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Black Pearl: paving the way to a sustainable future

Captain of 107m Black Pearl, Chris Gartner, reveals the yacht’s impact on the superyacht market since its delivery…

Delivered in 2018, the 107m Oceanco Black Pearl has been lauded as a trailblazing vessel, featuring forward-thinking technological systems with a focus on sustainability. In a conversation with, Captain Chris Gartner discusses this unique project’s impact on the market, which he prefers to refer to as an ‘auxiliary-powered sailing ship’ because of the stigma attached to sailing yachts in the superyacht industry.

While it may be true that such a stigma exists – deriving perhaps from a lack of interesting sailing yacht projects and a slowdown in new build orders – it would be difficult to reconcile Black Pearl with the same sector. In addition to the vessel’s sheer size, its array of innovative features and systems, which are already proving to be invaluable to on-board operations, set it apart from any other vessel on the water today. As well as power regeneration, cutting-edge power management, efficient hull insulation and waste-heat recovery, Black Pearl’s most notable feature is perhaps its three 70m DynaRig carbon masts.

Inspired by the Maltese Falcon, Black Pearl’s DynaRig concept was created in consultation with the Falcon’s original design team, but as an evolution rather than a replica. “We are version 10-plus of the DynaRig,” explains Captain Gartner. “Black Pearl’s rig is on another level due to the fact that it has been built with modifications that allow the mast to turn more efficiently, quickly and quietly, and because the systems have been sped up, the boat is much more manoeuvrable. We are also able to hinge down the top three metres of each rig to reduce our air draft, which allows to go under obstacles such as bridges.”

The yacht’s hybrid propulsion system and regeneration mode when under sail allows a significant reduction to its overall carbon footprint. “One of the coolest things about the boat is we can drag the controlled-pitch propellers through the water while sailing, which in turn generates power that goes into our battery storage system on board,” adds Captain Gartner. “We can then cover the house loads through wind power, thus allowing us to shut down all of our diesel-powered generators and engines and run fossil free.”

“One of the coolest things about the boat is we can drag the controlled-pitch propellers through the water while sailing, which in turn generates power that goes into our battery storage system on board...”

Because of the fuel savings that the regeneration system provides, as well as the DyanRig’s ease of use, the Black Pearl has done a lot of sailing since delivery – Captain Gartner estimates around 80 per cent of the time. In fact, on their last trip from Gibraltar to Amsterdam, the yacht sailed 100 per cent of the way from Cadiz to Amsterdam and we were able to regenerate when the conditions allowed.

Most of the technology on board Black Pearl stems from the owner’s commitment to green technology and moving the yachting industry forward. While no new technologies were developed, existing technologies have been taken from different industries and adapted to yachting, and this of course comes with certain challenges. “Anytime you have a brand-new system, you also have trial and error,” says Captain Gartner. “So, we have been working on the systems to try and perfect them and it just gets better and better. Between the DynaRig, propulsion and energy storage systems, it’s really mind blowing and everything is working so well that I know it is going to be the way forward for the industry.” 

Since Black Pearl’s delivery, Captain Gartner has perceived the market’s reaction to be one of mostly curiosity and captivation. “She really has delivered a statement to the world,” he reflects. “Due to her size, hull shape, rig, efficiency, power regeneration and all the other features that reduce our carbon footprint, the whole industry has been taken aback.” 

While Captain Gartner hopes that Black Pearl will inspire other owners to embrace sustainability and focus on the importance of efficiency in the future, he believes that the yacht’s influence is already evident in the industry. “People are seeing an example of a very large yacht being used in a very efficient way and that wind power can be a good and additional solution to reducing carbon footprint, along with all the other systems we have developed,” he concludes. “It is possible to make these boats efficient and we are leading the way in showing the industry how to do this. I am very excited to see other boats following suit.”

Image courtesy of Black Pearl.

OCEANCO 2017 2018 Delivered
106.80m 15.00m 4.00m 2864
Ken Freivokh DesignNuvolari - Lenard
Ken Freivokh DesignNuvolari - Lenard
Dykstra Naval ArchitectsBMT Nigel Gee LtdLateral Naval Architects

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Black Pearl: paving the way to a sustainable future


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