 85, which will begin construction at Wight Shipyard this April.
It is understood the builder is also close to securing a second sale.
The biggest of the fleet, the 30 metre Arksen 100, has a beam of 7.05 metres and can accommodate 14 guests with crew accommodation located forward.
All three models have reconfigurable interior layout and enough storage for three months at sea. They are designed to be manned by minimal crew and a 50 year service life.
The builder has presented its own ownership model, which sees all Arksen owners donate 10% of their boat's annual sea time to projects supported by the Arksen Foundation. These currently include the Seabed 2030 Project and Ocean Futures. All Arksen owners are also invited to join the foundation's board, which selects the projects supported by the organisation.
Smith said the ownership model was to ensure "more people move away from the status quo where a boat sits in a marina unused for 95% of its life."
Speaking at the Dusseldorf launch, Arksen's Nico Wills said: "We believe that if you're lucky enough to own one of our vessels then you have a responsibility to give back to the ocean."
As part of this new ownership model Arksen offers a guaranteed buyback option to owners.
"You can buy our vessels and be secure in the knowledge that when the time comes, if it comes, you can sell immediately," Smith said.
Additionally, Arksen has launched an Explorers’ Club to help owners realise their dream adventures. It offers four signature itineraries, which are inspired by famous explorers such as Fridtjof Nansen and Jacques Cousteau and venture to locations including Svalbard, Easter Island and the Falkland Islands