Design and Technology
From Concept to Construction: 43m Sunreef eco-yacht
How a six-year journey ended with the world’s most eco-friendly superyacht in build
Due for delivery at the 2025 Monaco Yacht Show, the 43m SUNREEF eco-yacht, is a catamaran that makes use of ultramodern technology to produce the most autonomous, emission-free luxury cruising yacht available on the market. A remarkable story that started six years ago at a Client meeting in London ended with the signing of a contract to build this eco-yacht at the 2022 Monaco Yacht Show.
We met with our very own Tim Quinlan (the broker behind this incredible story) to find out more about how he and the Ocean Independence Team made it all happen.
One has to be very thankful for meeting a Client like this. One of the joys of the whole journey with him so far has been his specific ideas and requirements to lead the charge in eco-yachting.
From first meeting to contract signing: a Six-year Journey
Back in 2017, a long-standing Ocean Independence charter Client expressed an interest in making a step into the world of superyacht ownership to their Ocean Independence Charter Broker (Rebecca Pattinson). The brief was specifically for a large catamaran with the romance of sailing, and the space of a motor yacht for the best of both worlds.
Rebecca decided to set up a meeting in London, and because of his extensive industry and sailing experience, she invited Tim Quinlan along to help discuss exactly what the Client wanted. The Client and Tim got on like a house on fire and it was decided a trip to the Palma Yacht Show to take a look at some yachts was a good next step.
“While we showed the Client around a number of sailing and motor yachts, it became clear he was very passionate about the environment and eager to be a trailblazer in the eco-yachting space. So, building an eco-sailing catamaran with volume comparable to a motor yacht seemed to be the perfect solution.”
Rebecca therefore went about getting the Client a charter on HEMISPHERE (the world’s largest sailing-cat) to help him get a feel for life on board a yacht of a similar size, and layout to what he may decide to build. Tim promptly got to work finding the right shipyard that would be up to the task of building an eco-yacht to the standard required.
“It became obvious pretty quickly that, at the time, it was a significant challenge to build what we wanted within the budget. I kept in touch with the Client for a long time via email, occasional face to face meetings and social media to stay in tune with what was going on with the eco yacht world, and eventually, technology seemed to catch up with our plans.”
With photovoltaics, battery packs, and electric motors now developing rapidly, Tim arranged for a number of designers to pitch and a number of shipyards to quote, all of which were still eye wateringly expensive. However, not wanting to give up, and with a moment of clarity, Tim’s extensive industry knowledge and previous experience listing one of their large catamarans for sale led him to SUNREEF.
“We went to SUNREEF with the proposal and the Client. From the outset it was positive as the budget was in line with what they could offer, and as our discussions developed, we realised they had also been looking to move into eco-yachting. This synergy between SUNREEF’S industry-leading experience building large superyacht catamarans, and the Client’s vision for his yacht, meant the choice was made for us.”
The 43m SUNREEF eco-yacht is the first of its kind and entirely customisable, so the next steps involved fitting the Client’s specific requirements into the yacht’s design. This is usually a time-consuming process to get it right, and requires the broker and shipyard to push the Client to make these decisions. In this case however, the Client was very motivated and involved and knew exactly what he wanted.
“One has to be very thankful for meeting a Client like this. One of the joys of the whole journey with him so far has been his specific ideas and requirements to lead the charge in eco-yachting.”
Spacious staterooms and Owner’s suite, luxurious in every aspect, charter and party friendly, and of course emission-free, the 43m multihull platform offered everything the Client wanted in a beautifully contemporary package.
With what seemed like most of the hard work done, in 2019 the project unfortunately stalled. The subsequent global state of affairs meant the price began to rise, and it wasn’t clear if the build would go ahead for at least six months. A huge financial gap to bridge meant getting the contract together and signed was certainly a challenge for Tim, but fortunately the Client remained enthusiastic about getting the yacht built.
Miraculously, what had been a six-year project suddenly came together within a few weeks. Our highly experienced in-house Technical Projects Team were brought in to finalise the details of the specification and build plan, while incredible lawyers who worked day and night produced a contract in an astonishingly short amount of time. The combination of this and Tim’s steadfast approach to getting the project over the line resulted in the contract being signed at the 2022 Monaco Yacht Show.
“The main takeaway for me here is to just keep pushing forward so long as it is clear the Client is on board, and you have a realisable goal. Of course, you have to be realistic and transparent with the Client throughout the project to ensure you can offer them what they want for the best price.”
Part of this is undoubtedly knowing the right time to bring our Technical Projects Team into negotiations. I find that if this is done too late, the detailed cost figures can be overwhelming for the Client. Getting the timing correct is crucial to closing the deal and this project is a great example of that. A unique Client who was extremely hands-on meant bringing technical experts in a little later seemed the right thing to do, and ultimately, we have got the world’s most eco-friendly yacht into construction.
While the journey of this project has taken longer than most, I’m really proud to have been a part of it and only hope it paves the way for sustainable yachting to come to the forefront of the industry.”
This incredible project over the past six years is a testament to the value of patience and persistence on an individual broker level, and also highlights the importance of a strong Team to help match a Client to the right yacht. Tim has shown us exactly why, here at Ocean Independence, we are so proud of our Team. We are excited to follow the build of the 43m SUNREEF over the next three years, and will continue to deliver updates along the way.
If you are as captivated by the ever-evolving world of eco-yachting as we are and want to explore some exciting eco-yachting opportunities, please click here to contact us.