vitters shipyard project zero sailing yacht

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Credit: Vitters Shipyard/ Tom van Oossanen

Vitters turns hull on zero fossil fuel sailing yacht

30 August 2023 • Written by Katia Damborsky

Vitters has turned the hull on its "zero fossil fuel" sailing yacht Project 3094 (better known as Project Zero) following 11 months of construction. In the upcoming days, the aluminium hull will be tugged to Vitters' shipyard in Zwartsluis, Netherlands for the next phase of outfitting.

The details of this "visionary", 69-metre design were first announced at BOAT International's Superyacht Design Festival by Vripack's Marnix Hoekstra, on behalf of sustainable marine organisation Foundation Zero.

Project Zero is a ketch-rigged sailing yacht that will operate completely free of fossil fuels while also harvesting wind, thermal and solar energy to power the yacht and its amenities. The technology behind the build will be available in the public domain and the yacht's exterior look will not be compromised by energy-harvesting solutions, according to Hoekstra.

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Credit: Vitters Shipyard / Tom van Oossanen

Vripack's co-creative director explained that the proposed sail plan generates power equivalent to 1.5 megawatts —  approximately the same amount of energy generated by a common modern wind turbine of 70 meters in diameter. A hydro-generator is then used to convert kinetic energy into electricity, which will power a large part of the yacht.

The solar panels will be carefully integrated into the yacht's awning and the deckhouse without compromising the aesthetics of the yacht. They will also be able to electronically pivot in order to capture the most sun. 

The zero-emission ketch was revealed during the Superyacht Design Festival in Cortina d'Ampezzo

To achieve zero-emission cruising, Hoekstra said that Vripack had to completely rethink the design of the yacht. "It is not about improving what we had, it’s all about cutting-edge innovation," he said. The yacht will have no engine room —  "not even in a secret compartment disguised as a 'range extender' " — meaning that classification systems will have to be newly developed for Project Zero to comply with them.

Crucially, all of the technology behind the build of the yacht will be available in an open-source format to allow other parties to start implementing net-zero cruising. The sailing yacht forms part of the Foundation Zero mission, which was developed by a group of investors and a team of physicists together with the naval architects of the Dykstra studio. A Foundation Zero website is currently in development and will contain all of the findings and raw data from the yacht's testing as it becomes available.

According to BOATPro, Project Zero is scheduled to be delivered in September 2025. Vitters also has two other superyachts under construction — Project 3090 and Project 3093.

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