A yacht made of window frames and number plates - a new cat for next generation

Vaan Yachts - takes on the circular economy. Photo by www.vaanyachts.nl

Vaan Yachts - takes on the circular economy. Photo by www.vaanyachts.nl

We have written earlier on how the transition to a more circular economy, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, mimics in many ways how nature itself has functioned for billions of years. In the natural world, life and death is part of a cycle where even a dead mouse has value.

Better design can make boats more durable and easier to repair. Smarter design can make refits or remanufacturing easier. It can help recyclers to disassemble boats in order to recover valuable materials and components. Overall, it can help to save precious resources.

The Vaan R4. Photo by www.vaanyachts.nl

The Vaan R4. Photo by www.vaanyachts.nl

Hull made of window frames and number plates

This luxury catamaran is made of circular materials, including recycled aluminium, cork, and plant- based alternatives for leather.

The design of the catamaran was based on circular principles. Because it is mostly made of recyclable materials, the boat, in turn, is almost completely recyclable itself. The hull, for example, is for more than 50% made of recycled aluminium such as old window panes, traffic signs, and number plates. Some parts of the cat even contain more than 75% reused materials. The recycled aluminium will be applied in yacht building for the first time in an exclusive partnership with Norwegian Hydro.

Pleasure cruising has to become more sustainable fast because your pleasure should never be at the cost of others”, says Igor Kluin, founder of Vaan. “And there is no reason why it should. By looking at materials and the design in a different and innovative way, you can even make a boat circular. It’s just a choice to do so.”

Made for sailors

During the design process for the R4, the sailor was the focal point. The helm position at the back gives the helmsman more of a feeling that he is sailing than on traditional catamarans, where you are often situated on the roof. Thanks to the large, open transom, you feel closely connected to the water that rages underneath. It gives the same spectacular sensation as sailing on a monohull but then without the heeling, an important reason for other family members not to come along.

The sailing hotel suite

Natural materials are used for the interior, such as lyocell (an alternative for silk), a plant-based alternative for leather made of pineapple leaves, cork, linen, and certified wood. This makes the R4 not just more sustainable, it also creates a warm, cosy atmosphere as if you are staying in a luxury hotel suite.

Vaan Yachts

Nienke van ’t Klooster, co-owner and interior designer at Vaan: “What strikes me is that all boats seem to look the same on the inside. We let ourselves be inspired by hotel designs and innovative materials, creating a more exclusive look and atmosphere”.

Furthermore, they say for the upholstery they use natural yarns and fabrics and a combination of recycled fabrics and bio fabrics. All fabrics are very soft and comfortable to the skin. As it turns out, the ‘fair’ material is usually also the most refined material.

Partnership with Norwegian Hydro

For the use of their recycled types of aluminium, Vaan entered into an exclusive agreement with the fully integrated aluminium company Hydro. Hydro is a market leader in the area of low-carbon aluminium and both companies collaborate to ensure the optimal use of this material in the yacht building industry.


“One of the biggest industry challenges today is that many of the products designed and produced are too difficult or expensive to take apart and recycle when they are no longer in use. We are proud to work with a visionary company like Vaan to address these challenges, and to contribute to the first recyclable yacht, which is built with our 75 percent recycled aluminium,” says Marijn Rietveld, Director Offshore and Marine in Hydro.

The new yacht addresses one of the biggest challenges of modern production: How to make sustainable products. In the leisure boat industry, few boats are recycled when they are no longer in use. Every year, 78,000 boats are scrapped and burned in in Europe, causing large CO2 emissions. Less than 3 percent are being dismantled.

Future Proof

“The yacht industry is quite a traditional industry where sustainability is not a top priority, which is why we wanted to make a luxury yacht with no negative impact to the environment. Developing a truly circular solution requires collaboration along the entire value chain. Hydro’s expertise has been invaluable in making this a truly circular product with recycled aluminium,” says Igor Kluin, founder and CEO of Vaan.

The Vaan R4 yacht is available for pre-order from February 2019.