In these times I found myself often thinking that is it even allowed to design a new boat aiming to produce a new item. Answer is that it depends, but one thing is certain – the mass production yacht industry needs to change course along with other sectors. Fewer boats and they should be designed and built with a circular economy in mind.
My opinion is that in today’s world it’s not sustainable to produce huge amounts of plastic boats which will just spend their time standing in harbours. Too many of them have just a purpose to bring the joy of ownership.
But is there a sense to own the boat you are sailing, or is it important? An interesting question. If you sail two weeks in summer during the vacation, maybe not. It’s much cheaper and easier to rent the boat. And what’s the most important, more boats in shared use – lower carbon footprint to sailed miles.
Of course there isn’t anything new in sailboat rental. But I mean also something more than renting a boat for a vacation.
How about dreamed longer voyages? Could there be a service to rent a sailboat for a longer period as well, like one year with a suitable cost? Many sailors take a loan to purchase and equip the boat and sell it after having sailed e.g. from Europe to the Caribbean and back. It would be easier to rent a yacht and maybe keep the existing boat back home, if that’s not suitable for longer voyages. Financial risk might also be lower that way.
If the boat is seen as a tool to make memories, not a pride of ownership, the world would need fewer boats.
There is not anything wrong with owning a boat if it’s really used. I have thought the same about summer houses and apartments. Too many of them are used a few weeks a year and the rest of the time just stand empty, nowadays also the basic heating on here in Northern Europe. What a waste of resources. Also these rarely used boats are often wintering in heated halls. Huge carbon footprint to sailed miles!
What comes to our personal carbon footprint, how many of the new boat’s owners even really think about it. I don’t want to underestimate people, but there isn’t yet a reason to be too optimistic about that.
An old boat, which is already manufactured, is always the most sustainable solution but we’ll also need new boats, which will be the next old boats meeting the requirements of the circular economy.
I don’t believe in absolutism but widespread moderation. For example if somebody really passionate about sailing wants a new yacht, maybe he or she can live without owning a sports car or motorcycle too or that summer house already mentioned. Maybe these other things can be hired when needed, not owned. The same other way round with the boat if that’s not such a high priority in life.
I’m also thinking of a new approach to the desired prototype of our 40 ft design. Maybe it would be built for shared use instead. That would be a huge financial challenge because of the long payback time of the new boat, but we are investigating the options. Starting up close, maybe there might be sailors wanting to experience our beautiful Finnish archipelago during off-season times. Or maybe they have extended voyages in mind but lack the budget for the purposeful boat.
I hope that some of the readers think the same! If you want to share your thoughts, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.