Polish luxury catamaran builder Sunreef Yachts, has a buyer for its electric solar panel and wind turbine-powered catamaran, the Sunreef 80 Eco — its most sustainable yacht to date.
Founded in 2002 in Gdansk, Poland, by French builder Francis Lapp, Sunreef Yachts has been at the forefront of luxury sailing for two decades. It’s built 140 yachts over the past 20 years. Now, the brand is increasing its efforts to make luxury catamarans more sustainable as it extends its Eco range with the Sunreed 80 Eco, its most sustainable yacht offering to date.
Sunreef 80 Eco
Sunreef announced the catamaran was in the works in 2021, adding to its range of nearly ten models of electric or hybrid catamarans. Now, it has a buyer for the Sunreef 80 Eco.
“The climate impact of large power yachts is significant,” the future owner told Sunreef in a recent interview. “We have taken extensive steps to impact the climate crises, therefore we could only consider a power yacht if it would incorporate technologies that are rapidly scaling in other sectors such as solar energy and electric vehicles.”
The catamaran is expected to summer in the Northeast and winter in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
“The Sunreef 80 Eco is all about responsible sailing and relying on renewable energy. We are now pairing the industry’s most innovative solar power system with hydro generation. On top of that, the yacht will be able to save massive amounts of energy thanks to an air conditioning system available exclusively on Sunreef Yachts catamarans,” Lapp said in a statement last year.
Sunreef 80 Eco measures 78 feet in length and can sleep up to ten passengers across five cabins. Non-toxic paints, customizable decor, and ethically sourced sustainable materials and furnishings complete the cabins and decks. A water purifying system creates drinking water and powers a highly efficient DC-powered air-conditioning system.
The fully electric vessel features two 180kW motors powered by Sunreef’s solar panels when wind isn’t available for its wind generators. The panels cover more than 1,700 square feet, built into the ship across the hull, superstructure, and carbon mast, generating up to 32kWp of energy.
The Sunreef Eco 80 debuts after the brand earned recognition for its sustainability initiatives at the 2021 Boat Builder Awards in November. It earned the award forbest eco-design in the Excellent Product Design category for its In-House Engineered Solar Power System.
Sunreef Yachts’ high-performance solar panels are designed and manufactured by the shipyard with patent-pending technology. At 1 mm thickness and weighing under 2 kg per square meter, they are some of the lightest solar panels on the market. According to Sunreef, the panels can be easily mounted anywhere on the yacht’s surfaces including hull and mast. This allows for increased solar power.
Two decades of luxury catamarans
Lapp made Sunreef’s debut in 2003 at the Cannes Yachting Festival. He had been moved to build luxury catamarans after his own experiences renting the vessels.
“When I started to charter out my first catamarans, I noticed that both inside and outside the overall quality wasn’t good enough or matching my expectations. There was too much plastic and it was definitely not luxury,” he recalled in an interview in 2020.
When he brought his catamaran to Cannes, the industry was underwhelmed, he said.
“There were other yards telling us, ‘Guys, you’re not going to make it through the year—there’s no market for luxury catamarans out there.’ ”
But the designer said it only fueled him to continue. “As a matter of fact, I never let go of this. My vision turned out to be the right one—and we’re still here today.”
Now, the brand holds a reputation as the industry leader. And the move toward eco vessels, a shift that’s happening across the industry with yachts innovating on clean engine technology and even building greenhouses into boats, is charting a new future.
“The idea behind these yachts is to offer a 360-degree concept for eco yachting,” Lapp said.
“This means more than just electric engines. It is about combining modern technology (light batteries, innovative solar panels, wind turbines) with naturally-sourced materials.”
In 2021 the Sunreef Eco range also received a World Yachts Trophy during the Cannes Yachting Festival—the same place it had been criticized two decades earlier. It also won the UIM Environmental Award and the Gustave Trouvé Award.
Sunreef’s proprietary green tech includes flexible solar panels, wind turbines, a unique water purification system, and innovations in air conditioning. The eco ships also include sustainable materials in cabins and decks.
The Sunreef 80 Eco was first announced last March, billed as “the world’s most advanced luxury catamaran.” Sunreef said the ship is a “pioneer” in the world of responsible yachting.
Lapp says sustainability is critical to Sunreef’s future, even as Covid has slowed business across the industry.
“The Sunreef 80 Eco is seeing some good interest from our customer base and we have recently signed an agreement with Nico Rosberg [the German-Finnish winner of the 2016 Formula One World Championship] to become our ambassador for the Sunreef Yachts Eco catamarans,” Lapp said. “These difficult circumstances should not stop us from evolving in a green direction.”
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