Last autumn, SILENT-YACHTS introduced the SILENT 55, the first and only oceangoing solar-electric production catamaran in the world. The yacht uses silent electric propulsion for unlimited range with no noise or fumes and minimal vibration; she is self-sufficient and virtually maintenance-free. I had the privilege to spend a day onboard this beauty last month and I can’t overemphasize what a difference the quietness makes. Suddenly, you travel with no other sound than the soft murmur of the waves and the almost imperceptible whisper of the breeze.
This also means that there is no need of a generator for air conditioning or cooking at anchor. The generator is only used to recharge the batteries in rare cases when extra speed may be needed or in emergency situations.
Ed Sacks, SILENT-Yachts Ambassador and a legend in the world of yachting told our Editor Julia Pasarón: “There is no experience like being on a boat…the ability to explore new places, the spontaneity to change agendas on a whim, and always: the happy marriage of sky and water; nature at its finest. Nowhere is this more true than on a SILENT- Yacht, where the only sounds are the waves caressing the hull!”
On the other hand, yachting enthusiast Oliver Kloth, sees the SILENT-Yachts concept as a means to freedom and independence: “In the daily business, you have appointments, you have to rely on business partners, employees and customers, weigh up imponderables like traffic jams etc. So when finally you go on weekends or holidays on your yacht, you want to relax and have fun, leave everyday’s life behind have no new obligations. You don’t buy a yacht to take care of additional things in your spare time; like when there are a few boats in front of you at the gas station to fill up with fuel and fresh water, or having to worry about if there is enough wind from the right direction, about needing a crew…?”
The SILENT 55 pretty much solves all the above problems. It is available in several power configurations to suit a variety of cruising applications, with the fastest reaching a top speed of 20knots. With 30 high-efficiency solar panels rated for approximately 10 kilowatt-peak, the SILENT 55 uses maximum power point tracking (MPPT) solar charge regulators and lithium batteries, which provide capacity for all-night cruising, while a 15-kVA inverter provides power for all household appliances. The systems require hardly any maintenance so the operational costs of the vessels are substantially lower compared to power yachts using traditional propulsion systems.
In Kloth´s words: “You just go on board and find that the batteries have already been charged by the sun while you were busy somewhere else, the water maker provides fresh water, the fridge cools drinks and food and the ice cubes are ready. You press the air-con switch and you have all you need to unwind and spend a great time on the water. No matter where you go, the solar panels will keep you supplied during your trip.”
The SILENT 55 is available in five different layouts ranging from three to six staterooms with three or four heads. In all configurations, careful attention has been paid to onboard ergonomics. The staterooms, heads and saloon on the SILENT 55 create a comfortable environment for living, even for extended cruising. Large portlights and flush deck hatches guarantee good natural light.
The interior layout is centered on a shared onboard space, a huge 40m² combination of saloon, helm and galley, with enough space for the crew to gather. Three of the layouts feature a forward owner stateroom that capitalizes on the 8.46-meter beam of the yacht for a spacious layout with a walkaround double berth. On the day I was with them, we were a party of 14 and it didn´t feel crowded at all.
Other accommodation plans optimize the space with additional staterooms as SILENT-YACHTS uses a modular construction and efficient design methods that allow additional layouts at reasonable prices.
With wide side decks for safety moving fore and aft, the SILENT 55 has a spacious cockpit sheltered by a large hardtop overhang, and enormous open foredeck space. In addition, the flying bridge promises to allow helmsman and guests to enjoy time together underway with superior lines of sight all around the boat. Kloth was particularly impressed with how easy this boat is to navigate: “On the large display next to your steering wheel you can easily see all the systems. It shows energy consumption, range, amount of fresh energy from the sun and also how consumption changes at different speeds. The other display shows the nautical chart with your position, water depth and much more. Select a destination, mark it on the display, activate the autopilot, and you’re ready to go. That sounds very easy….and it is. After a good briefing by the very competent and charming SILENT-Yachts team, I felt ready to sail the Silent 55 all by myself. Furthermore, the almost 17 metres in length are of benefit to me when maneuvering.”
The SILENT 55 is equipped with the company’s aeration system, which provides cool and fresh air to all accommodations, heads, and in the saloon. In addition, a reverse-cycle heat-pump system can be used to heat the interior when necessary. The insulated hull ensures efficient achievement of desired onboard temperatures.
Designed to range everywhere as a true ocean-going cruising yacht that is self-sufficient, she can cruise efficiently for up to 100 miles a day for weeks. At the same time, the arrangement of the components enables the system to power all onboard systems without need of fuel to power a generator.
A water-maker powered by the solar-electric system, produces enough water to supply a full six stateroom company. All onboard appliances operate on the familiar 220/110-volt system. The galley has refrigerator, freezer space and an induction cooktop, precluding the need for carrying propane.
But perhaps the most important advantage of the SILENT 55 is that your time is spent enjoying the sounds of wind and water, with no fumes or vibration, with no noise but the laughter of friends and family, and the clinking of ice-cubes in your G&T. POA.