FRASER Yachts CEO Raphael Sauleau Talks Green Yachting And Industry Trends

FRASER Yachts CEO Raphael Sauleau Talks Green Yachting And Industry Trends

Adrienne Faurote
By Adrienne Faurote March 27, 2020

Leading the way in the luxury yachting industry is Raphael Sauleau, Chief Executive Officer of FRASER Yachts. With over 25 years in the private wealth and maritime sectors, Sauleau joined FRASER in 2016, becoming the fifth CEO in a history spanning more than 70 years. Since then, Sauleau has not only ensured FRASER continues to buy and sell more luxury yachts for clients every year but also oversees the exponential growth of its yacht management fleet.

As a firm believer in the value of working together as an industry to better serve clients, Sauleau is actively involved with two of the most influential associations in luxury yachting today—LYBRA (Large Yacht Brokers Association) for which he is currently President, and MYBA (Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association) as Head of the Communications Committee.

We sat down with Sauleau to talk about industry trends and green yachting.

FRASER YachtsPhoto Credit: Courtesy FRASER Yachts

Can you tell us about YERSIN? It sounds like such an interesting concept.

YERSIN was designed and built with sustainability and recycling in mind throughout – in all materials and processes used in both the construction and in the interior (ex: Zero emissions and Bureau Veritas Clean Ship Classified, optimized fuel burning through diesel-electric propulsion, optimization water management system with high tech water treatment and recycling, hull coated with anti-stick silicone, no biocide, etc) – even to the point of factoring in her recyclability at the end of her life span. She is the ultimate (and rarest) peace of mind for her next owner who not only wants adventure, exploration and fun but who cares about the footprint they leave behind them.

FRASER YachtsPhoto Credit: Courtesy FRASER Yachts

YERSIN seems like a yacht that can go practically anywhere. Do you predict there will be more charters or yachts designed to take individuals to remote parts of the world such as the Arctic?

YERSIN is the most advanced and sustainable explorer of a generation. She was developed to face the most challenging expedition programs in all weather and all conditions in the utmost comfort and style and accommodates up to 18 guests. She has a range of over 15,000 nautical miles, she is ICE-classed, GREEN and CLEAN SHIP CERTIFIED…so yes, she can go practically anywhere and not leave a damaging footprint behind her. She aligns adventure and exploration with sustainability and positive impact.

There is an appetite for clients to go beyond the usual Mediterranean and Caribbean cruising grounds. An increasing number of clients are now booking
charters or taking their vessels to Northern Europe and Antarctica for example. There is an increasing number of so-called “explorer yachts” at sea today – and around 40 in build at the moment. But most, at best, pay lip service to the true concept. They have the look without the substance – most are not ice-classed and offer only short ranges. There are not many, like YERSIN, built to properly explore these regions safely and with the environment so high on the agenda.

Why is green yachting important to you?

I think today a green lifestyle is important for everyone. For almost everyone who enjoys quality time at sea, the whole reward is being part of nature,
escaping from the material, seeing the world from a whole new perspective. That reward goes hand-in-hand with taking responsibility to all play our part in protecting that very environment. There are lots of excellent initiatives being undertaken today by owners, crew, shipyards, designers and engineers to improve still further on the sustainability and impact of yachts and yachting – everything from replacing materials with recycled or replenishable options, introducing highly improved fuel consumption, hydro-electric propulsion, onboard recycling systems, solar-powered systems, all the way down to simply not using single-use plastics.

FRASER YachtsPhoto Credit: Courtesy FRASER Yachts

As the world becomes more aware of climate change, do you think you will push green/efficient yachting to clients?

If you push, then people just push back. It is more about encouragement. An increasing number of our charter yachts are now carbon offsetting, eliminating single-use plastics, paying attention to where they drop anchor and so forth. As a company, Fraser has always been respectful of our footprint, our work processes and materials. Every year, we add new initiatives to our promise. Today we are finalizing initiatives to carbon offset more flights and travel, we continue to implement sustainable materials on all our collateral and encourage our clients to do the same.

Where do you see the luxury yachting industry evolving in the next 5 or so years?

As a natural continuation of all the initiatives today. Increasingly owners and charter guests are choosing yachts based on their environmental initiatives and qualities – this is something designers and shipbuilders are really able to focus on today. So often in years gone by, cost and reduced performance of more sustainable solutions have outweighed the perceivable benefits of going with them for some owners. Today, that is no longer the case. Owners get it today. In fact, they not only get it…they expect their vessels to be environmentally innovative. It’s great news.

FRASER YachtsPhoto Credit: Courtesy FRASER Yachts

What’s a trend you’re seeing in 2020 with yachts and the yachting experience?

More clients are asking about and choosing yachts based on their green and clean credentials, so we expect to see even more yachts introduce even more
sustainable and environmentally positive initiatives

What do you think are the top yachting destinations this year?

Despite the increasing demand for going farther afield, the Mediterranean and Caribbean remain, by far, the most popular destinations – and the truth is, both areas have so much variety with stunning cruising, diving, watersports, dining, partying, exploration, cultural and site-seeing options, along with second-to-none yachting & client facilities and easy access for most people. It is hard to see how any other areas of the world could compete with the wealth of opportunity and reward on offer. That said, now the tax laws have changed for Australia. That really is a destination that we believe is on the cusp of growing exponentially. South East Asia will probably now also gain momentum as an alternative destination to the Caribbean allowing a year-end activity away from the “traditional destinations.”