First solar electric catamaran with wing sail goes into production: no fossil fuels

Maltese electric boat manufacturer Zen Yachts has announced the first order for its Zen 50, the world’s first production catamaran yacht equipped with both extensive solar panels and a wingsail. Zen (short for Zero Emission Nautic) Yachts announced this week that it has sold its first Zen 50 which will immediately enter production and which is the first production yacht to be equipped with a Wingsail. The OceanWings 32 wingsail was provided by French company Aryo, a spin-off of the yacht design and naval architecture bureau VLPL, which inked a contract with Zen Yachts earlier this month to supply the 32-square-metres wingsail to Zen Yachts. The OceanWings 32 is an offspring of the Oracle wingsail which was used to defeat the conventionally rigged Alinghi in the 2010 America’s Cup in Valencia.

But the Zen 50 is more than its tall wingsail, boasting a huge solar roof with a 1:1 solar power versus displacement ratio of 16kW and 16-tonnes, making the yacht completely self-sufficient in terms of energy. The full carbon blue water capable catamaran was designed for Zen Yachts by award-winning naval architect Julien Mélot and is intended to embody genuine zero-emissions, high comfort, and performance. In addition to renewable power sources, the Zen 50 has also been built to ensure minimal drag, optimising the catamaran’s hydrodynamic performance through an in-depth Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis.

“I know from experience that to achieve complete energy self-sufficiency, a true solar boat needs to have a low energy consumption and a large solar roof area to harvest solar energy,” said Julien Mélot, designer of the Zen 50. “The ZEN 50 excels in both with her gigantic solar roof and her high-performance lightweight hulls. “The majority of solar catamarans currently on the market are equipped with a large generator, making them de facto hybrid diesel-solar-electric boats. They offer great speeds in a variety of conditions but are less eco-friendly than true zero-emission vessels. “We wanted the Zen to be a true solar boat, that’s why the first unit in construction is not equipped with any generator and will not carry a single drop of fossil fuel onboard (indeed even the tender is electric and recharged by the mother vessel).”

With 100% of the vessel’s energy harvested onboard through either its solar or wind, the yacht boasts a number of other amenities, including the ability to be equipped with a dive compressor, e-water scooter, e-foil, electric jet boards, and an electric water maker. The Zen 50 also comes with Starlink internet, two helm stations at the cockpit and flybridge, and features two large day beds, up to three dining areas for over 10 people, a professional galley and two wet kitchens, five heads, and up to four double-ensuite cabins.

Source: Joshua Hill

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