Meet the COO

Designer, builder and keen sailor of vessels – Ewan Hind has done it all. We caught up with Arksen’s Chief Operating Officer to discuss how he first got into the marine industry, sustainability and the need for respect towards our oceans, the impact of a pandemic as well as some of his envious past adventures. 

You’re a keen sailor. When did your love for the sea first arise?

Ewan Hind (EW): When I was young, the family moved to the west coast of Scotland and my parents ran a traditional sailing boat as a charter business. We sailed on the boat during the summers around the Hebrides, and we lived by the sea and spent our spare time messing around in dinghies. I was bitten by the bug early on!

The Scottish Hebrides where Ewan spent his childhood summers

With over 25 years of experience within the marine industry, you’ve been involved in the designing, building and sailing of vessels. How did you first get into the industry?

EW: I passed my Yachtmaster at 17 and spent every summer through my late teens sailing professionally, and volunteering with Sail Training organisations, before spending many years involved in sailing and sail training full time after graduation. I had dreams of being a yacht designer from my early teens and studied for a Masters degree in Naval Architecture at Southampton University, which was my route into designing and building boats. I’ve been lucky to be able to combine designing, building and time at sea on all sorts of boats during my career to date.

Marine conservation is at the heart of Arksen. Has the sustainability of the marine industry been something that has become more important to you over the years?

EW: Yes, absolutely. Having spent my formative years going to sea in a naturally sustainable way – on sailing boats, mostly wooden, and in beautiful, unspoilt places – leaving a light footprint was very natural. When my career took me into the large yacht world, I was shocked by some of the prevailing attitudes and lack of respect for the ocean environment. Over the last few years, there has certainly been a general shift in attitudes toward more sustainable operation, but there is certainly a long way to go. I hope that with Arksen, we can be part of leading that change.

Ewan Hind sailing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

How vital do you think it is for yacht companies to respect, understand their impact and protect the oceans. Do you think enough is being done in the industry?

EW: Positive change is certainly happening within the industry, but it is slow and more needs to happen. Much in the yachting sector revolves around wealthy owners – cash-rich, time-poor, with a focus on convenience and with habits ingrained over decades of consumption. Widespread, systemic change has to start where the money is, with a shift in attitudes from the people who pay the bills. There are many thoughtful owners investing in more sustainable yachts and operations, and the industry is responding with numerous innovations to facilitate this. But, at the moment, these innovations are grabbing headlines – a sign that they are not yet the norm. These innovations show what the direction of travel needs to be, and there is some momentum building. But the industry certainly needs to do more to guide owners in the right direction – to be more proactive rather than simply responsive – in order to accelerate change.

What are you most excited for, for the future of Arksen?

EW: I’m looking forward to helping owners plan incredible adventures in their Arksen vessels, facilitating research and conservation work aboard through Yachts for Science, and using our shared ownership programmes to make access to ocean adventures more achievable.

Ewan and his crew sailing in 2006

Many events have been put on hold this year due to COVID-19, including major boat shows such as Cannes Yachting Festival and Southampton International Boat Show. How do you think the yachting industry will fair with the disruption compared to other industries?

EW: It seems to be a mixed outlook for the marine industry. The uncertainty caused by the pandemic is certainly putting some plans on hold in the short term, but access to a boat provides a perfect opportunity for socially distanced fun and adventure and this is being recognised. The small boat sector, where stock is readily available to have and use now, is doing very well. In the longer term, I am hopeful that the changes in outlook and habits brought about by Covid-19, lockdown living, remote working and social distancing will encourage more people to buy and charter as a great way to have family time, undertake adventures in safety and comfort, and do so for longer periods, as remote working opportunities and faster connectivity at sea allow business’ to be conducted from anywhere.

Trends come and go, but where do you see the future of the marine industry heading? Are we all getting more adventurous?

EW: I believe so – being more adventurous and getting to less frequented places seems to be a long term trend in travel generally, not just the marine industry. Air travel is forecast to be depressed for another 2-3 years, making travel and exploration by boat the perfect way for people to get their adventure fix!

