Major actors of the yachting industry gathered in the Yacht Club de Monaco

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Within the framework of the “La Belle Classe Superyachts”, a label initiated by the Yacht Club de Monaco, federating the owners of Superyachts (40 m +) who are committed to environment preservation, 60 high end professionals, all representing the Yachting industry (shipyards, brokers, architects, captains, maritime experts and harbour masters…), came to the Yacht Club de Monaco to gather around a dinner/debate organised in collaboration with Only Yachts in order to exchange freely their point of views on the subject of “the environmental link between Leisure Yachting and Harbours”.

How can we become more responsible towards the environmental issues? Such was the question of concern for Superyachts’ owners. Following an economy oriented Symposium “La Belle Classe Superyachts” dealing with the financial situation in this sector last January, we wished through this new initiative to assess the ecological implications in our activity”, these were the words of Bernard d’Alessandri, General Secretary of the YCM, on the opening of this premiere event in the Yachting industry.

A dinner/debate happening just a few days away from the release of the final report to the Operational Committee of the Yacht of the Future (editor’s note: Comité Opérationnel du Navire du Futur) to Jean-Louis Borloo, French Minister for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Sea, initiator of the “Grenelle de la Mer”. In his introduction speech, Christophe Avellan, Head of Projects of the Pôle Mer PACA presented the French initiative which primordial objective is to reduce by 50% the fossil energy consumption in the next ten years, a project that will call for a great financial input towards R&D of a total of 70 million Euros per year for ten years, aimed at the maritime field be it shipping, military, fishing, scientific or pleasure… “It is such a paradox to not link it to leisure yachting as it is such a great generator of employment and a sizeable source of income”. One must note that many European countries and notably Germany and Italy have been working for many years on “cleaner and cheaper ways to run yachts in the future”. A very responsible attitude which is generating an asset against the stronger competition from emerging countries.

Friction can often be found between the harbour authorities and the captains. Jean-François Tourret, Harbour Master of Saint-Tropez adds that “harbours can’t invest a great amount of money each year to satisfy the growing energy needs from the Superyachts. Demand is greater that the offer!”. Sarah Castanié, Head of the Leisure Harbour section in Nice, “yachts get greedier and we will not be able to satisfy their needs indefinitely”. Gianbattista Borea d’Olmo, SEPM Managing Director added that “sometimes architects forget the harbours limits. Furthermore, even if we did invest in new systems, quite often the problem will come from above, that is from the town general electric supply, if not from the whole local area”.

Andrew Schofield, President of the PYA added: “Captain of a 65 meter yacht, I have to use my own generators because of the lack of supply points at the moorings”. Words supported by Dominique Dubois, Captain of an explorer yacht: “captains aren’t happy with this situation. This is not how we like to consider yachting. A similar conclusion drawn by the owners who are more and more aware of the environmental issues”.

The naval architect Espen Oeino confirms that “the yachtsmen are actively worrying about this issue as they live on their yachts, we cannot reduce comfort onboard, nor can we refrain human nature from wanting to go faster. This is why we need to find clever solutions and probably produce our own electricity”.

Jacques Conzales, GEPY President and Captain of a 58m yacht added that “we must avoid division as we are all responsible actors. It is essential for political representative to realise the impact of Leisure Yachting, an industry employing hundreds of people and which has always been sensitive to the environmental issues at stakes”.

Waste waters treatment, full cells onboard, hydrogen production, hybrids engines, solar panels, energy storage, lithium batteries, Azipod system, oversized kites (40m kyte klipper), generator of the new generations… So many technical solutions to minimise consumption were mentioned during this dinner, most of them being trialled on shipyards, engineers and designers. “This will take time as we are still in an experimental phase and will be for the next ten years, we might have to consider a mixed solution, pending we also change our behaviours” concludes Christophe Fresson, Santandrea’s Captain.

We are feeling concerned, particularly here in the Monaco Principality where preservation of the environment is a major issue and where Leisure Yachting makes part of the international showcase. We are working on new technologies to produce a boat of the future and quite often ideas are brought by clients and owners” says Antoine Althaus of Fraser Yachts. Passionate owners do no hesitate to go as far as their convictions take them, such as the American Michael Healey who launched his own eco friendly shipyard to be able to build his dream boat. “I have been working for over seven years on this project but I still have a long way to go…”.

Discussion pursued by Cyril Le Sourd, CMN shipyard yacht product manager, “owners care more and more and are eager to respect regulations and shipyards must guide them through the process”. Certifications are being applied in harbours and shipyards such as the ISO 14001 norm which has just been awarded to Monaco Marine in France and to Sanlorenzo in Italy. “A true channel of communication among the yachtsmen”, according to Vincent Laroque, Monaco Marine Sales Manager.

In Leisue Yachting, the yacht stays 70% of the time moored in the harbour, 20% anchored, 5% to 10% and sea. Consequently, comfort remains a major issue. Nevertheless, it is through us that progress will happen. Formula 1 is a good example of how solutions are consequent to all the research and innovation…Unfortunately though, financing is key to progress” mentions François Fiat, YCM member and ambassador of the La Belle Classe Superyachts.

Bernard d’Alessandri concludes with: “an environmental thread truly exists, proof being that the quality of the content of our discussion and the will from all of us to involve ourselves into it and work together. This first symposium demonstrates all the wealth and strength of the dialogue. The mission of La Belle Classe Superyachts remains to federate all the actors of the yachting industry. A positive note and most importantly a stepping stone for new thoughts. It is down to us to pursue and consolidate the existing achievements…”.

Yacht Club de Monaco
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www.yacht-club-monaco.mc