March 30 2021
Is it really possible to produce eco-responsible yachts that satisfy the criteria of luxury, comfort and safety of the yachting world, as well as criteria related to a real reduction of its carbon footprint?
This is a challenge that would have been unthinkable a few years ago, but the Polish shipyard Sunreef Yachts, the world leader in the luxury semi-custom catamaran market, is brilliantly meeting it.
Founded in 2003 by Frenchman Francis Lapp, Sunreef Yachts has always been a disruptive shipyard on the market, and it is undoubtedly this ability to break the codes and imagine new ones that is at the root of this true revolution underway in the Gdansk assembly workshops.
Since its creation, Sunreef has imagined making catamarans into real yachts, starting from the needs of its clients rather than the habits and reflexes of the sector. The result is a brand that in less than 20 years, and starting from nothing, has undoubtedly the most modern yacht building site in Europe (discover the Sunreef site), and employs 1,200 people, for a turnover of 160 million euros!
Sunreef's involvement in the environment is not a whim or a marketing stunt: it corresponds to a company strategy whose positioning on the luxury yacht market has always allowed it to offer units that consume much less than monohulls, due to their naval architecture, but also to an exceptional competence in energy management - especially electricity - as its founder comes from this very sector!
Based on this premise and the expectations of clients who sail far and wide, and who wish to have yachts that go beyond what currently exists in terms of carbon footprint reduction, the Sunreef shipyard has, as usual, developed an astonishing environmental strategy.
This approach is based on a 360° concept, combining eco-responsible propulsion, the creation of renewable energy on board at a level never before seen on such vessels, a very high level of energy efficiency on board, and the use of specific materials.
An example of the shipyard's disruptiveness is obvious: integrating conventional solar panels on a boat is limited, because of their shape and rigidity?
Sunreef has taken the design of its yachts as a starting point and invented a flexible solar panel technology that can be easily integrated on the side of a hull, on the roof of a yacht or on the mast of a sailboat! And if you have to invent these panels, why not make them? Sunreef has therefore created its own solar panel manufacturing workshop, to best meet its needs, reinforcing its comparative advantage and its lead on the market! Just as the shipyard had done since its creation, by internalizing the production of the masts of its sailboats, following the example of a shipyard like Amel.
The result? The Sunreef 80 Eco, a luxury sailing catamaran, has... 150m2 of solar panels, capable of producing up to 34 kWp! A yacht capable of producing electricity both below the waterline and above, this yacht being equipped with two electric motors of 180kW each capable of generating energy from the rotation of their propeller when sailing under sail! A hydrolic technology (hydro-generator), able to generate 15 kWh, from 7 knots.
The Sunreef 80 Eco produces its own electrical energy autonomously, and stores it in its ultra-light lithium batteries - a specificity of the shipyard - to be used at any time for its propulsion, its on-board electronics, or its comfort, the yacht being equipped with a revolutionary air-conditioning system, with a particularly low consumption, exclusive to the shipyard!
Sailing without noise, in complete autonomy, in complete safety, with technologies requiring little maintenance and in the greatest luxury: this is undoubtedly the small revolution that the Sunreef Yachts shipyard is in the process of realizing in the muffled world of yachting and large pleasure craft, both in the field of sailing and motoryachts.
Once a disruptor, always a disruptor?