You’ve banked over 100,000 miles at sea over the years, which has been your best adventure to date?

EW: There are so many highlights in that time! The Clipper Round the World race was certainly one of these. Crossing the South Pacific from Panama to New Zealand via the Galapagos, Polynesia, Tonga and Fiji was another. But there is great adventure closer to home as well – trips to St Kilda, Norway and the Isles of Scilly also stand out as memorable.

Bryther, Isles of Scilly

Adventure can come at a cost, we find not everything always runs smoothly. What’s been one of your biggest challenges when on an expedition?

EW: When I set off on the Clipper Round the World race, my first priority was to bring everyone home safely. Fortunately, I managed to do this – the worst injury during the voyage was to myself! Crossing the North Pacific with my leg in a brace was a challenge as it very much limited my physical involvement on deck. However, my amazing crew stepped up, sailed brilliantly, and we won that leg.

You’ve ticked off many bucket list adventures including skippering in the gruelling biannual Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, what’s next for Ewan?

EW: I’m now married with two young sons, so over the next few years, I hope that my adventures will mostly be family affairs, as we introduce our boys to sailing, the oceans and adventurous travel.

A Simple Journey

Photo by Alex Glebov

“The sea represents a profound step change from the chaos and busyness of day-to-day life to understanding who you really are. I’ve learned that I’m probably not as complex as I thought I was. At its most basic, I think life is quite a simple journey.” – Jasper Smith

The Oceanographic Magazine sat down to speak with our founder Jasper Smith about his deep connection with this planet’s wild places, why the marine industry needs shaking up, and what roles sustainability and conservation will play in Arksen’s long-term plans.

Read the full article here>>

Discover more about Jasper’s past adventures here>>

Oceanographic Interview

A passion for minimalistic, human-powered expeditions has taken endurance athlete and ocean rower Olly Hicks to every continent and to every ocean. A world record-breaking adventurer, his brutal ocean crossings have taught him a little bit about solitude and survival. We sit down to find out a little more about the man behind the adventures.

Oceanographic Magazine

Read the full interview with Olly Hicks here>>>

Find out more about Olly Hicks here>>>

Adventure Indoors

Run out of ideas to keep the kids busy? Looking for a short break from the screen? Here are a collection of our favourite ideas the team have been trying out with their own families.

Colouring Challenge

Paint the sky red or the water purple, you can be as creative or accurate as you want to be. Give the Arksen 45 and 85 a new make over in your favourite colours.

Click here to download the A4 colouring in sheets.

Spot the Difference

Take a break and see if you can spot all eight differences in this image.

Useful Links

Here are some links to other assets our teams have found effective with keeping their families busy and engaged:

Free Audible Children’s books for all ages>>

Pretend to travel the world and visit museums online>>

National Geographic Kids Channel on YouTube>>

The Science Channel on YouTube>>

The Expedition Notebook>> brings all of the action from out in the field and on the water directly to your screen in this exciting and educational video series. Join Guy Harvey and his daughter Jessica as they travel the world to study and document the largest predators and most exotic wildlife on land and in the sea.

Epic Films for the Great Indoors>> from Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival.

Got more time to spare….?

More for the big kids, why not watch the latest episode in the Arksen Origins series here:

Have you already seen the Arksen film Return to the blue? Click here to watch it now.

Science & Philanthropy

Words by Jasper Smith, Arksen Founder – edited from the speech given at the Explorer Yachts Summit.

The ocean is by far the largest and least understood ecosystem on earth. Scientists believe that over 90% of all ocean species are yet to be discovered. Every second breath we take is generated by the ocean and it lies at the core of the earth’s stability, regulating our weather and absorbing carbon. We, as ocean explorers, have a duty to respect and protect it.

