Here's your next super-yacht and it's solar powered. Mallorca-based company Silent Yachts is pioneering electric yachts powered by the sun, so that not only will your Mediterranean cruising be guilt-free but you won't be woken up by a noisy engine when your crew leaves port in the early morning. Also, electric motors won't disturb your at-sea evening cocktails with an unseemly vibration. And who needs sails, anyway?
Silent Yachts is the brainchild of yachting enthusiasts Michael and Heike Köhler who calculated that on a conventional sail-equipped yacht, they were spending at least half their time at sea using noisy, polluting engines, rather than wind power. Their solution: dispense with the sails - though they are available as a popular optional extra - and mount an array of solar panels on just about every available horizontal surface. The result is efficient, quiet progress, one that mimics the sailing experience without any of the fuss and bother of actual sails or the pesky noise of a large engine.
The key to every boat that Silent Yachts manufacture is weight-saving, not least to off-set the heft of the batteries. Carbon is extensively used in construction and there's extra insulation to keep air conditioning needs down and so conserve power for the important things, like reaching Mykonos by sunset.
Top speed is an impressive 17 knots, but at that rate you'll need a fast recharge from the on-board generator, which produces a fraction of the power, and thus noise and fuel consumption, of the engine aboard a more conventional yacht. Accommodation is aimed at high end cruisers, with a variety of configurations involving al fresco dining, bathing platforms and lavishly equipped cabins - staterooms is the preferred nomenclature - for those lucky enough to be aboard.
All of this new technology doesn't come at all cheap. Expect to part with at least £1-million for a base model, spiralling rapidly upwards. This is no up-start start-up, however. The Volkswagen Group is heavily involved with the latest that Silent Yachts have to offer, with both VW powertrains and design expertise being offered on future boats. Now, where are the deck shoes?