Focusing on eco-sustainable sailboats

Published on May 7th, 2020

While a sailboat, powered naturally through the water by the wind, may position the recreation as an environmentally clean activity, the composition of the equipment is far from clean. As efforts are being made to determine how to recycle traditionally built boats, an Italian startup company is looking at how to construct boats so its end of life is not a burden.

Sustainability and innovation are at the heart of Northern Light Composites (nlcomp) project as it focusses on the research and development of natural fibers and recycled materials for the construction of pleasure yachts.

The first project for nlcomp is the construction of an eco-sustainable dinghy called “ecoPrimus”. The small ‘optimist-like’ boat, designed in 2016 by Hungarian designer David Bereczki for sailing schools and the first racing steps of young sailors, offers nlcomp team a great platform to work with: the design meets their requirements, the moulds are ready-made and immediately available.

Their new dinghy proudly stands on the shoulders of its gigantically successful ancestor, the Optimist – while providing some modern new features and a new generation recycling concept. The 2.42 meters long boat is 100% built with natural fibers, has a recycled core and a new type resin that allows the boat to be fully recycled. The concept is giving life to a brand-new circular economy in the nautical sector.

The technology behind the project aims to solve one of its biggest problems – the abandoned fiberglass boats at the end of their lives lying around on construction sites, in ports or in the countryside. Thanks to natural fibers and eco-sustainable resins, the startup therefore aims to revolutionize the nautical pleasure sector with technological innovations, reuse of raw materials and reduction of waste.

Given the emergency health situation Italy is experiencing, the team is waiting for the first dinghy tests but is already working on their next prototype, a full natural fiber sportboat designed by noted naval architect, Matteo Polli.

“Our goal is to bring new innovative and eco-sustainable solutions to pleasure boating,” says Piernicola Paoletti, CFO of the project. “We have put together a young, committed and very competent team that is putting all-in in this fundamental start-up phase.”

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