Silver Wind – electric power never looked so fast

You could be forgiven for thinking that Silver Wind is pure arm candy, with her sleek profile and stunning paintwork.  The reality is that her unique propulsion system and pioneering technology make her one of the smartest yachts on the sea.

There’s no doubt that Silver Wind, one of the latest launches from International Shipyards Ancona (ISA) and the biggest in the yard’s Sport line, is a good-looking yacht. She has bold and dramatic exterior lines by Andrea Vallicelli with a sparkling silver paint job that’s carried all the way to the top of the radar mast. A serene interior by Nuvolari Lenard, meanwhile, makes beautiful use of natural colours, warm woods and textural details to balance outdoor spaces.

silver wind electric superyacht

The tech-savvy bridge of superyacht Silver Wind

But this 43.63 metre yacht’s real beauty lies beyond what you can see, in a unique propulsion system that has married waterjets to hybrid propulsion for the first time in a superyacht. This allows Silver Wind to plane at 32 knots or run in silence on electric power alone at eight knots.

It doesn’t stop there: the yacht’s generators are variable speed, still a new technology in yachts, while its bridge is a technophile’s playground, with a custom I-Bridge and augmented reality screens showing the view forward overlaid with navigation, AIS and sonar data. Silver Wind is, in short, one of the most advanced superyachts in the world.

The adoption of all this innovation is borne of her owners’ long experience in yachts. They have another ISA, a 51 metre full-displ
acement yacht currently travelling the world, so they commissioned Silver Windto run locally in the Mediterranean and do occasional charters. They were as firm with their layout choices as they were with the engine package, delivering a yacht that improves functionality and offers a strict guest-crew separation.

silver wind superyacht saloon

The saloon and dining room of Silver Wind

The main deck, comprising the saloon, dining area and the owners’ quarters forward, is the owners’ and guests’ domain. Instead of the typical position amidships, the dining table is close to the aft deck entrance, giving guests privacy and good views. The circular table offers flexible seating for six, eight or 12, thanks to extensions hidden in the walls when not in use.

A passageway from the lower-deck crew quarters and galley exits behind the saloon’s portside bar, affording the crew convenient access for service. And crew is just an iPad touch away. The crew-call function is part of a system by Videoworks that integrates all the AV, lifestyle and entertainment systems on board. Silver Wind is a showcase of Videoworks’ capabilities.

silver wind electric superyacht

The serenely quiet superyacht Silver Wind offers a spa suite

The entire yacht from the guest point of view is controlled by iPad, from the Apple TV, Kaleidescape, photo streaming and iTunes, to the lights, curtains and air-conditioning. It also encompasses AirPlay, which enables the owner and guests to listen to their favourite music playlists or watch their personal videos and photos wirelessly in any of the yacht’s areas.

All 11 iPad controls, AirPlay, internet and VoIP run on a unique wireless net with guaranteed coverage on all decks. Furthermore, Videoworks created different hierarchy profiles on that net for owner, guests and crew. For example, if the owner is working on board he will be connected to the fast VSAT while the crew is seamlessly shifted to the slower UMTS.

silver wind electric power superyacht

The master aboard ISA superyacht Silver Wind

The owners’ suite, on the main deck, offers a surprise. It is bi-level and connects the bedroom via a private staircase to a lower-deck wellness room. With its side-opening balcony, the room can be set up for massage, exercise or even as a hair salon. This leaves just three guest suites on the lower deck, but they lack for nothing. The VIP, forward, is exceptionally spacious, its bed surrounded with a stunning display of golden tiles. Two further very comfortable guest cabins are to port.

All cabins benefit from active noise-cancellation by Videoworks. Because the owner is sensitive to noise, four microphones – working similarly to noise-cancellation headsets – are in the master cabin: three on the perimeter of the ceiling above the bed and one on the headboard. The guest cabins have a simpler one-microphone button in the headboard. These create a “no-noise bubble” with a radius of up to 1.8 metres inside the cabins, in which the environmental noise can be reduced down by 8-10dBA. The system almost eliminates typical mechanical and the lower part of HVAC noise.

silver wind electric superyacht

Superyacht Silver Wind‘s simple but elegant staircase

Another stand-out feature in all suites is the mosaic artistry on display in each shower and on a feature wall opposite the master’s vanity. This is not production tile work: artists from Italian company Sicis chose and placed each tile. Vibrant displays of tiles in the showers, and azul macauba, rosa Portugal and cipollino Greco marbles give each guest suite its subtle colour theme.