As James Hansen and Al Gore said almost 20 years ago, global warming is an inconvenient and terrible truth. The next 10 years are fundamental to the survival of life on earth as we know it today. Many say that we humans are hard-wired to self-destruct and perhaps we are, but if we don’t accept that premise, immediate and profound behavioural change is required; in the way that we build, operate and consume almost everything around us.

The unrelenting growth of CO2 emissions continues unabated. The rate of emissions is growing not decreasing – and that is happening despite the Paris Agreement and over $1 trillion of investment in carbon curbing initiatives. In the last 100 years, we have released more carbon into the atmosphere than in the previous 2,000 years.

If we carry on, business as usual, we are close to five degrees of warming by the end of the century. We may see over two meters of global sea level rising – the impact of which is hard to predict, but would result in the mass global migration of hundreds of millions of people and possible conflict and war as people struggle to relocate and find shelter and food.

The last five years have ranked as the five warmest for ocean heat. The ocean is absorbing heat 40% faster than previously thought. Between 30% and 60% of all coral reefs have died in the last 100 years. Coral bleaching has risen from 8% to 31% since the 80’s and a failure to achieve the Paris Agreement (2.5C to 3.1C of warming) will result in the near-total loss of coral reefs within 25 years. Not to mention that up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the marine ecosystem annually. This number is rising, not falling.

Time is running out. At the moment 92.6% of the world ocean is unprotected. 91% of all species unknown and 92% of the deep ocean remains unexplored. There is a massive shortage of funding and sea time for scientists to conduct research.

Philanthropy is perhaps the most powerful tool on the planet to help solve this issue.

Some of our greatest achievements have been delivered through philanthropy, and none more significant than the core science that sits behind the analysis of global warming, was funded and generated, initially at least, through scientific philanthropy 30 years ago.

Slowing the climate crisis requires immediate behavioural change but it also requires massive scientific investment and technical innovation. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 it has been estimated that it will cost $7 trillion. After government commitments, there is a $2.5 trillion funding gap.

The charitable sector raises about $410 billion per year and generates non-profit revenues of around $2 trillion. So, conceptually we have the funds, but only 3% of those funds are currently directed at environmental and climate science.

Philanthropy has been, and can be a powerful tool for change but, the ocean remains the least funded of all the Sustainable Development Goals, receiving less than 1% of philanthropic funding since 2009. Majority of which is coming from only 20 foundations.

My children were recently at the climate protests in London. They, and millions like them around the world, have done a better job at provoking change in the last 12 months than we have done in the last decade.

The level of change that we need can only be delivered by governments cooperating unilaterally and globally. But our children are doing a great job at stimulating the debate and communicating. They are a powerful catalyst for change. We should be universally proud of their achievements and rally behind their efforts.

One of the most positive impacts so far is that governments are engaging (the UK has recently declared that we are in a climate crisis and that its carbon target is ‘net zero’ greenhouse gases by 2050). But, let’s make no mistake there are some very significant challenges ahead – and this industry – (the marine industry) like all industries – but perhaps more so – needs to adopt profound behavioural change immediately.

As David Attenborough said, “What we did to save the whales, we must now do for all nature, and that is a communications challenge, as much as it is a scientific one.”

Looking out over the ocean it is impossible to ignore its connectedness; to land and to ourselves, to our wellbeing and that of the planet. As Richard Branson said, “There is no ocean B.” It is the foundation for all life on earth and how we use, understand and preserve the oceans over the next decade will determine the future of humanity over the next millennia or more.

Be part of the change

This is why we have set up the Arksen Foundation as a platform for research, conservation and creativity in support of:

Through our foundation we provide project funding, sea time on Arksen and associated vessels and media production, storytelling and marketing expertise to help research and science projects, education and exploration or sport with purpose. 

Our Foundation acts as the hub for our community, bonding owners and users, researchers and creatives through a common set of beliefs. We require all owners to sign up to at least 10% of their vessel’s sea time to be dedicated to the Arksen Foundation and the projects it supports.

Our vessels are not just about the hybrid systems, efficient hulls or solar capacity. Or about the lifecycle management of our yards and products or the new ownership model. It’s about creating a purpose to an owner’s experience through philanthropy and a contribution to science.

Our work is to change the existing paradigms of luxury travel, by facilitating more mindful explorations and ensuring collaboration between owners, scientists, ocean advocates and activists. It is changing the meaning of owning a boat from a self-serving endeavour to a powerful statement of intent to use these vessels to drive behavioural change.

As David Attenborough said “I’ve always believed that few people will protect the natural world, if they don’t first love and understand it.”

The good news. 

We are adventurers and explorers working with some of the most sophisticated people on the planet. We have time, and I hope, the motivation to drive the profound behavioural change required to win this battle.

There are wonderful signs of progress. A new report suggests that evolution may yet save our coral reefs, we can stem climate change and the global population is now awake and motivated. If we work together, we can raise philanthropic funding and provide a true research platform that will fundamentally improve our knowledge and empower better decision making.

Help us discover projects that will make a difference. Despite the challenges, there has never been a better time to act. We have 10 years.

Let me leave you with this wonderful quote from Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation.

“In the last century, philanthropy changed the world in ways many thought never possible. Our capacity to create transformative change has never been greater. We have more resources, more connections, more possibilities than ever before. And by leveraging the explosive capabilities of new technology, we have the power to ensure that diverse voices are included in solving the problems that humanity will face over the next 100 years. This is our opportunity, our obligation, our moment, and I have every confidence that together we will rise to meet it.”

References:

Our Shared Seas 2019 / CEA Consulting / Lucile Packard Foundation

Arksen become leaders in sustainability

Arksen has today announced its partnership with MarineShift360. The venture, delivering a new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool for the global marine industry, will see a collaboration between multiple businesses contributing valuable data from their materials and design processes to further develop the LCA tool ahead of its commercial release in late 2019.

Sustainability has been at the heart of Arksen’s ethos from the outset and this partnership displays their commitment to drive a new wave of sustainable adventure, research and exploration. By taking a combined approach that not only seeks to create exceptional products, built with their full lifecycle in mind, but also working closely with their community of owners to ensure the fleet is used to inspire a greater understanding of, and have a positive impact on, the ocean ecosystem through the support of projects funded by the Arksen Foundation.

Arksen joins marine industry businesses; Allen Brothers, Emkay Plastics, Multiplast, Princess Yachts, RS Sailing and Wessex Resins as the first seven companies to collaborate on the project.  

Motivated by consumer demand and expected changes to legislation, the marine industry is under the spotlight to make advances in closed-loop product design, moving away from the linear ‘take-make-waste’ approach and towards a circular economy. In collaboration with founding sponsor 11th Hour Racing, an international organisation that harnesses the power of sport to innovate change for the health of our oceans, MarineShift360 is actively developing its LCA tool to equip the industry with the means to understand product sustainability. 

The LCA tool quantifies the environmental impacts of a product’s full life cycle, from raw materials to disposal, ultimately allowing the user to make informed decisions at the design stage to mitigate such impacts. The pilot partners will work alongside MarineShift360 to tailor the tool to the unique needs of marine businesses in a bid to empower the wider industry to make smart choices within design and manufacturing processes. The project will continue to forge new partnerships to further enhance the performance of the tool, with the vision of creating a tool that is built by the industry, for the industry. 

Jasper Smith, CEO of Arksen commented on the partnership: “By reinventing the modern explorer vessel we are inspiring a new generation of sailor and encouraging them to facilitate research that will contribute to a more profound understanding of the ocean ecosystem. Sustainability and deep technology are at the very core of the Arksen business, two fundamentals that we share with MarineShift360, a venture that will empower marine professionals to make informed decisions on materials and design choices through thorough data analysis and owners to make purchase decisions based on product and environmental impact. We are excited to work with the team and to help lead a drive towards sustainable practices across the whole marine sector.” 

Todd McGuire, Program Director at 11th Hour Racing, founding sponsor of MarineShift360, says: “The new partners are already leaders in their respective fields, and joining this collaboration enables them to become leaders also in sustainability. There is no time like the present to adopt sustainability practices, both for business and environmental reasons, ensuring end-of-life considerations are embedded at the design stage. By gathering reliable data from the partners, MarineShift360 will develop a fully comprehensive database that supports a life cycle assessment tool tailored to the needs of the marine industry. Once complete, the tool will empower users to compare choices and investigate alternative materials that increase efficiency and reduce costs, leading to innovation in design – our ultimate goal for this project.”

Craig Simmons, Chief Technology Officer at Anthesis, a life cycle assessment expert who is acting as an advisor to MarineShift360, says: “Like all sectors, the marine industry needs to respond to the ‘triple whammy’ of increasingly eco-conscious consumers, the rising cost of raw materials, and a tougher regulatory environment.  Design innovation sits at the heart of this, and the new LCA tool will help businesses to make smarter design choices; making better use of resources, improving efficiency and better responding to market needs.”

To find out more about the tool and the exclusive benefits of becoming a Pilot Partner please visit: www.marineshiftt360.org  

All businesses in the marine industry are encouraged to provide immediate input by taking part in a questionnaire on the MarineShift360 website, which will help ensure the data and processes modelled are useful industry wide: https://marineshift360.org/questionnaire-form

Melting Traditions
Words and images by Nico Wills (Adventure & Research Consultant at Arksen)

Last year I had the privilege to spend some time up in Greenland, living on the fringes of the civilised world in a place where modern and old cultures clash. The Inuit way of life is in as much threat from the constant change in the Arctic climate as the wildlife is, but it is often less documented. The traditional use of dogs and sledges for transport of goods and people is under threat as warmer conditions make the process untenable. In a land where the only road exists within and stops on the edges of the village the degrading of these traditional routes is of major concern to the locals but less known in the outside world.

1. Stepping out on the ice I could see my team ahead. The musher, seal-skin clothing replaced by modern ski wear, ready and waiting. The dogs rested on the ice, oblivious to the cold. The Inuit still use dogs and sledges for hunting and transport, something they have done for thousands of years.

2. With the drivers unsure one steps out further onto the ice to test the route. Armed only with a long pole that has a foot long metal spike attached, he rams this repeatedly into the ice ahead of him, probing, testing. He concludes that the incoming Spring has done its work. The paths are too weak to continue. Returning we load up our kit, turn the sledges and head back to the village.

3. The Inuit still cover ground over ancient paths. Routes from and to village weave through valleys and mountains, over ice up the east coast of Greenland. Another year of unseasonably warm weather has meant that a month ahead of normal the teams may have to stop running their routes. The sledges sink up to the tops of their runners in the soft ice and snow, the dogs gainfully battling to drag us through the slushy mess.

4. The Inuit sledge and tools have not changed in centuries. Maybe some modern components help such as plastic on the runners, but otherwise, all is as of old — a wooden sledge, a seal rawhide whip and spiked pole to test the ice. Mushing is a physical undertaking. Rather than stoically standing at the back of the sledge the drivers are continually moving. From back to front they go, cajoling the dogs and the sledge to go where they need it, physically lifting and dragging both where required.

5. Further into the valleys, the going is harder and harder, the dogs fighting for every foot of ground gained. Stopping, the three team leaders rest in the sunshine. Overhead the sound of crashing water heralds yet another avalanche as sun-baked slopes collapse. Worried about the thickness of the ice the leaders are not sure whether heading further is safe or not.

6. On the edges of the village are the sledge teams — packs of huskies, tethered by chains and left out in the wind and snow. As I drew closer, the lead dog started a baleful howl of alert, soon picked up by the rest of the dogs.

7. Huskies truly are an incredible animal, the Greenland version being small but touch, its energy and enthusiasm boundless. Hardened against the cold they curl up to sleep in the snow. When extra heat is needed a scrum can sometimes occur as they pile on top of each other. They truly love to run, stray dogs left out from the team often joining in despite not being harnessed.

8. Heading home from the teams more dogs on sentry stand watch outside their owner’s homes. Unlike guard dogs back home these are used to ward off more significant threats. Also affected by the early ice melt, polar bears are frequent visitors to the village in search of food as their seal hunting seasons grow shorter. Locals have woken in the night to behemoth intruders inside their houses searching for extra morsels to tide them over.

9. At his merest sound, the dogs leap into frenzied action. Usually quiet and reserved my musher too comes alive when with his team, a constant stream of whistles and sounds guiding his dogs forward. Higher up the snow has melted fast, and the sticky mess slows the team as they struggle uphill. Their instinct is to turn for home. Deftly the musher flicks his whip left and right of them. Never touching but the threat guiding them back on the path.

Why Aluminium

We started the Arksen project with a vision of designing and building explorer yachts that could go pretty much anywhere and with the hope that they would unlock in those who used them a deeper sense of adventure; a desire to explore and to learn. We aimed to create vessels that would be in their element in the wilderness of the open ocean, edging through the ice in Glacier Bay or sitting in a tropical harbour.

Fundamentally our choice of build materials is based on a necessity that we and our users must be able to rely on our products in the harshest of conditions, time and time again. Every component and element of the build is designed with this is mind. Choosing materials that we trust, understand and love to work with is all part of our DNA.

Making any product has an environmental impact, and an Arksen vessel is a big ‘product’. Our first responsibility is to ensure that the materials that we use in building our boats have as minimal an environmental cost as possible, both during production and use, and that they are fully recyclable at the end of life. As importantly we wanted to be able to trace the materials that we worked with and to be able to track their provenance through a trusted supply chain.  

To develop the hull and superstructure concept, we looked at a lot of different materials commonly used in boat building; GPR, composite, wood, steel and even concrete but only aluminium had all of the properties that we were looking for.  

Aluminium is a unique metal: strong, durable, flexible, impermeable, lightweight, corrosion-resistant, non-toxic, 100 percent recyclable and 100% sustainable. You can weld it, bash it, and cast it.  It can be shaped and twisted into any form. It can be rolled into thick plates for hulls, thin foil for wires (and drinks cans) and extruded for tubes. It reflects about 80 percent of the light that strikes it and almost nine-tenths of the heat that reaches it, which is why astronauts’ space suits have an aluminium coating which prevents extreme heat loss and as well as gain. Using the same principal, it can help keep a room warm or cool. Marine grade aluminium alloys are also, pound for pound, stronger than structural steel. 

Aluminium is everywhere—literally. It is the most abundant, naturally occurring metal in the earth’s crust but it also has a high scrap value as a recyclable metal. Its reusable cycle is indefinite, and it retains all of its qualities, which is why nearly 75% of all aluminium ever produced globally is still in use today and recycling accounts for over one-half of total aluminium production. 

Some metals wear away if exposed to oxygen, water, weather or various chemicals. However, when aluminium reacts with oxygen the metal forms an invisible layer of a chemical compound called aluminium oxide. This layer protects aluminium from corrosion making it especially valuable for use outdoors where the metal is exposed to, and must resist the effects of wind, rain, water and pollution. 

Of all the many valuable properties of aluminium the most important for the thru life costs of an Arksen vessel is that aluminium is one of the lightest metals. It weighs about 168.5 pounds per cubic foot, about a third as much as steel. It’s low density, combined with its high strength, rigidity and corrosion resistance allows weight savings of 15 to 20 percent over steel or many composite designs, which in turn means less friction, less power requirement and less fuel.  The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that an aluminium intensive vehicle can achieve up to a 32 percent reduction in total life cycle energy consumption. 

The production of aluminium is expensive because it requires a lot of expensive energy to refine. But once aluminium has been refined and used, it can be melted down and recycled using one-twentieth of the energy it took to make it in the first place. By saving this amount of energy, not only can resources like coal and oil be saved, but less acid rain gases such as sulphur and nitrogen oxides are released in the atmosphere.  

The combination of these properties makes aluminium an ideal material to build the Arksen range: 

– Very lightweight, strong and safe: Lighter and stronger than steel or GRP, a well-designed aluminium hull will reduce the costs of ownership through fuel efficiency. If you are unlucky enough to collide with an object at sea an aluminium hull is significantly less likely to puncture. 

– Low maintenance: Aluminium is self-protecting, which means less paint, fewer materials, less maintenance, less cost.

– Reusable / recyclable: Aluminium is infinitely recyclable and retains a very high scrap value.

– Excellent marine construction material: Aluminium is safe to work with, highly reliable, predicable when welded and malleable making it the material of choice for specialist boat builders.

– Long service life: a well-maintained aluminium hull will last many years – our vessels are designed with a 50-year service life in mind.

– Ease of repair: Our intrepid users will be able to find someone who can work with it anywhere in the world.  

New Wave of Innovation to the Marine Industry.

Today Arksen – a technology and innovation company building the most authentic, capable and efficient explorer vessels of their kind – officially launched at boot Düsseldorf, with a product and ethos driving a new wave of innovation within the industry.  

Arksen is the brainchild of tech entrepreneur and investor Jasper Smith, who brings knowledge from a career spanning 30 years in the games and tech industry, including companies such as PlayJam, Fantastic Corp, Vala Capital, Optimistic, PlayStack and PlayWorks. Smith has recognised the opportunity within the marine sector and, with the creation of Arksen, is looking to provide a positive impact through technology, research, exploration and adventure.

Smith said: “We set out to create a great company; one that could have a profound impact on the lives of the owners of our vessels and that could actively contribute to a better understanding of the oceans. By building offshore vessels that are designed to withstand the harshest ocean conditions and that incorporate autonomy, hybrid propulsion and ‘always on’ critical systems monitoring, we are at the forefront of a revolution, pioneering technologies that will become the foundation of the future marine industry.”

Arksen comprises three key elements that make up the essence of the brand; the Arksen Series – Arksen 70, Arksen 85 and Arksen 100, the Arksen Foundation and the Arksen Explorers’ Club.

Behind Arksen is an exceptional team from across the marine, aviation and technology sectors, as well as a number of world-class partners including Humphreys Yacht Design, Wight Shipyard Company, Design Unlimited and Waterline Media. 

Designed for explorers and made for adventure, Arksen vessels have been designed to meet the requirements for true explorer vessels in the 20 to 30m range, and that can be manned by minimal crew. On almost every level, the Arksen vessels beat the competition. On the strength, range, environmental impact, life-cycle management, usage opportunities and maintenance, the Arksen Series stand out. All interior layouts are easily reconfigured so they can be used for leisure, research and commercial purposes. Through the infusion of the latest technologies and ownership models, Arksen have created a series of platforms that will inspire the next generation of explorers to embark on their dream adventures.  

Arksen have set out to not only create the world’s best explorer vessels for ocean adventure but also to allow owners to use their vessels to the full, creating curated expeditions around the world through the ‘Explorers’ Club’, and the research and conservation projects that Arksen support through the ‘Arksen Foundation’. 

The Arksen Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, has been set up to provide project funding, facilitate cutting-edge scientific research and create innovative media to inspire a greater understanding of the beauty, complexity and fragility of the ocean ecosystem and its interfaces with the land around it. All Arksen owners join the Foundation and pledge to donate 10% of their vessels’ annual sea time to projects that the Foundation collectively supports; allowing scientists, explorers, thought leaders, filmmakers, journalists, photographers, artists and athletes access to a fleet of vessels from which to run their projects and realise their ideas. 

As a statement of intent and a sign of Arksen’s commitment to the environment, Arksen have signed up to ‘1% for the Planet’, an international organisation whose members commit to donating the equivalent of 1% of annual sales to support environmental causes.

