Updated on July 10th, 2023
Domus is a new sailing trimaran concept that designers Rob Doyle Design and Van Geest Design are positioned as the first carbon-neutral superyacht. This project, like all others similar to it, is constantly praised in thematic magazines and in the design community. However, these concepts cannot escape criticism from the rest of the yachting industry, sailors and ordinary observers.
It must be admitted that despite the commendable (and, we hope, not ostentatious) desire to solve environmental problems, the criticism is partly justified. It may come as a surprise, but carbon-neutral superyachts have been around for a long time. Any sailing vessel, even more than 24 meters, can be equipped with an electric motor and a bunch of solar panels, which a number of marine electrical companies and sailors themselves have been successfully doing for many years. Even without hydrogen fuel cells.
Before electricity was used at all by people, absolutely all boats on the planet were practically carbon neutral. And let’s be honest, only an all-wood yacht with natural fiber sails is zero-emissions, both in construction and operation. It is absolutely incorrect to call all other boats made of artificial materials with a ton of batteries in the hold and sails made of oil environmentally friendly.
Reasonable people understand that if you want to help save the planet from environmental disaster, then don’t build or buy superyachts or other boats at all. Of course, except for those made by traditional methods with a hand saw and an axe. Therefore, loud advertising about the latest zero-emission concepts rightly seems hypocritical to them.
But this is not the only criticism. For example, the aforementioned Domus has a trimaran hull. This is a large and heavy boat, so this choice is not entirely clear. The trimaran is basically not very seaworthy hull and needs a very strong but flexible design, unless it is a car ferry.
Catamarans behave much more confidently in bad weather. Or there are other proven solutions that are still much more seaworthy and no less economical, for example, Trimonoran. But, obviously, in the case of Domus, we are dealing with the desire to make the yacht not only economical, but also as habitable as possible. Well, one can hope that Domus, given a bad forecast, will simply be able to outrun the storm, thanks to the speed that trimarans can boast of.
Then we immediately find criticism about the appearance of the yacht. As you know, multihools in general are extremely rarely beautiful. They are created mainly not to please the eye, but for maximum efficiency and economy. Concepts are usually no exception. In general, you understand.
From some angles, Domus looks a lot like a CD box. Here, some people will have to go to Wikipedia to remember what it is.
In defense of the trimaran Domus and other similar concepts
In fairness, it should be noted that after all, Domus has more fans than critics. The appeal of futuristic design is difficult to interpret only in terms of mathematical harmony and geometry. In addition, many elements of modern yachts perform a dual function, such as the horizontal surfaces of the cockpit canopy or saloon roof, the entire area of which can be used to collect solar energy. And the larger this area, the better. Electric catamarans seem to be made for this.
People with capital will not suddenly stop buying superyachts. Even taking into account the apocalyptic forecasts of scientists, the production of luxury yachts continues to grow. The only way out is the maximum desire to reduce harmful emissions. Moreover, not only during operation, but also during the construction and disposal of old boats. It doesn’t matter how bad modern design might be if marine life is rapidly disappearing.