That’s the spirit behind the design and construction of this 129-foot expedition megayacht, to be christened Safira. Set to begin construction this spring at Newcastle Marine in Florida, she comes from the design boards of Sparkman & Stephens. But more important, she comes from the imagination of an environmentally minded owner who wants to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible.
In fact, he’s so eco-conscious that all decor items must be organic, natural, recycled, sustainable, and renewable. For example, he’ll only consider wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, an organization whose standards for forest management have been adopted by nearly 60 countries worldwide. Finishes and adhesives need to be no- or low-VOC (volatile organic compound) products. And carpets can’t employ chemical treatment, so they’ll need to be natural wool, organic cotton, or an equivalent material. Even windows and plumbing hardware and fittings have to be made of recycled products whenever possible.
Since he intends to pursue adventurous cruising, to both warm and cool climates (the latter being possible thanks to an ice-class hull) and to places without power hookups for yachts, Safira will need to be self-sufficient. All megayachts employ gensets for this purpose, but this 129-footer will use ones emitting fewer emissions. In addition, they’ll feature heat exchangers for hot-water production, like the traditional arrangement on sailboats.
Speaking of water, the watermakers onboard will reportedly use half the energy required for yachts of similar size. According to Sparkman & Stephens, the energy used on the high-pressure side of the system will power the low-pressure side. Even more interesting, the owner and engineering team are considering using a zero-discharge waste-water-treatment system that uses microbes to break down the solids and contaminants.
If biodiesel ever becomes available for use in yachts, Safira will be able to use it, since she’ll be equipped with special tanks dedicated to it. But her owner is also relying on present-day technology to take him wherever he wishes to cruise. Pod drives by Schottel will be coupled with Caterpillar engines to permit a top speed of 13.5 knots and a cruise speed of 11 knots. Pods are known for reducing resistanceâ€”and therefore fuel consumptionâ€”and permit maneuverability without a stern thruster.
There’s still plenty more research to do, such as what type of topside paint to use, but even those challenges don’t seem to be dissuading these design and build teams. In fact, Sparkman & Stephens seems to be reveling in it. Greg Matzat, the design firm’s president and chief naval architect, says, “We love engineering challenges. This yacht has been great fun for us to design.” He adds, “While there are a number of so-called â€˜green boats’ recently launched and in the wings, we are not aware any project taking an incremental approach with anywhere near this level of commitment and thoroughness.”