Lithe yacht has diesel-kite hybrid power and toy-hauling support boat
Looking to go a little greener than average with their latest superyacht project, Red Yacht Design and Dykstra Naval Architects skip the diesel-electric drive for a more natural hybrid power source. The diesel engines still handle a bulk of the work, but a kite drive grabs hold of the wind to add efficiency. Still in the design phase, the impressive 210-foot (64-m) Ice Kite also includes a heap of glass for unmatched views, a touch-and-go helipad, a large beach area with waterfall pool, and a style-matched tender to carry toys of air, sea and subsea.
Kites don't have the long, illustrious nautical history that sails do, but they've been gaining some attention as a power source in recent years, especially as tastes turn toward greener watercraft. The Kitetender is a small vessel that makes use of kite power, while the SkySails system finds use on larger vessels like commercial ships and private yachts. SkySails equipment is even helping the "Race for Water" zero-emissions hybrid catamaran circumnavigate the world.
So, in looking for a greener form of propulsion, the Ice Kite's German entrepreneur owner who commissioned it in 2018, and its designers and architects, sought to explore this new trend in wind, designing a superyacht around the concept of a deployable kite that supplements a 2,000-hp dual-engine diesel drive. A low-resistance hull helps ensure efficient movement for the best overall performance, with top speed estimated around 17 knots (32 km/h).
If it's not fully clear from the "Ice" name and the hybrid propulsion, an environmental theme twists its way through the DNA of the aluminum-hull, carbon-superstructure Ice Kite. The brief for the exterior design was to create something that looks as natural in the water as a sea animal – or at least as organic as a monstrous 200-foot superyacht being pulled by a kite can look atop the otherwise uninterrupted blue serenity of sparkling ocean.
The designers start by stripping away the heavy, stacked forms that permeate modern yacht design, placing a large touch-and-go helipad at the fore and an open beach area at the aft. Between, extensive tinted glasswork fosters continuity in the clean flow of the design. The vessel takes on a thin, stretched form, helped along by staircases that flow subtly rather than dropping drastically.
The aft beach area centers around a waterfall-fed pool and includes a 12-person dining area, bar and numerous sun beds. A second, less conspicuous sundeck occupies a bulk of the flybridge deck, offering a hot tub, sun beds, full-size bar and BBQ area.
All the glass amidships not only adds to the clean simplicity of the Ice Kite's exterior design but erases the divide between inside and out. The lower lounge of the main saloon provides views from virtually every angle, and a few steps up, the "kite lounge" gives passengers an expansive spherical view of the kite at work. This upper lounge also converts into a dining area.
Down on the lower deck, the full-beam owner's cabin has his and her bathrooms, an office, lounge area, and direct access to the adjacent spa. The owner can choose whether to reserve spa use for him/herself or open it up to up to 10 passengers staying in the four guest cabins. Crew quarters are located at the forepart of the lower deck.
The Ice Kite's thin, efficiency-optimized hull isn't designed to carry toys or tenders, a task left to the vessel's partner-in-crime: the 85-foot (26-m) Ice Ghost, a support vessel for hauling a full array of Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gift-grade toys. On its deck, it can carry an Icon A5 amphibious airplane, U-Boat Worx submarine, 60-knot custom performance RIB and two jet skis. Below deck, the storage garage houses a maintenance area, dive equipment, SeaBobs and a Chilli Island electric lounge craft. A 6-ton marine crane does the heavy lifting.
After all those toys find their way into water, the Ice Ghost's main deck provides an auxiliary party area complete with galley, while the lower deck houses two twin cabins for four guests or crew members. Power comes from a 1,600-hp dual-engine system.
We weren't buying into the spiel about this massive superyacht being as eco-friendly as a kite-flying sea animal to begin with, but tack on an 85-foot toy-hauler satellite boat and our skepticism enjoys the backing of physical evidence. However, in a world that still celebrates massive superyachts of all styles, the Ice duo does set itself apart from the norm with its sleek looks and diesel-kite hybrid power.