Waterfront: Elevated Experiences

Waterfront: Elevated Experiences

Tyde made a big splash with a futuristic foiling boat that looks more like a living room. Their new Open is a little more conventional.

You won’t find mention of “Tesla of the Sea” anywhere on the Tyde website. That’s because Tyde founder Christoph Ballin doesn’t like the reductionist, predictable, click bait-y branding that is attached to seemingly every new electric boat debut online. Actually, maybe dislike isn’t strong enough.

“I hate it,” he says. “From my perspective, nobody in the marine industry deserves that title. I’ve read it about 20 to 30 times, and each time it bugged me.” Ballin finds the branding to be disingenuous at best. At worst? “It’s pathetic marketing,” he adds with a disdainful laugh. Due to the fragmentation of the industry as evinced by the separation of propulsion and boat manufacturers “nobody is worth that comparison, and nobody will be worth that comparison.”

Ballin would know. With Tyde, he is continuing a vision he and his former business partner had in a Bavarian boathouse in the early aughts. As the erstwhile founder of Torqeedo, Ballin and his co-founder, Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Böbel, pioneered and eventually mass-produced electric engines nearly two decades before Mercury debuted a similar offering. Since then, Ballin has witnessed firsthand a shift in consumer behavior towards electric propulsion thanks to advancements in battery and hydrofoil technology that allow for further and further range at cruising speeds. The result is a growing acceptance that electric propulsion is here to stay. Indeed, as of this writing, Torqeedo has announced that Yamaha Marine had acquired the company through a stock purchase. What more proof do you need?

The Tyde facilities are located along the shores of Lake Starnberg, outside of Munich, right down the road from Ballin’s former Torqeedo headquarters. While they might share the same idyllic setting, that’s where most of the similarities end. The difference between Torqeedo and Tyde—aside from power output and focus—is in the approach. Torqeedo started small, creating low-powered outboards that could propel a tender. Back then, they were limited by battery output and a steep penetration curve, with early customers unsure of how this new technology would fare. Two decades later, Tyde is a triumphant, ontic realization of what electric propulsion can offer the luxury marketplace.

Debuting sometime later this year, the Open is Tyde’s second model in its lineup of futuristic-looking yachts outfitted with high-voltage BMW i3 batteries and a computer-managed hydrofoil system rooted in America’s Cup DNA. Ballin is candid in how the Icon, the company’s first commuter model, is perhaps not the easiest on the eyes. The reason for its strange nature is Tyde’s partnership with the BMW design team. Their focus was on creating a panoramic view in the interior first, and the exterior was retrofitted to work within the confines of the hull shape. From a marketing standpoint, the payoff was enormous; the Icon’s unusual look and feel propelled it to a viral phenomenon.

Next up, the 48-foot-long Open will be Tyde and BMW’s interpretation of the day yacht of tomorrow. That starts with a full-surface solar rooftop and a 32-inch touch screen with forward-looking sonar and AI-based collision avoidance. By comparison, the other amenities seem downright conventional, with a two-seater helm station, a sheltered galley, a double sunbed at the stern and a generous relaxation area on the foredeck—all easily accessible by a flush walkaround deck.

Of course, the Open’s range won’t come close to its internal combustion powered counterparts. With the current battery power of 240-kWh, the Open will get 50 nautical miles at cruising speed, around 20 knots, which becomes more and more respectable when you consider a full 600 horsepower has been taken out of the equation. “That to me is always the biggest joy,” says Ballin. “A boat of this class (typically) has between 900 and 1,400 horsepower, and we get along below 300. Nobody who leaves the Icon ever said ‘eh, she could have had 200 more horsepower’—nobody misses it. And that, for me, is kind of proof that we’ve achieved the target. We’ve taken out hundreds of horsepower and nobody complains.”

While Tyde is in no way the first to utilize hydrofoils to enhance the range of their battery capacity, the Open will be uniquely positioned as the largest foiling motoryacht on the planet. For now, at least, because Ballin teases there’s more to come. “There is a good amount of room above 48 feet where foiling still makes sense,” he says, adding, “whether from us or from another player, I believe there will be foiling models that are larger than 48 feet.”

Ballin believes the luxury segment will play a pivotal role in the decarbonization of the marine industry since other segments take their cues from high-end products, and consumer expectations are ingrained with a top-down mentality. Who needs comparisons to Tesla A rising tide—or in this case, Tyde—tends to lift all ships.

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

Source: https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/column/waterfront-elevated-experiences

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