• Aquator Marine

Yachts Of The Future: Boat Trends In 2022 And Beyond

14th January 2022 (Article originally published by Written by: Lenny Rudow)

Gyroscopic Stabilization for Boats

Gyroscopic stabilization via control moment gyros (the same stabilization tech developed for Skylab and used on the International Space Station) has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.

Around two decades ago these began appearing on some yachts and early versions had the rather amazing ability to reduce rocking and rolling by about 35-percent.

That was nice, but the yachts still rocked and the boats still rolled. Modern versions of these gyros, however, can reduce rocking and rolling by a spectacular 90- to even 95-percent.

Above: The Seakeeper 5 gyro stabilizer is about the size of a genset, but does require a special installation job. Photo: Seakeeper.

Electric Powered Yachts

While electric cars are a reality, electric boats are still somewhat in their infancy despite recent leaps and bounds being made by some manufacturers. Some of the bigger names pushing the realms of possibility in this segment, include Greenline, Silent Yachts, Candela Boats, and newcomer Alva Yachts (a new builder making waves in electric-powered catamarans, powerboats, and sailing vessels).

As an early adopter, Greenline Yachts has a wide range of hybrid boats and yachts currently on the market, ranging from 33 to 68 feet. Based on a hybrid drive they call the “H-Drive,” now in its fifth generation with over a thousand units currently on the market, Greenlines can be equipped with both diesel and electric propulsion systems that share the drive unit.

Electric-only cruising is limited to displacement speeds and has a relatively limited range (Greenline says you can expect to go two to three hours at five knots on the standard battery system, with upgrades available), but the power source can be extended with solar panels and/or a generator. When the juice runs out, single-button switching to diesel not only changes up the power source but also begins recharging the batteries.

Above: The 2021 Greenline 40 hybrid diesel-electric luxury motor yacht with six roof-mounted solar panels. Photo by Greenline and Yacht Sales International in Fort Lauderdale, FL (the official North American dealer of Greenline Hybrid electric yachts). View Greenline 40 Yachts for sale currently on YachtWorld today.

Foiling the Predictions

Foiling craft that rises up out of the water to skim across its surface has been around for years, but never gained much acceptance in the recreational boating and yachting markets.

That’s begun to change, and in the past few years, multiple new high-end foiling craft has hit the market. One 32-footer, the Foiler, (see Meet the Foiler: Flying Across the Water on a Boat) incorporates a diesel-electric power system theoretically not unlike the Silent’s, with hybrid BMW engines and Enata electric torpedo drive units. At speeds of 17-knots the hull rises out of the water on carbon fiber foils, and runs to a top-end of 40 knots. And at a 20-knot cruise the boat enjoys a substantial 260 nautical mile range.

The Candela C-7 also rises up out of the water on a foil, but this boat runs purely on electricity and has zero emissions. The vacuum-infused carbon fiber hull is suspended above a foil that remains submerged rather than skimming across the surface, is computer-controlled, and utilizes ultrasonic sensors, gyros, accelerometers, and GPS to constantly adjust the foil up to 100 times per second to maintain optimal cruising efficiency. It gets its power from a 55KW electric motor powered by a 40kWh lithium-Ion NMC battery, boasts a 50 nautical mile range when run at 22 knots, and can hit a top-end of 30 knots.

Above: The 2021 Candela 7 Electric Hydrofoil Speedboat lifts above the water line 3-4 feet to deliver a stable, efficient ride with zero emissions. Photo: Green Yachts in Annapolis, MD. Browse Candela Boats for sale on YachtWorld right now.

Smart Boats: Solar Panels, Battery Banks And Power Management

Solar panels and integrated photovoltaic arrays are getting installed on more and more production boats from the factory, as solar power becomes an increasingly viable option for hybrid-electric vessels.

However, that isn’t the only use for this technology. Builders of cabin cruisers and trailerable sedan-style family boats like Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats are offering optional 160w-320w solar panels on models straight from the factory since they know customers want the added energy to help power a variety of onboard accessories and devices.

Alva, one of the builders we mentioned above who is pushing the envelope in the electric propulsion world has a stated mission to bring “yachting into a new era with a product offering of progressive, electrified solar catamarans and sailing yachts that are designed and engineered without compromise” – and that is consistent with what we are seeing emerge with a new breed of boats and yachts on the market in 2021, 2022 and beyond.

Above: A 2022 Alva Yachts Ocean Eco 90 (AY90) electric power catamaran currently for sale on YachtWorld. Photo by Alva Yachts via Iconovista in London, UK.

Boats of the Future

Will your next boat or yacht look like one of these futuristic machines? Will it remain rock-steady in heavy seas, and get its power via electricity?

Maybe, and maybe not. As with all new tech there are still some significant limitations to these forward-looking watercraft, mostly related to their initial cost and performance attributes like speed and/or range. But year by year, the offerings get better and better. And the boats of today are giving us a glimpse of what we may well see in the boats of tomorrow.