9. Solar powered boats: 2019

Following September’s news of a solar-powered yacht made by a Swiss company Solar Impact which can cruise indefinitely without needing to stop and refuel, the Financial Times reports that Burma Boating has launched a 55ft S55 catamaran described as Asia’s first solar-powered yacht.

The writer searched for a definition of the term ‘yacht’ – a vessel which she had thought should always have sails; she found: “A yacht is any sail or power vessel used for pleasure, cruising or racing”.

The FT reports that the yacht was made by Austria-based boatbuilder Silent-Yachts, and has 30 solar panels, enabling it to travel at up to 12 knots and with unlimited range (though there is also a fuel-based back-up engine).

Built last year, it sleeps six, plus a crew of three, and has three large outside “lounging” areas. The real luxury, though, will be the ability to travel in complete silence, and even at anchor there is no need for a generator.

Burma Boating offers private cruises in the Mergui Archipelago, starting from the port of Kawthaung, southern Myanmar.

And a step further: CIG Renewables, a branch of the Central Industry Group – nine autonomous companies in the northern part of Germany and the Netherlands – has developed a hydrodynamically optimised solar boat which sails entirely emission-free. Detailed information, including technical drawings, may be seen here: FS 1850 and FS 25120 The solar-powered boat relies fully on the sun; its efficient, hydrodynamic design means that the boat uses less energy than other (semi) solar-powered boats and does away with the need for a standby diesel engine.




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