Skype founder and Swedish billionaire Niklas Zennstrom is known for naming his yachts ‘RAN’, however, the latest is a truly stand-out addition to the line, featuring the latest technological advances to create one of the greenest and most efficient electric propulsion systems to date.
Niklas and his wife Catherine began participating in regattas as the Ran Racing team 10 years ago and have won such prestigious events as the TP52 and Maxi72 World Championships, the Rolex Fastnet Race and the RORC Caribbean 600. RAN VII is the smallest sailing yacht to bear the name to date at only 12m/40ft, and will compete in upcoming regattas on the Fast40+ circuit.
The couple’s love of sailing has gone beyond the event itself to the design of their sailing yacht go from concept to design and tests on a physical product, differing from their market competitors in optimising the propulsion system for performance in such events.
Designed for cruising to regatta starting lines and manoeuvring away from marinas when precision is key so close to other luxury yachts, the power unit was created by Majorca-based Carkeek Design Partners, which was founded by Shaun Carkeek. For over two decades he has worked with industry professionals at such events as the Grand Prix and America’s Cup, designing superyachts for high-performance.
Shaun had already been working on an electric propulsion system for both luxury yachts and the Indian fishing boats when he was approached by the Zennstroms. Together they eliminated options and selected a lightweight lithium-ion battery for S/Y RAN VII which meets yacht safety regulations while ensuring speed and range.
While sailing yacht RAN VII is a state-of-the-art example of what modern technology is capable of, the aim of Carkeek Design Partners is for electric yachts to be able to recharge off-grid, without plugging into electric supplies at marinas.
“That’s the end goal,” Shaun commented. “It would be a massive step forward having electric rather than diesel generators.”
Carkeek Design Partners is also working on a concept for the largest composite yacht ever built – the 91m/300ft C300 sailing yacht, which won the Concept Award at the International Yacht & Aviation Awards 2017.