Luxury yachts fly the green flag

Luxury yachts that whisk their millionaire owners or charter guests to the world's top beauty spots, guzzling gallons of fuel on the way, have long scraped the bottom of the green league tables.

But as superyachts converged on the Riviera for this year's 20th Monaco Yacht Show, a small but determined minority were flying the green flag as the ever expanding fleet of mega yachts seeks to reduce its carbon footprint.

Paolo Moretti, who heads the yachting division of Italy's ship certification body RINA, told AFP interest in environmental topics has spiked in the yachting sector over the last five years.

"Luxury yachts have big budgets but owners now not only want to excel in terms of comfort and luxury but also in environmental sustainability," he said.

The influential four-day show that opened Wednesday in the tiny, glitzy principality attracted an exceptional turnout of some 100 superyachts of up to 90 metres (300 feet) in length.

Among the 28,000-plus participants crammed into Monaco's horseshoe-shaped port, there were some 500 firms involved in the design, paint, engines and waste disposal for the superyachts.

And many of them are working on how to make yachting more sustainable.

"Motivation is coming from all sides and some owners are really deeply concerned by environmental issues, particularly the more technically-minded owners," said Luc Khaldoun, commercial director Europe at Fraser Yachts Monaco.

One newly-launched sea-giant - Exuma - had its green ambitions on full display.

The first of a new series of Vitruvius motor yachts built by Italy's Pichiotti and Perini Navi, Exuma was designed by Philippe Briand, famous for his cutting-edge sailing yachts.

The spectacular 50-metre vessel, which can accommodate 10 guests and eight crew, boasts an unusual aluminium hull, whose lighter weight is designed to slash fuel consumption, explained the boat's captain, Adolfo Oria.

"The design of the yacht, which is narrower and sleeker than most motor yachts, has the same performance efficiency of sail boats," he said.

Exuma's innovation won it the show's Green Plus Yacht Award 2010, which was presented Friday by eco-campaigner Prince Albert to its Monaco-resident owner.

Short of a design revolution, one of the easiest ways for the green-minded millionaire to reduce his yacht's carbon footprint today is to sign up to a yacht carbon offset scheme.

"Interest (in carbon offsetting) is growing all the time," according to Mark Robinson, managing director of a service called Yacht Carbon Offset, whose list of clients from the Middle East, Russia and Europe reaches into three figures.

The principle of offsetting is straightforward: a yacht's greenhouse gas emissions are quantified and then balanced by equivalent emissions reductions from carefully-selected green energy projects around the world.

Yachts using the service include Lionheart, Candyscape II and RoMa as well as the recently-launched 57.7-metre sailing ketch Twizzle, whose owner also chose to offset the carbon footprint from the energy and main materials used in the boat's construction.

Until now, yachting lagged behind other sectors in terms of environmental awareness, for two reasons, according to Khaldoun.

First, the industry is deeply conservative and often slow to adopt new trends. Second - and most importantly - research and development costs are enormous in this highly specialist sector where yacht builders often lack the budgets needed for such projects.

Despite these challenges, however, a number of yachts with sustainable development features are on the drawing board.

The Dutch-based shipyard Feadship, which has built some of the world's most famous superyachts for billionaires that include Paul Allen and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, is now turning to nature for innovation.

Its latest "Future Feadship" concept yacht, named Breathe after the boat's natural onboard ventilation and cooling system, had pride of place on company's stand.

For the time being, "Breathe" is an on-paper concept.

But many of its proposed features - including special paint on the hull to reduce water resistance, solar cells and diesel-electric hybrid propulsion - are being explored by specialist marine firms, experts said here.

Novel ways are also being offered to deal with the large amounts of garbage that accumulate on yachts, which often spend many days and even weeks at sea without docking at a port.

These include a unit that grinds waste into an eco-friendly sterilised fluff-like end product.

But industry experts here this week warned that efforts to make yachting more environmentally-friendly are likely to have a limited impact.

For proof, just take a look at the "toys" onboard the green award-winning Exuma: they include a huge amphibious "jeep" the size of a Hummer, a large hovercraft, two electric land scooters and two seabobs.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'