A surge in demand for new charter yachts in the wake of last year’s Hurricane Irma has inspired a new-look South African charter catamaran from Voyage Yachts.

The Voyage 575e, in development for the past two years, is a collaboration between Voyage Yachts and designer Phil Southwell. The launch is due towards the end of 2019. “The tooling for the Voyage 575e is well under way and it is expected that owners will replace their lost vessels (destroyed during Hurricane Irma) with a Voyage 575e,” Voyage production manager Kay Oldenburg told IBI.

The new boat was developed “to cater for the charter vessel industry with green energy in mind,” Oldenburg said. Design features include six guest suites and a helm station allowing single-handed operation.

Voyage is also set to launch the first ever e-version of its well-known 480 model later this year. Oldenburg said the Voyage 480 production line had seen a significant comeback from just two vessels launched in 2017 to five vessels so far in 2018, buoyed largely by demand for replacement yachts.

“With only two Voyage 480 building slots sold in 2017, production levels dropped which forced Voyage Yachts to reduce floor space and part with the moulds of the Voyage 520 and Voyage 600,” Oldenburg said. “No sooner had we cut up the two sets of moulds did Hurricane Irma strike the Caribbean Islands and destroyed thousands of homes and boats. 80% of Voyage Charter’s vessels were destroyed and the call for replacements came almost immediately,” he said.

“This opened an opportunity for Voyage Yachts to not only increase production of the Voyage 480, to replace destroyed vessels in the fleet, but also to build a new sailing vessel,” Oldenburg said.