No matter from which perspective you view the future of the superyacht market, most can agree that the future is sustainable. For many this has encouraged them to deep dive into the world of hybrid and, eventually, electric propulsion. But, for Philippe Briand ‘going green’ means returning to the principles that ignited the passions of the first true sailors.
“I have always expressed my faith in technology and efficiency, as they are an integral part of the yacht design process,” says Phillippe Briand, the London based designer, who has spent his life on a mission to conceive high-performance, visionary yachts since his childhood days sailing in La Rochelle. Today he unveils the latest sailing yacht concept produced by his eponymous London based studio, that is said to have been “created to outperform the other sailing yachts under 499 gross tonnes that are on the water today, as well as to provide a head-turning aesthetic and ultimate comfort on board.”
Sailing yacht figures have dwindled in the last ten years and sadly The Superyacht Agency recorded just nine deliveries in 2019 – the lowest figure since the turn of the millennium, but as Briand highlights, it’s time to focus on a ‘new motivator’ and reignite the passion of old within the next generation of superyacht owners.
His mission is to revive sailing yacht design and push the boundaries of technology and efficiency in superyachting, and it is projects such as the new 60m SY200 that that he hopes will do it. Sailing yacht figures have dwindled in the last ten years and sadly The Superyacht Agency recorded just nine deliveries in 2019 – the lowest figure since the turn of the millennium, but as Briand highlights, it’s time to focus on a ‘new motivator’ and reignite the passion of old within the next generation of superyacht owners.
“Previously we designed sailing yachts for the express purpose – or the hidden purpose – of winning regattas, and so passionate owners pushed our industry to develop more and more high-tech sailing yachts,” explains Briand, “But this competitiveness is no longer an appealing motivation for today’s younger generation of yacht owners. As a result, the market for such advanced sailing yachts is dramatically down.
“I believe we need to embrace ‘lateral thinking’ when it comes to the future of sailing yacht design,” he adds. “We want to work alongside owners to create the perfect renewable energy machine, using only wind, water and solar energy to run the yacht and provide an exceptional experience of peace on board and exploration of the sea.”
It is this idea which forms the basis of Briand’s new concept. Created with a traditional rig, the 490gt sloop is what Briand describes as an “authentic sailing yacht in all aspects.” Developed using a similar design approach to that used in smaller, high performance racing yachts, the new 60m is entirely wind propelled and positioned perfectly as a real leader within a new wave of ‘green’ superyachts.
“Instead of using competition between owners as a motivator, environmental sustainability will become the reason to push the boundaries of technology and efficiency. This is something we are very passionate about,” adds Briand, who is also on the board of The Water Revolution Foundation and on a pursuit for authenticity. He believes that focusing efficiency will revive the passion for sailing performance, which is at the very heart of this new design.
With its foremast, towering 83.5 metres above the waterline, the SY200’s upwind sail area is 2,000sqm, while its downwind sail area is more than 3,000sqm. Featuring carbon fibre masts the new 60m yacht will reach speeds of 20 knots in optimum conditions, while simultaneously harnessing power through its underwater turbines to charge the batteries on board.
Briand explains that if 50 per cent of the energy is captured by the turbines, while underway at a speed of 15 knots, it would provide power equivalent to that of a 500kW generator. In place of traditional setting of the engine room amidships below the main guest accommodations, the SY200’s arrangement features the engine room a third of the way back from the bow resulting in noise reduction in guest areas. This new arrangement also means that there is more volume freed up amidships for the four large guest cabins and with more weight placed forwards, the keel and consequently the rig can be moved further aft for greater efficiency.
Briand's mission for efficiency is in line with a vision to revive the sailing market and inspire the next generation of superyacht owners to consider the true value of the sailing yacht lifestyle, and it’s with projects such as the SY200 that he plans to do it.
Safe to say that Briand is going against the grain here but focusing on the fundamental principles of sailing. His mission for efficiency is in line with a vision to revive the sailing market and inspire the next generation of superyacht owners to consider the true value of the sailing yacht lifestyle, and it’s with projects such as the SY200 that he plans to do it.
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Image: Guillaume Plisson
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