The fundamentals of sailing have been unchanged for thousands of years. The wind is free and sailing is one of the cleanest and most ecologically sound pursuits available to mankind. Thus, sustainability is a concept which we believe can be applied to well-built boats – including older ones. There are few other consumer products that, with proper maintenance, can boast an equivalent lifespan expectation. The Baltic Family takes this even further. Lately, while listening carefully to our customers, we see a trend towards reducing local emissions as much as possible.
We are also making a concerted effort to reduce our build time environmental impact through minimising the use of fossil fuels, exploring organic materials such as flax in structures, and focusing on waste reduction and waste management. Sustainability for us is not only about People, Planet and Profits. It is mostly about Purpose. Our Purpose being building: Lighter, Stiffer, Faster, Greener yachts – Together with the Baltic Family.
DECKING ON TEST
In our on-going quest for more sustainable building materials, we are testing a range of treated timber which has the potential to be a substitute for teak, whose characteristics have always made it the first choice for laid decks. Materials which look, feel and behave like teak are on the increase, so we have selected four to see how they age, how easy they are to work and whether they maintain their looks. The picture shows teak on the far left and far right for reference. Between them, from left to right are Kebony, Lignia, Accoya and Accoya Pinus Radiata, all based on modified, treated sustainable timber.
Recent developments in material technology, combined with an extended period of testing and R&D efforts have enabled us to reach a major milestone in structures fabrication. Thus far in boats up to about 70ft, we can substitute naturally grown flax for carbon fibre in structural laminates by up to 50%.
LOW LOCAL EMISSIONS
A sophisticated combination of hybrid propulsion, hydrogeneration, advanced battery technology and ingenious engineering allow us, theoretically, to build a 100ft+ zero emissions yacht. While this might sound extreme, we believe it will be the norm in a few years' time. Low local emissions yachts have, in fact, been part of the Baltic programme for some time, as several of our recent launches, including Baltic 142 Canova, feature state of the art systems that enable them to run on electricity for prolonged periods of time. Sophisticated, silent, emissions free – the future of environmentally responsible superyachts is already here!
Crossing an ocean without consuming a drop of fossil fuel and in greater comfort, is possible today thanks to hydrogeneration. A great advantage of using an electric motor is that it can work as a generator by harnessing energy from the ‘free-wheeling’, controllable pitch propeller when the yacht is sailing.
Baltic 142 Canova was the first yacht built by us to have the capability of hydrogeneration and the results have exceeded our expectations.
A GREENER YARD
All the electricity that we use in our production facilities is locally produced, sourced from nearby windfarms or hydropower. We have replaced fossil fuels for heating the production facilities, and moved to organic, pellet-fueled heating. We are also working on reducing energy consumption throughout our operation to reduce our environmental impact even further. Since 2017, we have been tracking production-related waste. We have managed to reduce unsorted waste to zero, and also reduced the waste produced per labour hour by more than 10%. Most of our production tooling is made from organic and recyclable materials.
TOGETHER AS A FITTER, GREENER FAMILY
We take pride in our exceptionally skilled and motivated staff; the key members of the Baltic Family. We have an environmentally-geared 'mileage race' – where all commutes to and from work by bicycle are logged. This is then converted to CO2 equivalents saved. To help promote this initiative, there is a friendly competition with other companies in the region. In addition to being good for the environment, it helps our staff stay physically fit as well. To further embrace and celebrate our sustainability theme year, we have an ongoing employee engagement initiative, where we encourage our staff to submit suggestions and measures by which we could further improve our sustainable practices.