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Q&A with Arksen

'A rising tide lifts all ships...'

This week we spoke with Jasper Smith, the Arksen founder about their mission and thoughts on the future.

We love your ethos and mission at Arksen to put purpose into the yachting industry, could you tell us a bit more about how Arksen started?

I spent a large part of my youth sailing and climbing around the world and throughout my life I have been lucky enough to head off on some incredible adventures. Adventure is a good definition of the attitude I have to almost everything in life, be it personal or professional and I believe that there is a strong desire in the human race to experience unusual, exciting and daring journeys.

Based on this inspiration, I set out to build a business that enables access to adventure and changes the way we experience and interact with the world. In terms of mission, at a fundamental level our motivation is to help raise awareness and understanding of the value and importance of the planet we live on.

Could you share some of the sustainability initiatives in which Arksen is founded upon?

As an entrepreneur with the means and influence to help drive change, I believe there is an obligation to explore what is possible and strive to be part of the solution, not the problem.

At Arksen we challenge ourselves to improve upon the status quo by looking at the traceability and transparency of supply chains, by seeking to design out waste, creating products with a longer life, reducing energy usage and choosing materials which are manufactured in a more sustainable manner that are recyclable at the end of life.

This process starts with the design of the vessel and by working closely with our Naval Architects, Humphrey Yacht Design, we have created an efficient hull form which not only enables the vessel to go further but also reduces the fuel consumption. Another aspect of the design was to create as many multi-use spaces as possible to increase the utilisation of the product to enable families to head off on great adventures and when not using the boat it could potentially be deployed for research.

Through the partnership with aluminium supplier Hydro we have access to marine-grade aluminium, made from a combination of process scrap and recycled aluminium. Then by carefully nesting and cutting our components from rolled aluminum at Snijtech we’re able to minimise waste, aiding our journey to create a fleet of more-sustainable exploration vessels.

Then when you look at the interior, created by Design Unlimited, the team have spent many hours sourcing materials which are both durable and more sustainable.

I believe there is an obligation to explore what is possible and strive to be part of the solution, not the problem.

You are aiming to inspire a new generation of yacht owners especially for projects which enable the world to understand how to protect the world’s oceans, how are you looking to achieve this?

We live in different times and our awareness of our impact is thankfully much greater. Many sailors and explorers feel a responsibility to do something for the good of the world, our environment and for the benefit of following generations. Indications are that yachting clients and the marine sector are moving in this direction also.

However, there can be an intention / action gap where people have every intent to take some form of action but are overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the issues and variety of options. Part of our focus is to develop a community that is encouraged to provide scientists, researchers, artists and filmmakers sea-time to help tell their stories and conduct vital research. There are thousands of scientists who are desperate to get access to vessels and not all vessels are suitable, available, or the costs are prohibitive.

The goal is to show that you can combine exploration with family and friends with conservation or research projects. As well as yachting clients, it is also about collectively raising awareness and shifting culture both inside and outside the marine industry.

As our first Arksen 85 is currently in build, we have started this process by partnering with the Yachts for Science platform which matches existing yachts and potential science projects to enable ocean research. This programme acts as a social philanthropy model, where owners of Arsken explorer vessels can donate sea-time to ocean research and conservation projects to increase utilisation of our vessels and hopefully empower a new wave of ocean discovery and citizen science.

Could you tell us more about your Explorer Vessel Project Ocean currently in build, as your first eco-conscious explorer vessel?

As the first Arksen 85, Project Ocean will have four guest cabins accommodating up to 12 ‘explorers’ including a full beam master cabin with multi-purpose library. She has a cruising speed of around 10 knots, a top speed of 14 knots and a maximum range of up to 7,000nm due to her efficient hull design and economical fuel consumption. Project Ocean has a full hybrid propulsion package and energy management system supplied by Praxis Automation Technology. Solar capacity onboard offers up to 7kW of zero-carbon electrical power. Onboard heating and ventilation systems have been designed to use thermal reclaim for improved efficiency.

The pandemic has initiated a lot of various responses in terms of sustainability in business and how the recovery will look, how has the pandemic impacted Arksen?

We have been lucky so far to not be dramatically impacted by the pandemic. Although various partners did shut for a short period in the early part of last year, since then the team have been working hard with suppliers to ensure the build of the first Arksen 85 is on track and will still meet the launch date in spring 2022. Like others, we have had to adjust to working remotely where we can whilst juggling family and other commitments.

From our perspective we feel that as a period of uncertainty the pandemic has also been a period of reflection about wider issues. Our impression is that consumers are increasingly looking for more transparency, sustainability and integrity from the brands they interact with. This ‘purpose driven’ trend existed before the pandemic but indications are that this has been accelerated. From a more practical perspective it would appear that the marine industry, finance and governments are also adapting to this shift so we are excited to be a part of it.

In terms of the future of the industry, Arksen really are paving the way towards a more sustainable one - there is a long way to go, for everyone, but what are Arksen thoughts about the future & its priorities in driving change?

As you say there is a long way to go. Rather than see this as a limiting factor, our approach is to strive for continuous improvement and work with our partners, suppliers and the wider marine sector. We see this journey as a collaborative effort, as the saying goes ‘a rising tide lifts all ships’.

There is no perfect today, but what we can do now is research and invest in suitable technologies, systems and processes that promote positive change. For example this can include hybrid and electric propulsion, hydrogen fuel cells, as well as more sustainable materials, products and approaches that are designed for reduced waste, longevity, reuse elsewhere and recyclability at end-of-life.

This all takes resources and it will take more than an Arksen fleet of exploration vessels to result in significant impact, but that does not mean we shouldn’t attempt to tackle these major issues and make progress. We can all have a part to play.

We see this journey as a collaborative effort, as the saying goes ‘a rising tide lifts all ships’.

Thanks to Arksen for their time and we are excited to see what the future holds. Be sure to check them out today!

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