Commit the name Alastair Callender to memory. While he may “only” be a university student, he has more professional experience in boat design than some of his older peers. More important, his understanding and implementation of eco-friendly technology in Soliloquy just may revolutionize the megayacht business.
As part of his final-year coursework, Callender designed the project, a 58-meter (190-foot) yacht that relies on solar, wind, and hybrid marine power technologies. Those technologies include rigid wings that can fold down when not needed. Now, don’t dismiss the concept as a simple school project that will get tucked away in a notebook. Callender successfully approached Solar Sailor to request permission to use its patented solarsails in his design and to sponsor the proposal. Solar Sailor is an Australian company that works with a variety of boatbuilders, naval architects, and ship operators. In addition, Callendar will showcase the design when he speaks at the Future of Superyachts Conference in Mallorca later this month.
When he could have designed any number of megayacht concepts, why did Callender choose a “green” one? Simple: “In this ever-increasing environmentally conscious time, I wanted to focus my attention on looking at possible solutions to some of the current problems associated with the superyacht industry,” he explains. “Eco-luxury should no longer be viewed as an oxymoron. ‘Soliloquy – the Super-Green Superyacht’ is a true metaphor to show that this ideal is viable.”
In a sense, the past few years of Callender’s life have been leading to this moment. At the tender age of 16, the young Brit was profoundly impressed by what megayacht designer Andrew Winch had to say during a talk, and he decided there and then to pursue a career in superyacht design. After winning the Sir Peter Blake Award for achievement in sailing and teaching the sport in Greece for a few months, Callender landed a job in Winch’s office – all before enrolling in the boat-design classes at Coventry University. While at school, Callender additionally landed a six-month internship at Princess Yachts, and he also worked with the design team at Northshore Yachts.
When it comes to Soliloquy, Callender is taking his experience one step further. While he initially envisioned the yacht appealing to an owner – sailor or not – who intends to make a smaller carbon footprint, he believes Soliloquy holds equal appeal among owners who value innovative design and features. The look of the yacht, whether the sails are upright or folded down to blend with the superstructure (see above), is certainly innovative. Note, too, the overall sweep of the superstructure and the openness of the design, providing plenty of alfresco areas on the main deck (see below). Cold-molded construction and the use of renewable materials inside, as well as woods from sustainably managed forests, reflect both eco-friendliness and originality.
But renewable energies are the key components of Callender’s design brief. In fact, he strove to meet RINA’s Green Star Plus certification. Introduced last fall, the notation is given solely to new-construction vessels making a significant investment in design solutions, onboard equipment, and operational procedures that far lower emissions and fuel consumption when compared with regulatory requirements.
For example, Soliloquy’s superstructure was designed to house three automated and pivoting rigid-wing solarsails. Using Solar Sail’s technology, the wings can move independently to optimize use of the wind and/or the sun. The superstructure additionally features a photovoltaic surface, revealed when the wings are upright, to absorb even more sun energy. Thanks to the use of a hybrid power system, all of this solar energy gets stored in Soliloquy’s batteries, and Callender says that the yacht would be capable of running up to 8 knots on solar energy alone after just 12 hours in the sun. That sun energy additionally powers all onboard electrical systems; no need for gensets, which emit sound, vibration, and of course gases.
If you’ll be attending this month’s superyacht conference, pay close attention to what Callender has to say. No doubt he’ll be in a position someday soon to make an even bigger impact on this business.