Boat Builder Award nominees to speak on METSTRADE Sustainability Panel
Construction and material Sustainability

Boat Builder Award nominees to speak on METSTRADE Sustainability Panel

Peter Franklin
Wednesday, 30 October 2019

‘How Green is Green in the Leisure Marine World?’ was the theme of a panel discussion which took place at the InnovationLab stage during last year’s show. A panel of well qualified technical experts discussed the current situation, peeked into the future, and answered several interesting questions from the audience, about how we compare with other industries on environmental sustainability issues. 

The diversity of subjects ranged from design for disassembly, and recyclable materials, through to the status of electric / hybrid propulsion systems, and developments on eco-friendly energy storage solutions. At METSTRADE 2019 we continue the theme asking, ‘how much greener are we a year on?’

Panel members with Green credentials

Along with the return of some of last year’s speakers, our panel is also joined by not one, but two, of this year’s METSTRADE / IBI Boat Builder Award nominees in the Sustainability category!   One of them, Amer Yachts from Italy, represented by the owner and daughter of the company founder Barbara Amerio, we already wrote about last month. The other BBA nominee is a Dutch based builder, Vaan Yachts, whose founder Igor Kluin will be joining the panel to explain how his vision for a fully sustainable sailing catamaran named the R4, is coming together, with the first hull under construction, and soon ready to hit the water.    

Vaan Yachts, the vision

Igor Kluin, like many Dutch people, started sailing almost as soon as he could walk. At first sailing with his parents, and later honing his skills in the Optimist class, going on to reach world championship level.  Today, he and his wife Nienke, an interior designer, are totally involved in the design and construction of the R4, and still love to get out on the water sailing with their four children. His believe in environmental sustainability runs through his previous business life, where he has founded Qurrent (renewable energy company), De Groene Zaak (green business lobby foundation) and DRD (ad agency.)

He has also been the winner of the Global Green Challenge and Holland Innovation Awards. Igor explains, “the original concept which came to my mind was based on the thought that many yachtsmen have during their life. That is, we really need four boats; one for cruising, one for sailing, one for sport, and another just for family fun. And we prefixed the boat model name with the letter R, to stand for well the documented Sustainability framework of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Recyclability at its core

Igor like many of us, has been appalled at the number of end-of-use boats that are not being disposed of responsibly. He points out that 80,000 boats reach end-of-life every year just in Europe, and that only around 2,000 are properly dismantled. The remaining 78,000 are burned in incinerators, causing massive CO2 emissions, or buried in landfill leaving problems for future generations. “The Vaan R4 concept sets out to change this scenario for the better”, says Igor. Starting out with a blank sheet for his design ideas, Igor had the principles of the Circular Economy firmly in mind, and made sure to form partnerships with suitable environmentally conscious raw material suppliers and collaborators.  

For example, more than 50% of the R4 catamaran hull is constructed from recycled aluminium such as old window panes, traffic signs, and number plates. Some parts of the cat even contain more than 75% reused materials. To ensure long term availability of materials, Vaan Yachts has entered into an exclusive agreement with the aluminium producer Hydro, a market leader providing low-carbon aluminium materials for ‘cradle to cradle’ life cycle outcomes.

Besides using recycled aluminium for the hull, Igor and his team have spent a lot of time researching and testing genuinely sustainable materials for other parts of the boat, such as a ‘teak-look’ FSC certified cork, with great insulation properties and weather resistance for the decking. And for the upholstery they have selected a combination of recycled and bio fabrics, made from waist pineapple leafs for instance. As it turns out, these ‘fair trade’ materials are also often the most beautiful to look at. The R4 is designed for optimal sailing performance and all-round comfort with several spacious layout options, as well as being fully sustainable with electric propulsion and optimised energy systems onboard.

Want to hear more?

All registered METSTRADE visitors are welcome at the panel discussion:  ‘How Much Greener Are We a Year On?’ - Wednesday 20th November, at 13.15 - I-nnovationLab stage, Hall 6.

Moderated by:
Patrick Hemp - Technical Manager, ICOMIA.  
Renaud Tourte – Director R & D and Innovation, Groupe Beneteau
Ken Wittamore - Managing Director, Triskel Marine, (Hybrid Power & Propulsion Systems.)
James Starkey - Project Engineer, Norco Composites.
Igor Kluin - Managing Director, Vaan Yachts.
Andrea Frabetti - CEO, Sunseeker Yachts.
Barbara Amerio – Owner, Amer Yachts-Gruppo Permare.
Florestan Fillon – Project coordinator, Sustainable Yachting Network. (Monaco)

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