The name gives you a hint: the Silent 79 Yacht isn’t powered by a noisy combustion engine. Instead, the 79-foot vessel has an array of 70 photovoltaic panels that provide the power for the onboard and propulsion systems. A bank of lithium-ion batteries stores energy for cloudy days and a generator provides emergency backup. Otherwise, it’s a fairly standard affair, with plenty of deck space on the perimeter – the solar panels provide shade in the center – and configurations ranging from four to six bedrooms. Set to launch in 2020, two of them are already spoken for, with a third still seeking an owner.
Austria-based shipbuilder Silent-Yachts has begun construction on its largest solar-powered catamaran model to date, the Silent 79. Three units of the Silent 79 are currently under construction at a shipyard in Marotta, close to Ancona, Italy. Two units have already been sold, with the first catamaran to be launched in 2020.
The concept behind the Silent 79 was developed by Michael Köhler, founder and CEO of Silent-Yachts, while Enrique Castilla from Insenaval is responsible for the naval architectures and Marco Casali from Too Design designed the exterior and interior. The 23.95-metre catamaran features the DNA of its sister model, the Silent 55 which was debuted at Cannes Yachting Festival earlier this year, but on a larger scale.
I think, solar-electric boats are the future that is why I immediately agreed to work with Michael Köhler. Solar power is about square meters, so we need to dedicate as much surface to the solar panels as possible while keeping the overall balance in shape. In my opinion, we managed that with the Silent 79. What I tried to achieve is an interesting Italian design, sophisticated and refined. This is a nice-looking yacht that meets efficiency.
Marco Casali, Designer
With solar panels placed on top of the flybridge, the Silent 79 features a clean and straightforward exterior design, with large windows to allow plenty of natural light to fill the interiors. The flybridge carries 70 high-efficiency solar panels, which adds a touch of sportiness to the design, while both the aft and forward outdoor spaces offer enough space to host parties.
It boasts clean lines and large windows that flood the saloon and guest spaces with light and provide panorama views. The aft cockpit benefits from a lounge and a bar, while the forward area boasts a sofa and sunpads, perfect for relaxing and entertaining.
Inside the Silent 79 is designed to provide maximum comfort to owner and guests who spend months on board in long happy voyages. The décor styling is marine, so it is minimalist, ergonomic, muted, and at the same time luxurious and refined to perfection.
Michael Köhler, CEO of Silent-Yachts
On the main deck, the 10.95 metre-wide saloon features a galley, lounge and a dining area, whilst the lower deck can be fitted with four to six guest cabins, with an aft master suite, plus two crew cabins. All staterooms offer double or twin berths, and all heads include a separate shower. Other layouts are available on request.
As there is no actual engine room because the yacht is solar-powered, the Silent 79 has the largest garage in the category. There is enough space for a 4.5-meter long tender, an amphibious car and a gyrocopter on floats, which is quite impressive for a yacht under 24 m long. Since the Silent-Yachts’ signature is to be eco-friendly, the yacht is principally decorated with environmentally-friendly lightweight and recyclable materials.
The oceangoing solar-electric catamaran Silent 79 is built using vacuum-bagged resin infusion to create a lightweight glass-sandwich composite construction that has sound-and temperature-insulating qualities and uses silent electric propulsion for unlimited range, without noise or fumes and minimal vibration. Silent-Yachts says that the yacht is self-sufficient and virtually maintenance-free.
The catamaran is fitted with a pair of electric engines (50 kW each in standard ‘Cruiser’ version, 250 kW each in ‘E-Power’ version and common shafts and is the fastest in the company’s fleet, reaching up to 20 knots, and is able to travel between six and seven knots in complete silence, with unlimited range passing around 100 nautical miles per day.
With 70 high-efficiency solar panels rated for approximately 25 kilowatt-peak, the Silent 79 uses maximum power point tracking (MPPT) solar charge regulators and the same lithium batteries as used by Tesla, which provide capacity for all-night cruising, while a 15-kVA inverter provides power for all household appliances. The catamaran also has a generator which is only used to recharge the batteries or if higher speed is required for longer periods of time or in case of prolonged bad weather.
There’s also a ‘Hybrid Power’ version of the Silent 79 with a pair of 220hp motors combined with two 14 kW diesel engines. As such the operational costs of the Silent 79 are said to be substantially lower compared to yachts using traditional propulsion systems.
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