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History

Solar-pioneers Heike und Michael Köhler have travelled the oceans on conventional motorboats and sailboats for 40 years. Already during the early 2000s, they came to the conclusion that there had to be a better way to supply energy to the propulsion system and the onboard appliances of yachts. After years of dedicated research, this led to the birth of the Solarwave 46 in 2009 – their first prototype of a solar powered catamaran. 

Our Origins

The Solarwave 46 was the first ocean-going yacht which exclusively used solar energy, not only for actual propulsion, but also to provide energy to all household appliances on board. This included everything ranging from cooktops, stoves and the freezer to the air conditioning, washing-machine and water-maker.

In 2010, a rigorous five-year sea trial was initiated in which Michael & Heike crossed the entire continent of Europe by river, sailed the dangerous Black Sea, the stormy Aegean as well as the vast Mediterranean Sea. Throughout the journey, the Solarwave 46 not only accommodated them with convenient amenities such as on-board water production, cooling and heating, but also their eight guests with all the comfort they needed for a period of 120 weeks.

Furthermore, the 46 was able to power the engines every day in all kinds of weather: rain, cloudy sky, sun, snowfall, ice and even storms of Force 9. Crucially, during the four-year voyaging there were no maintenance or repair works required on the solar panels, the batteries or the electric drivetrain.

The generator, which had to be on board for safety reasons, was working for less than 50 hours during those 48 months – primarily to avoid it becoming corroded. By comparison, the electric motors operated for more than 2.000 hours for the same period of time with no maintenance needed.

After all those years of dedicated trials, it was clear beyond doubt that the solar electric drivetrain Michael & Heike had developed was the most effective, efficient and reliable choice for nautical propulsion and self-sufficient sailing, facilitating a fully independent on-board lifestyle.

In 2016 Silent Yachts was created. Since then the company has successfully developed several full production solar-electric yacht models. The 60, 80 and 120 Series form the cornerstones of the current Silent model range. In addition, Silent Tenders and Silent Speedboats were launched in 2022, further complementing the experience on board of our yachts. The tenders are designed to be mountable and chargeable onboard; while the speedboats provide incredible performance demonstrating that electric boating can be exhilarating as well.

Company Milestones

2004 – 09

Research

For five years Michael & Heike tested alternative power sources on their yachts. They measured the production and consumption of energy with a focus on self-sufficiency for propulsion and well as systems.

2009

Solarwave 46 launch

After 5 years and 15.000 nm of sailing their test catamaran, they started with the design and construction of Solarwave 46: the first prototype of a fully self-sufficient and purely solar-powered ocean-going catamaran.

2010 – 15

Sea trials

For 5 years the Köhlers crossed the entire European continent by river, sailed the Black Sea, the stormy Aegean, as well as the vast Mediterranean. A proof of concept that the reliable solar electric drivetrain was an ideal choice for a self-sufficient and emission free lifestyle on board.

2016

Silent 64 launch

As first serial-production solar yacht in the world, the Silent 64 marked the dawn of a new electric era of sustainable yachting.

2018

Silent 64 world record

In February, the 64 became the first solar serial-production bluewater catamaran to cross the Atlantic. From Cartagena, Spain, to Florida she effortlessly covered 5.500 nm. The crossing from Cap Verde to Barbados took only 16 days with an average speed of 6 knots.

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2018

Silent 55 launch

As the second serial-production solar powered yacht, the Silent 55 made her world debut at the 2018 Cannes Yachting Festival.

2020

Silent Resorts presentation

The sustainable zero carbon luxury holiday experience. Silent Resorts combines highly efficient non-impactful solar powered residences on some of the most beautiful islands with moorings for silent yachts allowing them serve as floating villas.

2021

Silent 60 launch

The evolution of the Silent 64, optimized with much more powerful engines, greater capacity batteries and higher solar energy output. Honoured with the 2021 German Design Awards, 2021 Gustave Trouvé Award, 2021 Best of Boats Award and winner of the 2022 Multihull of the Year Award.

2021

Office opening - Mallorca

Designed by Philippe Starck, Port Adriano in Mallorca is one of the finest luxury marinas in the world. Silent opened its new offices in the spring.

2021

Silent 120 Explorer presentation

As the boldest expression of solar powered yachting yet, the Silent 120 Explorer brings our signature noiseless experience the superyacht level. Designed by none other than Marco Casali.

2022

Silent Tender 400 launch

Further extending the signature electric experience, our innovative Silent Tender powered by a jet drive made its world debut at the annual Cannes Yachting Festival.

A new e-ra of yachting

Being the first series producer of solar electric yachts, we have always been dedicated towards leading the industry with the latest technology. In today´s world, technology is progressing constantly at a very high pace. A new e-ra is upon us, where small percentage gains in solar cell and battery technologies create ever improving performance. When these gains are combined with even more efficient systems, the result are future-proof yachts which rather than becoming outdated actually improve over time.

This is due the central ability that all Silent designs can be upgraded with ease when better architectures become available. Original used units can also be repurposed for domestic or commercial use. The integration of such circularities is of the key benefits our approach.

In addition to designing and making the world’s most efficient and effective solar boats, our brands longer term ambitions centre around the establishment of a Silent World and Community, where wider lifestyle infrastructure seamlessly integrates with the Silent yachting and living experience. The first important step in this agenda was the partnership with Silent Resorts in 2020: an initiative providing ultra-sustainable residences in carefully-designed, environmentally-sympathetic environments that complement the overarching Silent experience.

In widespread recognition of the company’s expertise and achievements, Silent has received many awards honouring the research, development and expertise invested into our innovative technologies.