The Wally WHY: A $160 Million Solar Powered Self Propelled Island

Published online: Mar 11, 2010 News Jeanne Roberts
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Fortunately, Wally has a solution. Wally Yachts, the premier builder of luxury yachts for those who almost have it all, recently announced its guilt-free offering for those prepared to drop a mere $160 million.

It's called the "Wally WHY 58x38" - the latter a nod to the luxurious amount of space provided by its 38 meters in width and 58 meters in length. The guilt-free portion is represented by more than 9,687.5 square feet (900 meters) of solar panels, converting what would otherwise be sinfully luxurious to something whose profile, and footprint, is eminently "green", at least in environmental terms.

The project, which is still on its very expensive drawing board, represents a cooperative effort between Monaco-based yacht super-builder Wally and Paris-based fashion guru Hermes, best known for designer scarves but also a maker of fine jewelry, luggage and wallets. Hermes is the designer-of-record for the interior, which offers - on three levels - the requisite living space with beach, spa, dining room, music room, cinema, suites, lounge, library and owner's space.

The Wally WHY also has a very unique profile in the real world, looking more like a futuristic, floating houseboat, with its three open levels, low profile and its trapezoidal shape, than a toy for the rich and carefree.

Of course, at $160 million per, no Wally WHY yachts have yet been built. It's not like you can inventory the darn things. Not only are they large - 124.5 feet wide and 190 feet long - but the insurance is prohibitive. Unless you are a Saudi Arabian prince or Russian Mafia, of course.

On the ocean, the width of the beam (as compared to hull length) seems dangerous, though in fact Wally's engineers have compensated by a deep, raised (118-foot) aft deck which some are calling a bench and others a beach. Some pundits have compared it to a sewing machine treadle pad, but the principle is similar to a cantilever on land.

The Wally WHY also offers a diesel electric hybrid system and an 82-foot (25-meter) swimming pool. The solar panels could potentially save about 200 tons of diesel fuel a year, if the yacht was cruising 24/7 at 12 knots, the maximum cruising speed available.

Maximum speed is 14 knots, which is kind of slow until one considers the fact that this isn't really a yacht at all, but a floating and largely self-sustained floating island.

The yacht, true to its green aspect, also offers daylighting and energy-efficient LED lighting.

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