Sailing yachts are generally the more eco-friendly option for minimising your impact at sea, but the 40 metre Rainbow has gone one step further and adopted advanced technology to reduce impact even further. Rainbow was launched in 2012 by Holland Jachtbouw and designed by Dykstra Naval Architects as a replica of the original America’s Cup-winning 1930 Rainbow built for Harold Vanderbilt. The J-class superyacht has been constructed for optimal sailing performance and is powered by a hybrid propulsion system that improves fuel efficiency and reduces sound pollution while under motor.
The world's most eco-focused yachts
From hybrid engines to high-tech wastewater treatment, new developments in naval architecture and design are helping superyachts reduce their environmental impact. BOAT discovers the innovative technologies behind the world's most eco-focused superyachts.
When Ethereal was launched by Royal Huisman in 2009, the 58.04 metre yacht was hailed as the first-ever superyacht to feature a true hybrid system on board. The owner’s brief to designer Ron Holland was to create one of the most eco focused sailing yachts on the water. As a result, Wthereal is powered by a 500kWh lithium-iron phosphate battery bank which can be recharged while cruising, allowing the yacht to sail silently or anchor generator-free. The efficient set-up means that neither engines nor generators need to be put to use when raising the anchor, departing the mooring or setting sail.
The 90 metre Lürssen-built superyacht, Ice, originally known as Air when it was launched in 2005, made waves for being one of the first superyachts on the water outfitted with electrically-powered Azipod propellers within her propulsion system. The diesel-electric generators supply power to two azimuth thrusters, which have the added benefit of giving a comfortable, vibration-free ride as well as seriously reducing emissions while underway. Thanks to the advanced technology of her engines, the Tim Heywood-designed, black-hulled Ice can reach a top speed of 18.5 knots and offers an explorer-class cruising range of 5,000 nautical miles when sailing at a speed of 15 knots.
Not only can this 39.3 metre superyacht run on 15 per cent biodiesel, but every aspect of Safira's interior also comes from reclaimed, recycled or remnant materials – all without sacrificing luxury. The Newcastle-built explorer, designed by Sparkman & Stephens, has been largely constructed using an eco-friendly product made in The Netherlands known as Esthec. Used as a replacement for interior woodwork and teak decking, it also helps provide sound insulation to the five cabins in her lower decks.