Solar-powered Silent 55 debuts at Cannes Yachting Festival

Austrian yard Silent Yachts has premiered 16.7-metre (55-foot) solar-powered catamaran Silent 55 at the Cannes Yachting Festival. She is the first and only oceangoing solar-electric production catamaran in the world.

Silent 55 uses silent electric propulsion for unlimited range with no noise or fumes and minimal vibration – she is completely self-sufficient and largely maintenance-free.

Available in several power configurations to suit a variety of cruising applications, all of the, adhere to Silent Yachts’ philosophy of relying mainly on solar power for propulsion and on-board power needs.

The Silent 55 on display at Cannes is an E-Power version with 2 x 135kW motors and can reach up to 14 knots. The model can be equipped as a Cruiser version, with a pair of 30 kW motors or a Hybrid Power version with 2 x 220hp diesel engines and two 14 kW electric motors. A Sailor version can be equipped with all the previously mentioned drivetrain configurations and is rigged with a mast and sails to provide additional propulsion in fair winds.

With 30 high-efficiency solar panels rated for approximately 10 kilowatt-peak, the Silent 55 uses maximum power point tracking (MPPT) solar charge regulators and lithium batteries, which provide capacity for all-night cruising, while a 15-kVA inverter provides power for all household appliances.

The operational costs of the vessels are substantially lower compared to power yachts using more traditional propulsion systems because the systems require hardly any maintenance and produce no fumes or noise.

Michael Köhler, CEO of Silent Yachts, said, “What this represents to the yachtsman, among other features, is the ability to cruise for many hours at normal speed and throughout the entire day and evening at reduced speed. Silent Yachts sets the standard for an entirely new dynamic in yachting: No fuel. No maintenance. Pure solar-powered luxury.”

Silent 55 is available in five different layouts ranging from three to six staterooms. A full-width central owner’s stateroom is the centrepiece in three of the layouts, with guest rooms located in port and starboard hulls. The interior layout is centred on a shared on-board space, a huge 40m² combination of saloon, helm and galley, with enough space for the crew to gather.

Silent 55 is built using vacuum-bagged resin infusion to create a lightweight glass-sandwich composite construction that has sound - and temperature - insulating qualities. The hull is reinforced with carbon fibre at stress points, and uses vinylester resin to prevent osmotic blistering.

The Silent 55 hull shape was designed using extensive tank testing for optimal efficiency. The moulds were then created using CNC milling for true replication of the refined, enhanced shape in the tooling. The Silent 55 has a shape both above and below the waterline that is designed to slip through the wind and waves with minimal resistance. 

Designed with sealed deck sections and collision compartments for safety, Silent 55 uses watertight bulkheads and integrated interior furniture to create a torsion-resistant hull structure.
The electrical system can allow such features as a powered aft swim platform, a 1,500-watt electric windlass, and other features yachtsmen have come to expect on world-class ocean-going cruising yachts.

As the Silent 55 is designed to range everywhere as a true ocean-going cruising yacht that is self-sufficient, she is equipped to keep her crew happy and comfortable for virtually any voyage.
It starts with the benefits of the propulsion system. The Silent 55 can cruise efficiently for up to 100 miles a day for weeks. At the same time, the arrangement of the components enables the system to power all on-board systems without the need of fuel to power a generator. Because of her revolutionary design, the Silent 55 travels just with the sound of the wind, and the water streaming past the hull, with no smoke, noise, or vibration of engines.

Elsewhere, Swiss company SolarImpact Yacht AG announced last month that it plans to debut the world’s first ocean-going solar superyacht in the near future. It has been in the research phase for five years but is now ready to be unveiled to the world.

For more information, visit Silent Yachts. Follow Yachting Pages on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation.