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iYacht unveils Hu'chu: a 55ft performance catamaran, designed for circularity

by iYacht GmbH 9 Jul 12:50 UTC
Hu'chu 55ft performance catamaran © iYacht GmbH

Hu'chu 55 is a 55-ft sailing catamaran, designed and engineered to meet the specific needs of actor, producer, and environmental entrepreneur Daniel Roesner.

Among the 200 projects managed by iYacht GmbH over the past two decades, the Hu'chu 55 is without a doubt one of the most sustainable and compelling challenges undertaken so far. iYacht's CEO, Udo A. Hafner stated, 'We have designed and engineered a dozen multihulls in recent years, but the Hu'chu 55 represents a significant leap forward in terms of sustainability and circularity. Daniel had a very ambitious vision, and we guided him in turning it into a feasible project"

The brief was to create a sustainable catamaran designed with circularity in mind: a robust multihull on which the owner can live adventure, produce films, and conduct ocean research. Hu'chu 55's owner, Daniel Roesner, renowned as an actor, film producer, and environmental entrepreneur, is above all an ocean lover. He expressed, "I am not an engineer or scientist, but someone who truly fell in love with the water and the planet he lives on. The design and engineering office iYacht acted as a filter for my imagination. While some of my ideas were challenged technically, for most of them iYacht confirmed the feasibility and even enabled me to go one step further'

The team at iYacht's design offices in Hamburg and Kiel incorporated Daniel's wishes and concepts, giving birth to the Hu'chu 55.

Circularity and ocean friendliness

To minimize the environmental footprint, the Hu'chu 55 extensively incorporates recycled and recyclable materials. Roesner has produced an aluminum specially developed for the Hu'chu 55 in cooperation with a major aluminum manufacturer which consists of over 90 % aluminum scrap and not a single kilogram of primary metal. This significant integration of scrap, sourced from discarded license plates, road signs, cosmetic cans, automotive and construction scraps, as well as shredded scrap from recycling and sorting plants, substantially reduces the CO2 footprint of the material to less than 2 kg CO2/kg of aluminum sheet, a mere one-eighth of the market average footprint.

Additionally, the boat incorporates natural fibers, reclaimed wood, and recycled cork. These materials were chosen by Daniel for their environmental contributions and circularity: utilizing reclaimed and recycled products helps close the loop, reduces waste generation, and provides these materials with a second life. The bare metal exterior lends the boat a rugged aesthetic, fitting for an explorer catamaran, while the interior is complemented with various shades of brown and black.

The rig and sail system are designed for easy handling from both the helm position and the aft cockpit. Three forestays with a self-tacking staysail, an overlapping Genoa, and a flying code or gennaker sail offer versatility to adapt to different wind conditions. Optimized daggerboards will improve upwind performance.

To make it easier to handle the powerful mainsail, the mast was positioned further aft. This design decision consequently increased the area of the foresail.

Two electric motors provide additional propulsion when necessary, operating silently and vibration-free. Ample battery capacity (more than 100 kWh) ensures autonomy and can be recharged by solar panels and hydrogeneration: the motion of the boat passively spins the propellers of the electric motor, and the electricity generated in this way, through electromagnetic induction, recharges the on-board batteries.

The photovoltaic panels will not only generate electricity but also reduce consumption: the water heating system connected to the panels helps keep the panel cool and maximize the efficiency. Renewable sources will be utilized for growing vegetables onboard, for the water treatment system and for all energy consumption, such as the film editing room where the owner will work.

Environmental choices such as avoiding the installation of a high-energy consumption air conditioning system, a requirement and a strong sustainability statement made by Daniel, led the design team to opt for insulated glass, optimizing shadow and sun sheltering, and carefully studying the ventilation systems.

The respect for the environment embodies the Hu'chu philosophy: a term coined by the initiator, who also named his natural fiber surfboard company and film production company with this name as a homage to two locations that shaped his fundamental attitude towards life.

