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Azura Marine launches motor yacht powered solely by the sun

by Julien Melot 24 May 2020 07:40 PDT
Aquanima 40 - Solar Eclipse - Side view © Julien Melot

Singapore based Azura Marine have announced the launch of their first solar powered catamaran yacht on the 8th May 2020 in Bali, Indonesia.

"Solar Eclipse," the first hull in the Aquanima 40 series, is capable of undertaking non-stop ocean voyages powered only by sunlight. She is a unique 4 cabin, 8 guest yacht designed for extended cruising without any need for fossil fuels or refuelling stops of any nature. The Aquanima 40 solar-powered catamarans are also equipped with a 56 m2 rain catchment system, water maker and air conditioning water recovery - rendering water supply stops unnecessary too.

For the owner, this means limitless cruising with no fuel costs, no noise or vibration, no smells, no polluting emissions and no disturbance of marine life. The electric motors are virtually maintenance-free with only a couple of low-cost bearings to be replaced at 20,000 hours (more than a typical lifetime usage of a yacht).

Unlike existing traditional or hybrid vessels which rely on petrol/diesel or on a mix of fossil fuels and renewable energy, the Aquanima catamarans generate all of their power from sunlight captured by embedded solar panels. This energy is directly utilised in the daytime and stored in batteries for night-time usage for propulsion and domestic electrical systems.

In combination with its highly efficient hull design, this enables the yacht to cruise continuously 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is capable of crossing oceans. The yacht is able to travel more than 100 nautical miles (185 kilometres) in a single day without stopping.

For Belgian born Co-Founder and CEO Julien Mélot and his Team, this is the realisation of many years of research and development and he commented "it was an enormous thrill to launch the yacht last week and undertake her first few miles at sea. The yacht met all our expectations and while the design makes for near silent operation with exceptional responsiveness, it was incredible to actually experience it - and all in the knowledge that we were not producing any harmful pollution or emissions. With some strong winds and a very tight to enter marina berth, we were delighted by how easy the yacht was to manoeuvre. We simply cannot wait to take her out on her maiden voyage"

The yacht offers all the comfort to be expected of a modern cruiser with air conditioning, fully equipped galley including ice maker, hob and sink. On this version, the bathroom and toilet is on main deck for greater ease of access as this vessel is strongly oriented towards enjoying the outdoors, exploring hidden bays with the electric dinghy or diving on pristine reefs. Onboard Solar Eclipse, all water is self-produced, including fresh and drinking water, thanks to the yacht's water-maker, air conditioning water recovery system and gigantic rain water collecting solar roof. She features a high quality marine sound system and all round WIFI connectivity.

The energy management system and CCTV are accessible remotely so owners can log in remotely to check on their boat systems, batteries, indoor and outdoor conditions.

The 56sqm solar roof is also fully usable as a second deck for parties, exercise, sundowner drinks or to jump off into the ocean.

"It's great talking with interested buyers," added commercial director Simon Turner. "We already have eager people from Asia, the USA, Australia, Europe and South America. This includes a couple who wish to do a circumnavigation of Australia where there are several stretches with no ports, land or support for several days over hundreds of miles. Similarly, we have an American family who wish to cruise the Great Loop, a 6,000 mile ocean and inland waterway. Then we have people who are very eco-focused or who simply wish to operate a boat for local cruising safe in the knowledge they will be saving a fortune on fuel costs whilst doing their bit for the environment. We are also in talks with several charter operators as the low cost of operation and attractiveness to modern eco-tourists make for a highly effective business model."

The base boat Aquanima 40 costs €495,000 and has a range of options to be chosen by the customer. As Azura Marine is a fully-fledged custom yacht builder, the customer is able to fully specify the overall layout, number of cabins and level of finish and quality of interior and exterior fittings.

Customers can also increase speed and reduce energy consumption by opting for the mast and sails package which will even deliver upwind performance.

"Solar Eclipse" carries a six person tender which is powered by Azura Marine's own electric outboard motor "Manta 2.0", fully designed and built in-house, and available commercially to customers. The portable Li-Ion battery pack for the tender is charged directly from the yacht and can just as easily be charged when ashore.

Azura Marine will shortly begin construction of the Aquanima 45 model from its Surabaya base which will see the start of production in marine grade aluminium.

Yacht Specifications

  • LWL 11,5 m
  • LOA 13,25 m
  • Beam 6 m
  • Draft 65 cm
  • Propulsion Power: 2 x 10 kW
  • Solar Power: 10 kW
  • Main Battery Bank Capacity: 60 kWh
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