La Bella Verde thinks so. In fact, over the past seven years, the pioneering Ibiza-based boat company has slowly been cornering the market on green boating, with vessels that run on the sun as well as the wind. Founded by a team of three sailors, Alastair (Ali), Charlie and Maarten, their idea came about by unhappy accident, when the guys unintentionally spilled engine fuel into the sea and were horrified by the shiny mess the diesel made. “We were contaminating the water,” says Ali. “As sailors, that felt terrible. We all had the exact same thought in that moment: ‘We should make electric boats!’
Ali and Charlie are my shipmates for the day, and are doing the hard work while I dangle my legs over the edge of one of their solar-powered catamarans. What started with a single boat quickly became a fleet-sized venture, with orders for their unique eco-craft pouring in. They're piloting this particular lightweight boat effortlessly across the Mediterranean, towards the tiny island of Es Palmador. It seems like the easiest thing in the world, but it wasn’t such smooth sailing convincing Ibiza’s dockside community that diesel was overrated.
“The boat’s owner almost fell into the dock laughing when we told her the idea,” says Ali, while wrapped around some rigging. The boys were told it would be impossible – it would mean changing the way the entire industry and their fleets ran. Undeterred, they bought their first catamaran and converted it to an eco catamaran.
This original was named La Bella Verde (‘The Beautiful Green’). Solar panels sat in place of the usual huge engines, providing financial benefits to match the ethical ones. Now, by 11am every morning, each boat in their group of seven (including what’s sure to be the most-requested vessel of this year’s season, named Sexy Beast) has already been powered up by the sun enough to last a full day on the water.
There’s no noisy engine – no noise at all, in fact – so it’s the crew’s choice if they fancy a peaceful, meditative jaunt out to sea or if they want more of a party vibe, like us, and to soundtrack the day with some Balearic beats from an onboard sound system (solar-powered, of course). The catamaran has an extremely shallow hull, which means La Bella Verde’s boats can get up closer to the coast than other same-sized vessels – a massive bonus for swimming ashore to secret, empty beaches, especially during the peak month of August.