"Hu" is the abbreviation for where he grew up, Hunsrueck in Germany, a land where the production of natural materials such as wood, flax, linen, and hemp has a long and historic tradition. "Chu" refers to a spot north of Malibu where he really got in touch with the ocean and discovered one of his passions: surfing. This area used to belong to the Chumash Indians, a native tribe that has a strong spiritual bond with their environment and especially the ocean, a connection that resonates in "Hu'chu". The word stands for the land and its natural materials in combination with the ocean. It's the respectful combination of past and future, of nature and technology, of senseful and holistic thinking and manufacturing that will make a true impact.

A boat designed for living on board

While many boats claim to be suitable for living on board, the Hu'chu was truly designed for this purpose. The owner is well aware of what it means to permanently live on board: "After living four years on a steel cutter to test whether life on the water was for me, I quickly realized that it was my thing and that all I really wanted to do was make films and live on the sea."

iYacht has taken this requirement into consideration when designing the layout, and included a dedicated film editing area, a dry storage for protecting electronics and special equipment, and two garages for diving and sports equipment. A significant amount of effort has been dedicated to developing details that enhance life aboard, making it simpler, better, and safer.

Once onboard, Roesner plans to produce documentaries about the oceans, and monitor the water quality.

"I have a large circle of friends consisting of divers, free divers, scientists and underwater filmmakers. I would like to collaborate with them to implement various projects on topics such as environmental protection, research and adventure. I also hope to work with various universities. The boat is going to be a platform for sustainable research, adventure, film and circular living.

There are a lot of inspirational projects in the world that have helped me put together some of their unconventional ideas. Among them are Low tech lab, Plastiki, and Energy Observer. Hopefully the Hu'chu 55 will be an inspiration to others as well".

A boatgarden, located amidship, provides self-sufficient cultivation of fresh food regardless of location, featuring vertical hydroponic gardens ideal for growing vegetables.

Design and engineering challenges

The key focus of the design phase was to achieve a balance between the fast sailing capabilities of a performance catamaran, and onboard comfort to enable the owner to live and work on board. The catamaran possesses the robustness of an explorer and is suitable for navigation in high and low latitude destinations, a crucial feature for serving as a platform for ocean research. In fact, the Hu'chu 55 will be used to help create a global map of water quality.

Rudder axles and the lower part of the hulls have been reinforced to withstand ice conditions and possible collisions with objects. The Hu'chu is also designed for beaching: rudders and propellers are protected by a pair of streamlined keels that can support the weight of the boat when beached.

iYacht's designed deck layout paid special attention to dynamic stability. Extensive analysis was performed to minimize pitching and ensure a dry deck. Ample wet deck clearance was crucial for smooth sailing against the wind. To accommodate filmmaking equipment, crew, and diving gear, additional buoyancy reserves were incorporated, effectively boosting the overall loading capacity of the vessel.

The Hamburg and Kiel based firm provided a very comprehensive set of services: from design and engineering to detailed drafting of the construction plan of the multihull and most of the onboard systems. For this project, a multidisciplinary team was assembled, consisting of yacht designers, industrial designers, naval architects, structural engineers, and project managers: more than 8 team members from iYacht were involved.

The firm goal was to enable Daniel's vision to be translated into reality, and to achieve this, they also introduced the owner to some key partners. Roesner said: "I picked iYacht for their long experience in catamarans, and Udo's team is delivering the kind of German engineering that I wished for. The project and my visions ask for a lot of patience and guts and so far everybody at iYacht has shown that commitment."

Udo A. Hafner remarked, "There is an increasing demand for sustainable solutions and boats designed with circularity in mind. It was truly gratifying to bring Daniel's vision to fruition".

Daniel is onboarding new partners, sponsors, and investors who share the same honest goals and desire to make a clear difference. The team is currently evaluating shipyards with aluminum expertise capable of turning this project into reality.

Hu'chu 55:

  • LOA: 17.61 m
  • Beam: 8.66 m
  • Draft: 0.64 m
  • Max Speed: 20 knots
  • Water tank: 700 l
  • Design category: A
  • Passenger: 10 pax
  • Design & Engineering: iYacht GmbH

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