80 Sunreef Power ECO Yacht Review

80 Sunreef Power ECO Yacht Review

My family ganged up on me,” the owner of the Sunreef SÓL laughs, explaining why after nearly 10 years of chartering, he gave in to his wife, his grown kids, and his mother and considered building a yacht. The family’s boating experience dates back decades, owning everything from racing sailboats to an 88-foot Broward and cruising from New England to the Bahamas before they chose to charter instead. While he easily conceded to his family’s wishes, there was one thing which the owner wouldn’t compromise. “I’m not buying and building a diesel boat,” he told his family. “I’m not buying and running a boat that sucks and burns 50, 100, 200 gallons an hour.”

Being a climate-impact investor, he had good reason not to compromise—and his family had no issue with it. His wife is a fellow investor, plus they all support climate and sustainability-related philanthropic causes. His family had already done their homework too, sharing articles about electric yachts. After additional extensive homework and trips to visit shipyards, the owner and his wife were impressed by Sunreef Yachts’ electric projects, which are further fed by solar panels. The advanced new shipyard, its great technology, and Sunreef’s entrepreneurial ethos helped convince him to sign the dotted line for an 80 Sunreef Power Eco. Ultimately, in deciding to build SÓL, “We said we can be early adopters,” he says. “We wanted to show what’s possible, and what’s real.”

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“Possible” and “real” are key. While other builders offered electric yachts, they were only on paper. Still, though, the owner had a lot of questions for Nicholas Lapp, Sunreef’s CTO and co-founder. Lapp oversees all R&D, including the yard’s proprietary composite-integrated solar power system. The solar skin aboard the Sól covers 2,150 square feet of the hull, superstructure, and fixed bimini. “I literally spent two days in a conference room with Nicholas, grilling him, learning, looking at numbers, understanding the solar cells, the batteries, the electric engines, the generators,” the owner explains. While the 990 kWh battery system is the largest aboard any yacht up to 79 feet (by comparison, a long range Ford F150 Lightning has a 131kWh battery) and can power all amenities plus the electric engines, the small gensets are mostly backups, one running just an hour or two per week according to the owner.

Regardless, it’s a major difference from the family’s superyacht charters, and any superyacht operation for that matter, where gensets run 24/7 at the dock. In fact, with SÓL, shore power recharges the battery bank overnight. “If we’re sitting at the dock in Nantucket, the battery can charge while we’re doing nothing except running a little air con, and when the huge battery is full, we can make it all the way back to Rhode Island without firing up the generator,” he says. Sunreef indicates that the twin 360 kW electric engines allow covering 300 nautical miles at 10 knots—silently, too.

Even though SÓL isn’t a superyacht, her nearly 38-foot beam affords the space of one, and the owner says Sunreef was more like a superyacht builder in permitting abundant customization, including structural changes. Significantly, it relocated a stairway near the galley—a not-so-easy task—for more refrigeration and freezer capacity and added a flip-up table for the chef for extra workspace. Sunreef also relocated the hot tub to the foredeck from the flying bridge and extended the bimini to shade the aft deck.

Décor-wise, SÓL reflects the handiwork of designers the owner and his wife have used for their homes and restaurants. There isn’t a single animal product amid the beach-chic, indoor-outdoor atmosphere and the main deck is rarely kept enclosed since electric power means no fumes. The owner expects charter guests will do the same. (SÓL is available in the BVIs, complete with rotating chefs well-versed in both plant-based diets and traditional cuisine.)

While the catamaran configuration was “a byproduct of wanting a ‘green’ boat,” the owner says, he and his family say they are delighted with SÓL, and believe they’ll help broaden more minds about sustainable yachting. “Are there 10 clients out there in the world that would appreciate what we’ve created?” asks the owner. “I think so. Maybe it’s not half the market, but it may be just a little segment of it. At least we’ll be a story. We hope others will copy this,” he says.

80 Sunreef Power ECO Specifications:

LOA: 78’ 1”
Beam: 39’ 4”
Draft: 7’
Water: 422 gal.
Power: 2/360 kW electric
Cruising Speed: 7 knots
Price: $11 million

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This article originally appeared in the March 2024 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

Source: https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/boats/80-sunreef-power-eco-yacht-review

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