Alastair Callender on superyacht Soliloquy and 'green' yacht design

By B. Roberts

British Designer, Alastair Callender, recently received the highly coveted Condé Nast Innovation & Design Award for his 58m superyacht concept Soliloquy. We spoke to Alastair to find out what the driving influence was behind designing the green machine.

The 'super-green' Soliloquy has received attention from the global media for its ambitious rigid-wing sail design. The 58m eco-friendly cruiser uses zero emissions systems of propulsion, combining solar, wind and hybrid marine power, with state-of-the-art technology from Solar Sailor Ltd.

What inspired the design of Soliloquy?
Initially the inspiration came from the Masdar City just down the road from Abu Dhabi. It’s a super-green city with zero emissions and can be completely self sustainable. This project also has zero emissions; has minimal noise and low levels of vibration. I wanted to do all I could to minimise the carbon footprint of this yacht. The aim was to show that eco-luxury no longer has to be viewed as an oxymoron. The answer to this paradox is Soliloquy.

Do you believe this green model will inspire future eco-friendly and revolutionary designs?
I very much hope so. Sustainability is something very close to my heart; I’m passionate about the planet and about superyachts so the two together resulted in Soliloquy. We are seeing more and more yachts getting greener, and being encouraged to do so by clients, so people can have that option to show the world that they're doing what they can to be green and eco-friendly. Soliloquy's radical, fully automated, rigid-wing rig design will be far more superior than cloth sails.

So, do you think the Green movement is more of a social thing or one of genuine care?
I think it’s a combination of both. The PR gains are enormous and that has a huge influence on decisions. However, I very much hope that the future owner would personally care about the environment and take it upon themselves that the waterways stay green and clean for the next generation, and become a pioneer in supporting the Green-Agenda.

What’s behind the name Soliloquy?
A Soliloquy is a term used in a Shakespearean play, when the character's inner most thoughts and deepest desires are disclosed to the audience. So in the same way this unique superyacht is saying to the world that she is doing all she can to be green, eco-friendly and sustainable, but at the same time is safe in the knowledge that there is ultimate luxury unrivalled by any other. Also, the world ‘Sol’ means Sun in Latin. The power of the sun is a primary form of Soliloquy's propulsion.

Do you have any fresh concepts on the horizon?
Plenty more are on the drawing board. Obviously I can’t say much, but we’re working for a client in Europe who’s interested in a new green yacht concept, and we are actively looking for an owner to take this Soliloquy concept into reality.

So you’re very much following the same eco-friendly patterns with your designs?
Yes. I’ll always try and design with my green hat on whenever possible. I think the amount of interest in the global media has been tremendous to spread the message about the future of sustainable luxury yachting.

Alastair Callender's Soliloquy has received certain criticisms as to the design's functionality on the water. However, Callender has also received acclaim for his bold, zero emissions superyacht concept.

By B. Roberts