After following and reporting on Silent Yachts, the solar-electric boat maker, invited me to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to experience a cruise on the ship for myself. The SILENT 60 yacht is a solar electric catamaran that represents the future of zero-emission maritime travel and a simple stepping stone to the more advanced vessels that Silent Yachts is already developing next.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Silent Yachts was founded by Heike and Michael Köhle, who together sailed over 75,000 nautical miles around the world. After their many sea voyages, the founders decided there had to be a better way to power yachts with clean energy.
Their research into solar yacht technologies began in 2004, kicking off five years of browsing data collection before building the company’s first fully autonomous solar powered catamaran, the Solarwave 46.
After a five-year trial at sea that began in 2010, Silent Yachts had a proven solar yacht concept and began mass production of luxury sustainable vessels in 2016 with the SILENT 64. By 2018, the SILENT 64 had become the first mass-produced solar-powered catamaran to cross the Atlantic from Cartagena, Spain to Barbados in 16 days.
In 2021, Silent Yachts launched the SILENT 60 yacht as a more powerful and revamped generation of its 64ft predecessor. After accepting and inviting Silent Yachts to come aboard the SILENT 60, I learned a lot more about the solar electric catamaran, in addition to what the company has in store next.
A (quick) trip aboard the yacht SILENT 60
After a quick visit to Silent Yacht’s North American office in South Florida, a few other writers and I were invited aboard the 60-foot yacht SILENT 60 – Silent Yachts mentioned above. Two things were particularly interesting about this trip.
First, I planned to be at sea all day, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. It was a little over an hour trip, but definitely enough time to explore the solar electric yacht and enjoy some time in the Florida sun with zero emissions.
Another interesting facet of this trip was that we were also on board with several potential customers. At a starting price of just over $2.75 million, it’s easy to imagine the level of wealth on board, and since there were no real introductions, I took the opportunity to rub shoulders with my ultra-rich deck mates.
At one point, one of the potential customers came up to me and asked if I was going to buy one. As a humble writer familiar with economy class flying, I naturally said, “I’m seriously considering it, but I think I could take it a step further.” This customer told me he was going to pull the trigger that day, and two other customers on board also verbally committed to buy and actually planned to increase.
This is a testament to the quality and luxury of the SILENT 60 electric yacht – 30 minutes onboard is enough to sell… as long as you have millions and millions of dollars. I mean, the tax alone! The ship we boarded had five beds in four separate cabins. Take a look at some of the interior images below.
Can this solar electric yacht work? A look ahead
When we first untied and pushed it was amazing how quiet the electric yacht was. Personally, I think it’s a huge selling point for potential customers if you can get them on the water.
We were on board the original two-deck version of the SILENT 60 yacht, which has since been replaced by the Option three floors SILENT 62, based on the fact that a majority of customers preferred the third deck. Although our solar electric catamaran didn’t have the wing sail we covered when it debuted, it still had plenty of exciting electrified specs to offer.
- 2 electric motors of 250 kW
- Note that this propulsion option is no longer offered, you can go larger or smaller
- 225 kWh battery bank equipped with NMC lithium-ion cells
- Hyundai 150kW generator can recharge the battery bank in 2-3 hours
- According to Silent Yachts brand ambassador Kyle Miller, the combustion generator has not been ignited once since the vessel arrived in the United States.
- The SILENT 60 electric yacht has a 17 kWp solar generator
- The next SILENT 80 will have a 26 kWp generator
- Rear deck can be raised and lowered to hold a dingy or become a swim platform
Truth be told, the SILENT 60 I was able to ride on offers clean, quiet power in the utmost luxury, but Silent Yachts is not alone in doing so. That being said, the electric yacht builder seems to be growing at a rapid pace, especially in terms of innovation. Selling your products for millions probably also contributes to the R&D budget.
Many features and customizations that I have seen up close on the SILENT 60 have already been improved and implemented on the new upcoming electric yacht models. I have already mentioned the three-story layout, which can be assembled with several forms of open or closed walls depending on the preferences of the client.
Silent Yachts also goes further in its maritime range of available options. However, some of these larger ships will be hybrid models to carry the larger ships, so I’m not very interested in that. What interests me, however, are some of the new technologies that Kyle Miller teased me with.
Silent Yachts is working on the development of its own electric dinghy which will be installed on the aft deck of the SILENT 62 and in the hull of the SILENT 80. Other technologies mentioned were the possibility of liquid-cooled batteries and bi-directional charging.
The boat builder announced Silent Resorts earlier this year, focused on fully sustainable zero-carbon destinations for electric yachts. Silent Yachts plans to use its all-electric catamarans like the SILENT 60 yacht to power buildings, starting with the Bahamas. Sign me up for this tour.
All in all it was an interesting trip and I would love to have another chance to board one of Silent Yacht’s newer vessels – they clearly have a lot in their pipeline. Until there.
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