The first stage of Water Revolution Foundation’s Yacht Environmental Transparency Index (YETI) has been unveiled to the superyacht industry at the recent Superyacht Forum and METSTRADE. It came with a call to action to all relevant superyacht industry actors to get involved. Against the backdrop of COP26 and an increasingly global drive to tackle environmental issues, YETI 1.0 marks the first step of a highly anticipated tool to compare yachts based on their environmental credentials when in operation. The tool will enable client and project teams to make more informed decisions for newbuild projects as well as for upgrading existing yachts, and as such will help drive our industry as a whole towards a cleaner future.
Together towards sustainability
As the foundation celebrated its third anniversary during The Superyacht Forum in Amsterdam, and while speaking to an audience of key industry stakeholders alongside METSTRADE, Feadship CEO and founding chairman Henk de Vries, initiator and vice-chair Dr Vienna Eleuteri and naval architect Giedo Loeff from Feadship De Voogt all emphasised how important the issue is becoming for the future of the superyacht industry. It is among the most impactful tools Water Revolution Foundation is currently developing for the whole industry to use, to help improve the industry as a whole.
How YETI started
The drive to create the index began in 2018, not long after the foundation was born as a not-for-profit organisation with the intent to drive sustainability across the superyacht industry through reducing its environmental impact and re-investing in ocean conservation. YETI stemmed from an approach Feadship De Voogt naval architect Bram Jongepier made to a group of international peers to develop a tool that enables the comparison of yachts and that can better showcase environmentally friendly designs.
After three years of research and intense collaboration across a broad scope of shipyards, naval architects and renowned research institutes, the initial tool is now ready for testing. The collaborators for the initial phase were Abeking & Rasmussen, Benetti, Damen Yachting, De Voogt Studio, Delft University of Technology, Dykstra Naval Architects, Feadship, Fincantieri Yachts, Heesen, Lateral Naval Architects, Lürssen, Marin, MB92, Oceanco, Royal Huisman, Safe Harbor Marinas, Sanlorenzo, TNO Innovation for Life, and Vitruvius Yachts.
YETI 1.0 focuses on the most impactful part of the lifecycle – the operational side of superyachts. “The initial tool calculates the efficiency and the emissions of superyachts, and by being able to calculate these one can also identify the actual environmental impact,” said Giedo Loeff, naval architect at Feadship De Voogt. “A lot of companies answered our requests (for collaboration) and it was a lot of fun to talk about the various subjects. It’s not something we should want to compete over – it’s about knowledge, and really understanding how to reduce the impact we’re creating.”
From the owners’ point of view, De Vries highlighted the change that Feadship has witnessed in the attitudes of yacht clients over the past five years, from where alternative fuels and power solutions were considered too risky by most clients to where sustainability is a key factor in the equation not only for their superyachts but also across their investments.
Dr Vienna Eleuteri, speaking from an industry point of view, added: “The real need coming out of COP26 in Glasgow is that it is the private sector that will make the difference and which will change the world in a very practical and efficient way. We are a really passionate group of people working for the same strategic goal.”
A key part of the first phase has been collating operational information and studying the equivalent of close to 400 combined years of data collected via AIS from more than 100 superyachts. Among other things, the data showed that yachts are typically only underway at speed for 10 per cent of their time, with 56 per cent spent in port and 34 per cent spent at anchor. It is this sort of insight against which it is crucial to benchmark the yachts when assessing the impact from their cruise and hotel operations systems.
YETI wants to be inclusive for the many different types of yachts that are built and therefore it is critical to have all those represented in the fleet review. It should be noted that none gets judged yet, as first the calculator needs to be tested for its robustness by a representative fleet. While YETI 1.0 is a major first step, it is just the first step. It is in this regard that the whole industry now needs to take part. The more data gathered, the more confident YETI can move into the phase of scores and ultimately the different categories, also called labels.
Critical data needed
The data needed for a YETI score consists of energy inputs (fuel, shore power), system power demand (speed-power curve, electric hotel power and heat), and system power (propulsion motors, electric generators, heaters) – all combined with an operating profile. The data collection sheet will be shared upon request with those that wish to contribute to this important development. A feedback report on the yacht(s) is provided and a unique number allocated to follow its score along the further fine tuning of the YETI tool.
Henk de Vries, as chairman of the foundation and a self-proclaimed “worried shipbuilder”, addressed the required survival strategy for the eight years that remain of this decade. “If we do nothing,” he offered, “and we just build the boats that we currently build, then we will be history. There is a solution, and it’s not complicated.”
“The YETI score is something that we want to extend because the more data that we have, the better we can raise individual yachts,” said Loeff. “This is what could be in the future. But there needs to be more data, and there needs to be more participation. Now we are calling for participation.”
It is time to test the YETI 1.0 calculator through an extensive fleet review. The more yachts entered in the index, the better the calculator logic applies. So this is a call for shipyards, yacht management companies, and captains to submit as many yachts as possible, as well as for engine manufacturers to share the data emissions sheets of the engines installed in current and future yachts in the fleet.
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