Blog | The Future is Smooth, Green, and Lightweight

February 21, 2022

The Future is Smooth, Green, and Lightweight

Yachting trends have been pretty interesting to keep up with over the years, with innovations in everything from space and comfort to sleeker designs, advanced technology, and improved safety. However, while yachting has never looked so good, onboard innovations have yet to reach their peak. Instead, it seems like we are still in the early stages. At the intersection of the needs of boaters and the genius of builders lie insights into the future of yachting.

Smoother Yachting

Spilled wine and guests slinging their lunch over the side of your yacht are not what anyone wants to see. Fortunately, several recent trends have improved yacht stabilization. From fins and gyroscopic stabilizers to interceptors, there are several new ways to keep your journey stable and smooth.

Interesting strides are also being made to make stabilization equipment more efficient than ever. For example, VEEM recently unveiled their new VG1000 SD – the world’s largest gyrostabilizer designed specifically for superyachts. Interestingly, the yachting industry is also seeing a growing trend in gyro refits, because if there’s something better than one gyro stabilizer, it’s two!

In addition, we see a new range of much more efficient interceptors being designed for vessels up to 300 feet, operating in the 20- to 60-knot range. For example, the Humphree HLS active interceptor series, created for megayachts, is said to be 25 percent more efficient than trim tabs.

Moving forward, we are likely to see more yachts with a combination of several stabilization systems. Total Ride Control from Naiad Dynamics is a custom stabilization package that incorporates various cutting-edge technologies such as fins, canards, T-foils, interceptors, trim tabs, spanning foils, air cushions, and Dynamic Hull Vanes. Naiad combines these systems in novel and effective ways depending on the vessel’s requirements.

Yachts Powered By Alternative Power Sources

In a world increasingly concerned with reducing its carbon footprint and saving natural resources, green yachting continues to be a growing trend. For many years, builders have tinkered with yachts to make them run on alternatives to diesel, and some of this research is yielding promising results. As demand increases, we’ll see more breakthrough innovations in sustainable yachting.

Several boatbuilders, such as Greenline Yachts, are already offering hybrid yachts, while others are making advancements in solar technologies. In 2019, the Serenity 74 launched with about 1,200 square feet of solar panels to support the yacht’s power functions while cruising. Serenity achieved this by building the rest of the yacht around its solar array instead of making it an afterthought.

Apart from solar technology, we also see yacht builders like Alva turn to electric propulsion systems as the sole source of power. Oceanco has also explored hybrids. Their 350-foot DynaRig yacht Black Pearl can sail across the Atlantic without burning any fossil fuel. Alternative energy company Energy Observer Developments is also developing hydrogen fueling stations that float in the corner of a marina and generate hydrogen from seawater.

We’re also seeing innovations in power management, storage, and monitoring, with new battery banks and intelligent monitoring systems expected from builders in 2022 and beyond. 

Lightweight Building Materials

Sturdy wooden boats and thick fiberglass hulls may have been the hallmark of great yachts, but that era is slowly coming to an end. In their place, we now see lightweight building materials such as carbon fiber, Corecell, Divinycell, and 3D printing technology. These materials increase hydrodynamics and make yachts lighter and faster.

Fortunately, while these materials are lighter, they are as strong as – or stronger than – traditional boat-building materials. As technology advances, new materials are being tested and more builders are beginning to combine the old and the new. For example, we’ll soon see more innovations like resin infusion, foam-core stringers and bulkheads, and traditional processes used to make composites, like carbon-fiber-infused hulls.

Endless Possibilities on the Horizon

It certainly looks like smoother, more sustainable, and lightweight yachting will start to catch on in 2022 and beyond, but what else does the future hold for yachting?

Marine architects and engineers predict that 3D-printed yachts will arrive by 2050, while other designers foresee yachts that will be able to shapeshift – luxurious and conspicuous one day, and practically invisible the next. Multihull yachts could also be the norm in little more than a decade.

Wherever the future of yachting takes us, we can be confident that there are endless possibilities in-store.

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