As the yacht’s style needed to appeal to different tastes for charter, designer Valentina Zannier of Nuvolari Lenard created a calm and sophisticated interior using light fabrics and rich carpets. “I looked for a balance and harmony with high-quality materials and design details,” she says. Recurring themes, such as Lalique accents and Hermès silk wall panels in the early 1900s straw marquetry style of Jean-Michel Frank, add interest and texture. Canaletto walnut with touches of high-gloss ebony feature on the main deck while the lower deck uses rosewood prominently with accent walls of galuchat.

silver wind electric superyacht

The master bath aboard superyacht Silver Wind

The crew quarters are in a comfortable position amidships. Between them and the engine room is the tender garage, which snugly fits a 5.5 metre Castoldi RIB, launched through a portside opening. As the yacht’s toys – two jet skis – are each stowed in an aft compartment port and starboard, the outdoor decks are left free for guest use. The top deck is particularly resort-like with vast sunpads, a good-sized bar and a dining table in the shade of a hardtop, which blends seamlessly into the superstructure. The stern platform, dedicated to water access, includes an electric/hydraulic platform by Pressmair that extends from the transom and lowers into the sea.

Through the garage is access to the engine room, where Silver Wind’s hidden nature is revealed. The development of her propulsion actually pre-dates the yacht; Siemens and ISA have been working together since 2009 to engineer this unique waterjet and hybrid propulsion system. Silver Wind can run in conventional mode with two MTU diesels driving two Kamewa waterjets through reduction gearboxes. But also connected to the gearboxes are Siemens electric
motors that can power the waterjets with the main engines off.

silver wind electric power superyacht

The hybrid powered Silver Wind can run at up to 32 knots

Moreover, these electric motors also work as shaft generators during cruising so the diesel generators can be switched off. This is because the gearboxes are not your typical ones; ZF and Siemens worked together to develop them with a “power take in/take out” (PTI/PTO) function. When the MTUs are driving the waterjets, Silver Wind can reach speeds of up to 32 knots and cruises at 26 knots. The electric mode offers quiet cruising at eight knots; with just the diesel generators running, fuel consumption is only 91 litres per hour.

Reduced fuel consumption is not the only advantage. The flexible system offers great redundancy, which allows the mains and generators to run fewer hours per year, thus reducing maintenance.

The yacht’s variable-speed generators are another key innovation and have a significant impact on emissions and fuel consumption. A standard setup connects generators directly to the board network, which means they must run at constant speed. On Silver Wind, the Siemens power-management system acts as a “middleman” able to translate variable speed into a frequency usable by the board. It means the generators always run at optimal speed for the load, which reduces emissions and fuel consumption. When the yacht is anchored, a time when the power demand is lower, the generators are able to operate at reduced speed, meaning they generate less noise, which in turn increases overall comfort. “This is the real advantage and innovation,” confirms Saverio Mottana, head of marine and shipbuilding at Siemens.

Silver Wind’s other heart of operations, the bridge, shows yet another first: an integration of the custom I-Bridge by Team Italia with technology by navigation specialist Transas. Team Italia’s I-Bridge concept combines all navigation, engine data and controls, monitoring and security into one personalised, intuitive system. Everything works with touch technology, but in case of emergency the system also works in stand-alone mode. The really clever part is all this can be done without choosing the actual equipment until just a few months before launch, which means the bridge is not only up to date but exceptionally easy to upgrade over the years.

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An aerial view of Silver Wind‘s outdoor decks

Transas, meanwhile, has been used to create an “augmented reality”. Video from a camera (a regular one or a thermal option for night vision) mounted externally offers a wheelhouse display equivalent to looking through the bridge windows. The Transas system can then overlay on this display all the relevant data for a particular field of vision, including chart information, route and waypoints, radar data, AIS and forward-looking sonar data. “The navigator then has the big picture [all the time], and this means better decisions and fewer errors,” says Christopher Schröder, business development manager for Transas Mega Yacht Market.

The bridge looks good, too, with its sumptuous red-leather pilot chair surrounded by touchscreens a fingertip away. It encapsulates perfectly what Silver Wind is: a no-compromise beauty, both aesthetic and functional. To look at her is divine, but to use her… Well, that’s the really interesting part.

Superyacht Silver Winds specifications
LOA: 46.3m
Beam: 9.5m
Draught: 2.95m
Displacement: 400 tonnes (half-load)
Gross Tonnage: 498GT
Engines: 2 x Caterpillar 3512B DITA SWAC
Speed (Max/Cruise): 17.5 knots/15 knots
Range: 4,500nm @ 12 knots
Owner and guests: 12
Crew: 9
Tender: 1 x 5.5m Castoldi
Construction: Steel hull; aluminium superstructure
Classification: ABS
Naval architecture and exterior styling: Baglietto; Francesco Paszkowski Design
Interior design: Francesco Paszkowski Design; Margherita Casprini
Builder/year: Baglietto/2014

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