Raised with adventure in his abundant character, Alistair moved to Ibiza to align his love of nature and people. The Balearic base soon became the perfect platform to launch an eco project that equally combined both and fast became an innovative, international phenomenon.
Where are you from and how long have you been on the island?
I´m a Cambridge boy, born and raised. I arrived on the island in 2012 and have called it home ever since.
What got you involved in the La Bella Verde movement?
Well, La Bella Verde is actually the name of our first electric sailing catamaran.
My first summer on the island I worked as crew, learning the skills and to sail the boat. The following year I was skippering with Maarten, and together we concepted the ´go electric´ idea. We decided to buy a boat with the help of our close friend Charlie Taverner and we collectively kick-started the green project!
You’ve been turning boats into electric and solar powered for the past few years. Can you tell us the story of making your first eco-catamaran?
I can tell you it wasn’t easy! Like most innovative ideas, you often have to break through the criticism of others until you prove them wrong. Maarten and I were extremely passion driven throughout this project and we actually got most of our energy through those disbelievers. Every time we were told ´you can’t make this boat electric´ our mission became even stronger!
Our intention was to always to work with renewable energy, and when we first started we had to remove all four (heavy) batteries of 66 kilos each from the boat manually, taking them to land for charge by wind and solar every two or three days. Through that strain and struggle, we proved this boat could, in fact, be entirely operated electric, and emission-free. But, there was no way we could continue this exhausting ritual!
That Winter we spent extensive time inventing the solution of a lightweight solar bridge, harvesting the sun’s power and becoming completely self-sufficient on the water.
You’ve recently launched a new boat in the fleet, can you tell us a bit more about this process and the end result?
Yes! Exciting stuff… We have always dreamed of building the perfect solar ‘day trip’ catamaran and after 5 years of experience with our older boats, we have now modified and improved every possible detail. As a result, we’ve just launched La Bella Verde´s Series 1 Eco Cat last September in 2018 and the interest is already immense.
This model is named Ukulele. We redesigned the solar bridge to a contemporary style with optimum efficiency. The engines now have stronger propulsion with the ability to hydrogenerate power whilst under sail. As the onboard sound system has always been important to us, that’s also been upgraded to a high spec quality sound to provide the perfect soundtrack to the sailing experience!
All in all, this is a very cool eco cat, and we are extremely happy with the outcome and performance of the new LBV – Series 1, Ukulele.
La Bella Verde recently took part in their very first boat show in Barcelona. We’ve heard your new addition generated a lot of interest amongst the press and public. Tell us more.
Haha, yes it was our very first show to exhibit and it was a great experience. We actually arrived two days late after treacherous conditions sailing across from Ibiza. On the flipside, this meant the harbour’s pedestrian drawbridge had to be opened especially for us and 1000 people stopped to watch the only ‘green boat’ at the pinnacle show, silently pass by with a wave from our salty sea-worn captain and crew. With champagne on ice and a massive crowd to greet them on arrival, it somehow felt like the welcome we deserved and LBV had arrived on the international stage!
Out of the 700 boats that were at the exhibition for Barcelona International Boat Show, there was only one solar electric boat, LBV. So we were feeling exceptionally proud to appear on three of Spain’s national news channels in unison and answer various reporter’s questions. Our message is starting to expand to an even greater audience.
The summer is over and Ibiza returns to its peaceful position. What are La Bella Verde plans for the Winter?
Winter for us is the moment to enjoy the island’s peaceful state, as well as recruit and expand our LBV operations. We are all still hard at work, especially as we’re now adding two new departments. First, the LBV Sailing School, offering people the chance to learn how to sail an eco boat as either a hobby or for certified licencing. In addition to that, we have also opened a workshop for LBV Electric Boating, enabling other boat owners to convert their fuel guzzling vessels and go green! This has been a long term mission and part of our overall plan moving forward.
What does your perfect day in Ibiza look like?
I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to you, but my perfect day in Ibiza has not changed over the past five years. Waking up, heading down to Salinas Beach with some friends, boarding one of our green cats is unparalleled… music, drinks on ice and hoisting the sails to glide us across the turquoise waters and out of the bay is an idyllic lifestyle many can only dream of. For us, it’s a consistent reality, where we can choose beautiful places to stop, swim and chill further along the coastline and enjoy the beauty that surrounds the Balearics. That is how this all began and thankfully continues! Simply enjoying the perfect day out and offering the experience to guests to share the experience, all boarding as strangers and leaving as close friends. We all still love it.
Questions from Facebook followers:
Jhossett: Yooo Ali!! What’s up!!! There are many cool stories of epic stuff happening randomly on the sea… including crazy mini storms, flying fishes on board, USO’s great shades on the sea and little scary moments usually the passengers never notice… Have u had to sort a situation like that? How was it? Wanna tell?
In the Balearics, we live in such microclimates. With the heat and high pressures building up over the summer days, freaky weather can occur. All of our captains are trained to watch the weather reports prior to voyages and by eye once we’re out on the water. Spikes in pressure cause tornados and they are not so fun! Sailing is a live and interactive sport and I think most of your experience as a captain comes from those days when the wind picks up and things get real out there. To date, all of our boats and passengers have returned back home safely, which is a great testament and track record.
Gerard: When is LBV moving to Sydney?
Sydney is definitely on the cards! I can confidently say that we intend to bring the Ibiza vibes to Darling Harbour in 2019 one way or another!
Lucy: Is there such a thing as too much sun? And can one OD on Vit D 😉 … just jokes. What’s the most rewarding thing about your job and did you ever dream you could call this lifestyle one? Coming from someone who has no idea of the labour and hours involved etc 🙂 so much love to you Ali. So proud of you all x
I think all LBV team players love the sun! With our solar catamarans, we aim to chase it around the world! All I can say is, Dream Big, Work Hard and Create your own Lifestyle.
If you’d like to learn more about the latest La Bella Verde addition, buy a boat, or join us for a seasonal sail then email our team firstname.lastname@example.org.