Smith concluded: “Ultimately, Arksen is about delivering the very best machines for ocean adventure that money can buy, supporting them and giving our community of owners, scientists and conservationists the confidence to use our vessels to their full potential. Our collective futures will depend on our ability to understand, protect and save our oceans for future generations, and I know that sailors who are inspired to own an Arksen vessel will embrace our ethics and approach. Owning an Arksen vessel is not a status symbol. It is a statement of intent.”

Summary of the Arksen Series

Come and visit us at Boot Dusseldorf (Hall 7a Stand G09), find us at Arksen.com or via our social channels @arksenproject. 

Tech entrepreneur set to disrupt marine industry

Tech entrepreneur and investor Jasper Smith is changing tack and has set his sights on the marine industry with the launch of Arksen – a technology and innovation company, building the most capable and innovative explorer vessels of their kind. 

Better known as a pioneer in the games and tech industry, with a career spanning 30 years and including companies such as PlayJam, Fantastic Corp, Vala Capital, Optimistic, PlayStack and PlayWorks, Smith has recognised the opportunity within the marine sector and is looking to provide a positive impact through technology, research, exploration and adventure with the creation of Arksen.

Developed from a desire to push boundaries of what is possible and inspired by the stories of the world’s greatest explorers, Arksen are developing, building and supporting semi-autonomous, hybrid explorer vessels, designed from the ground up to have the least impact on the environment and take adventurers to the most inaccessible corners of the world’s oceans.

Smith says: “Having built a lot of businesses over a thirty-year career and been lucky enough to have combined this with taking time out to embark on some great sailing and climbing adventures, I was surprised at how undeveloped the explorer yacht market really was.  I like the idea of creating a great tool for explorers and adventurers alike, and one that could be used for leisure, research or commercial purposes.  

“The two other key drivers for setting Arksen up was the lack of innovation in the industry which provides great opportunity, and the fact that the business model for ownership seemed pretty broken.  By bringing new technologies and ownership models to the market and migrating the key learnings from the games industry into the marine sector, we hope to inspire a new generation of explorers to embark on their dream adventures as well as provide a boost to the industry.”

After a year of planning, today a key milestone was announced with Europe’s leading high-speed craft and aluminium ship builder Wight Shipyard Co., based on Britain’s Isle of Wight, appointed to build the fleet of Arksen vessels. 

Chief Executive of Wight Shipyard Co. Peter Morton said: “Ship building on the Isle of Wight goes back hundreds of years, we were told you couldn’t do this in the UK anymore, but we are proving them wrong and demonstrating that the Isle of Wight is the best place in the world to build boats. We share similar values with Arksen, wanting to do business differently, so are delighted that we will build these forward-thinking explorer vessels. Winning the Arksen contract is a great boost for the Isle of Wight and will add to the £50 million impact we have already had on the UK balance of trade.”

Arksen also announced today that they are working with world-renowned Naval Architects Humphreys Yacht Design and award-winning interior designers, Design Unlimited. Tanya Brookfield has been appointed as Executive Director,  bringing expertise from her previous roles as MD of Alex Thomson Racing and Head of Fundraising and Communications at the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, particularlly relevant to the Arksen Foundation, which will actively involve the Arksen owner community and provide marine institutions with sea time for scientific research to encourage and motivate the next generation of explorers, scientists and adventurers.

Smith concluded: “My aim with Arksen is first and foremost to develop exceptional products that are built with their full lifecycle in mind; from sourcing to recycling at end of life.  My second is to work with our owner community to ensure that our fleet is used in part to drive a wider and deeper understanding of the ocean ecosystem through supporting scientists, film makers, artists and journalists and providing them with a platform via which they can craft and tell their stories.  I believe that this combined approach will allow our community to thrive and to share in a common vision for a sustainable approach to a new wave of adventure, research and exploration.”

Arksen will be launched at the boot Düsseldorf on 19th January when further details of the explorer vessel’s technology and innovations, as well as the Foundation and partnerships, will be released.