Blackwell, who travelled from Perth to London for the premiere of the Top 100 film ‘Building Green Giants’, joined Shari Liu at The Dilly Hotel prior to the BAFTA screening in the evening.
With the theme of the day focusing on what the industry is doing to respond to the environmental crisis and urgent need to find sustainable solutions, the conversation soon turned towards Echo Yacht’s 84m superyacht, White Rabbit. Often an understated solution, multi-hull platforms have significant natural benefits on a vessel’s overall efficiency.
Launched in 2019, White Rabbit – which features in the Top100 film – is the world’s largest trimaran superyacht. Importantly, this hull configuration has considerable advantages when it comes to efficiency, requiring 40% less power to reach top speeds than an equivalent steel-hulled monohull.
“We see the trimaran as being a stabilised monohull,” explains Blackwell. “You have the larger centre hull and the smaller outer hulls, and they help with the stability and can be adjusted in volume or shape to optimise the roll motion and comfort. But also, it’s a very, very efficient hull. White Rabbit won several awards, which shows that if you take the best possible foundations, being the hull, and optimise that, and add a modern diesel-electric propulsion system, you can realise some very significant efficiency gains. And that’s using existing technology, that’s without adding any new batteries or hydrogen fuel cells or anything like that.”
For the Owner, this has added benefits in terms comfort and cost. The vast space offered by the trimaran platform, with White Rabbit boasting a 20-metre beam, means guests can enjoy a superyacht with considerably more volume than onboard a monohull of the same length. The designer, Sam Sorgiovanni in the case of White Rabbit, is then afforded an enormous canvas to create the interiors. Operationally, the more efficient platform also translates into major cost savings on fuel consumption.
For Echo Yachts, White Rabbit represents the shipyard’s commitment to building full custom superyachts with eco-solutions. However, Echo Yachts builds superyachts across all hull forms and materials, something which is exemplified in the yard’s diverse Design Collection.
“We’ve put a collection together on our website that has all the different hull-forms, aluminium, steel, composite vessels depending on what the client might like, and we’ve worked with different designers to achieve that.
“We’ve worked with Sorgiovanni Design in Australia, Bannenberg & Rowell here in London on one of the catamaran projects, and several others as well.”
No matter the bespoke project being taken on by Echo Yachts, each process and step along the way looks at how to implement innovative solutions. For Blackwell, this starts with the hull. “The main thing we do is focus on optimising the efficiency of the hull to begin with, because that’s the starting point for the success of the whole vessel. It’s no use in our opinion to go straight to using traditional hull designs, we as an industry need to be pushing the boundaries and moving forwards, not being constrained by what we think something should look like just because it’s always looked like that.
“Once we’ve optimised the hull, then we go into optimising all systems onboard the boat. I think an important point that many new buyers might not realise is that a yacht spends most of its time at anchor or at harbour. So, we see the biggest saving that can be had on fuel burn is by augmenting the systems that run the hotel loads, for example using batteries when the boat is at anchor. As the technologies mature, then you can introduce more.”
Chris Blackwell and Echo Yachts feature in both the Top 100 film and the Australia InDepth series. With a world-class facility at the Australian Marine Complex in Fremantle, Western Australia, and a wealth of in-house experts, Echo Yachts specialise in delivering bespoke one-off superyachts. Prospective owners can take advantage of immediate build slots available with the award-winning shipyard.