OceanCo is building a 106-meter (348-foot) yacht with solar power capabilities for launching in 2015. The design is from Nuvolari Lenard. A steel hull will be used along with a beam of at least 15 meters. The length of the vessel, when completed, will be greater than the playing area of an American football field.
The huge vessel will employ a rigid sail system called a Dyna Rig to catch wind and propel itself when under way. The Dyna Rig is operated electronically, so no manual labor is required by deck hands and there are no ropes to become entangled or manage.
The owner of OceanCo, Mohammed Al Barwani, said: “We are very proud of the project; it’s not only the largest project but a very environmental project. The project is called Solar and it would rely heavily, or chiefly, on power from solar energy.”
The Dyna Rig concept was first developed in Germany in the 1960s, as an alternative to conventional propulsion systems which relied on expensive fossil fuels. The use of square sails was actually borrowed from old wooden ships that were powered only by wind. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, these types of ships were some of the most important forms of transportation. Some of these vessels in the 19th century used both square rigging and steam, so there were hybrid propulsion systems even then.
Next-generation cargo ships may employ rigid square sail systems to reduce their reliance on bunker fuel by up to 30%. If this technology adoption comes to pass, it will be significant because bunker fuel use produces colossal amounts of unhealthy air pollution.
Among pleasure craft, there is already a very large yacht employing a Dyna Rig called the Maltese Falcon. This is a significant development because it may be the signal of an overall trend to incorporate this kind of technology into similar vessels as well to cut down on fuel consumption.
Boating of all kinds — both for commerce and pleasure — continues to wreak environmental havoc. The air pollution problem was touched upon briefly, but there are also fuel spills, sewage dumping, and the dumping of grey water. This type of discharge contains toxic chemicals that don’t break down and can cause much damage.
If the wealthiest yacht owners can cut back on their excesses and green their vessels, it might help set an example for others.