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Solarwave 64: The Fossil-Free Future of Long-Range Cruising?

Is this the new look of long-distance cruising? The new Solarwave 64 catamaran, with 42 solar panels on the hardtop, claims it can have virtually unlimited range at about 6 knots under solar power alone. Hybrid versions, powered by twin 220-hp Volvo diesels, can reach speeds of 20 knots.

A Swiss company, Solarwave makes a 54-, 64- and 74-foot version of its new cat. They’re all designed for long-range cruising under solar power. They’re built in Turkey, by NEDSHIP, which has launched 350 yachts since it was funded in 1985, and all can be heavily customized. The newest version, the 64, has a composite carbon hull for strength and light weight; the cat design has the advantages of minimum wetted surface and a larger hardtop area for more solar panels. The company says that in sunny areas, such as Florida or the Bahamas, the boat can run on solar power alone for five days. If the sun doesn’t shine for several days, a “range-extender” kicks in to charge the batteries.

The 64 comes with two possible interiors. One has four cabins (two per hull) with en suite heads, all with separate showers. The other has the owner’s stateroom occupying the entire starboard hull, with its own large master head and shower. The two guest cabins, with en suite heads and showers, share the port hull. In both versions, there’s a large garage for water toys.

For solar power, the hardtop panels generate 15kW that stores in a series of 100kW batteries that weigh a total of 1,300 pounds; they connect to two electric motors. In the hybrid power version, the boat can hold twin diesels up to 300 hp each.

The carbon footprint of the Solarwave 64 is close to nil; emissions are close to zero. Operating costs are very low, and the solar panels are supposed to be maintenance free.

Specs.: LOA: 64’0”; Beam: 32’2”; Draft: 3’6”; Disp.: 39,683 lbs. Price: About $2.5 million.






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