November 12th 2013. By Diane Byrne.

Safira: Eco-Friendly Megayacht

In recent years, there’s been an increase in expedition yachts meant for far-flung voyages and all types of pleasure yachts touted as being environmentally sensitive. None has risen to the level of embracing both passions the way that Safira, a stout and stylish 129-footer built by Newcastle Shipyards, does. The yacht was commissioned by an experienced couple with strong ideas on incorporating abundant “green” systems and soft goods. They also wanted a true explorer, one meant to cruise off the beaten path. In short, Safira shows that both requirements can be realized, with the support of equally eager partners.


The owners turned to Sparkman & Stephens for the design and engineering of Safira on the advice of their captain. “We also knew that the company had a stellar reputation as naval architects,” the husband says. “They approached the project with great enthusiasm.” Together, they ensured that Safira has advanced cruising features as well as green features.

Safira saloon dining area

Interior designer Michael Shewan, from Michael David & Associates, closely collaborated with the owners. He’s quite familiar with their tastes, having worked with them on several projects—and yes, eco-minded ones—over the past decade, including their South Carolina home. The wall coverings in the background are all silk, and use low-VOC adhesives.


The owners wanted a stately place to gather inside, for both themselves and charter guests. Every material you see helped Safira earn LEED Platinum status, the highest—and toughest to attain—level for this environmentally minded rating. Rugs and fabrics are organic, for example, and woods are either forest-certified or reclaimed, further finished with low- or no-VOC products.


Safira’s skylounge has a dramatically different atmosphere than that of the saloon. “The concept was to create different moods for different activities,” the husband says. “The sky lounge was designed as more of a party room, with great 270-degree views. This is the place for cocktails before less-formal alfresco dining on the deck outside.”


It’s customary for megayachts of Safira’s size to have main-deck master suites, but this one is actually below decks. The owners don’t plan to spend much time indoors, preferring to soak up the atmosphere of the areas Safira visits, which explains the alternate arrangement. Again, all woods are forest-certified or reclaimed.


Three doubles and two twins comprise the guest accommodations aboard Safira, all decorated in a classically appealing way. Forest-certified sapele wood adorns the bulkheads in each, too, and all are equipped with LEDs rather than incandescent lights. The LEDs are further connected to motion sensors, to reduce energy consumption even more.


Fun punches of color brighten the crew mess. Megayacht crews are often concerned about environmental impact, especially when it comes to their yacht’s garbage. Safira’s crew have some great help in this regard, including a seltzer-making water-filtration system and a glass crusher capable of smashing Magnum-sized bottles.


Lest you forget that Safira is still a proper yacht, consider the hot tub and surrounding sunpads on her sundeck. This will surely be the preferred place to relax when cruising in the Caribbean this winter. Her low-season charter rate is $119,000 per week, and her high-season rate is $140,000 per week.


Rather than have Safira’s exterior decks lined with teak, a wood that is not always sourced in ethical ways, the owners requested that Esthec’s decking material be used. Esthec produces synthetic soles that mimic the look of wood in remarkably realistic ways and works with a number of high-end clients as a result.


What would a world-cruising pleasure yacht be without a handful of watertoys? Safira has a terrific fleet, much of it stowed on her foredeck, including a 12.5 foot replica of a Herreshoff sailing dinghy and a 25-foot custom Hunt Harrier. Paddleboards and kayaks are also onboard, as are wakeboards, water skis, fishing gear, and snorkeling gear.

Diane Byrne
Diane M. Byrne is the founder and editor of the daily updated website Megayacht News. A longtime yachting writer, she also contributes to Yachts International, Boat Exclusive, and other magazines. She is additionally a member of the International Superyacht Society Board of Directors and Vice Chair of the U.S. Superyacht Association.