Forget about just living off the grid, the future is living offshore… full time. At least that’s the vision Florida-based yachting startup Sovereign Ships is seeking to realize. More than just an electric catamaran, its ocean-going Sphinx 40 is conceived as an aquatic home capable of generating its own propulsion, harvesting its own fresh water and growing food, providing all the necessities so owners and guests can truly escape Overcrowded life on land, floating as you like.
Throughout the 2020s, with the likes of pandemics, wars, and political animosity raging through society and disrupting everyday life, it’s not a shock to see someone thinking outside the box in search of a fresh start. Ben Woodason founded Sovereign Ships to advance a more holistic escape, looking to further build on the no-holds-barred nomadic lifestyle that has become popular in recent years.
“I came up with the idea after leaving the Air Force and thinking about what kind of lifestyle I could live to maximize my personal freedom,” Woodason explained when launching the company last year. “I’ve been thinking about all the futuristic sci-fi space travelers I’ve seen and decided that I can adapt to the way we live today by bringing things closer to Earth.”
Some of Woodason’s initial concepts did look like a sci-fi spaceship dropped into water, but Sovereign has since focused on more realistic layouts. What Woodason ultimately envisions is a completely self-sufficient residential leisure boat that requires minimal contact with the old-fashioned land masses back ashore.
After mocking up a dozen different yacht designs for feedback, Sovereign chose the Sphinx 40 as the first to pursue. This 40-foot (12.1-meter) yacht can accommodate 8 to 10 people in three or four-cabin layouts. Plans called for an internal galley, a dining area and salon, an onboard office, two heads and an aft deck extended through a full drop down door – basically a yacht tailgate. The hull will be made of fiberglass, and the roof will include 728 square feet (68 square meters) of solar panels.
The Sphinx will rely on a battery electric propulsion system backed by solar charging, available wind turbine generation and a kite sail system. Its sharp twin hull design is designed to assist in stable, efficient cruising.
Of course, nomads can travel and live on any boat or yacht, and many already do. Where Sovereign really takes its concept from livable yachts to “self-sufficient ocean homes” is in its vision of providing life’s basic necessities on board. Plans call for a combination of rainwater harvesting and desalination systems to supply fresh water, as well as a 97-square-foot (9-square-meter) onboard garden for growing food. Composting toilets will help reduce water usage and reliance on storage tanks.
We’re very skeptical that potted plants scattered around the boat’s deck will provide a full onboard meal for any length of time, but Sovereign points out that crew members can also fish while they’re on the water. While they may have purchased self-sufficient eco-cats to stay as far away from land as possible, there’s nothing stopping owners from heading to port to restock if necessary.
We’re temporarily filing the Sphinx 40 as “believe it when we see it in real life” (remember the Liberty Ship?), but it does present an interesting concept of getting away from civilization and spending time at sea. Sovereign’s idea is not unprecedented, as there are other yachts, real and conceptual, including solar power, water-making systems and on-board vegetable gardens. However, Sovereign’s vision for seaworthy off-grid homes is more focused than most, an ocean-going self-sufficient, go-anywhere micro-home and off-grid RV that enables homeowners to escape society’s cold turkey.
Sovereign is working on a proof-of-concept for Sphinx 40 and hopes to begin delivering first customers to customers in 2025. Available for pre-order now, base pricing is currently set at 210 ounces of gold (approximately $430,000 as of publication) – a common denominator chosen to allow buyers to think with a more freewheeling, autonomous mindset, independent of governments and their respective currencies And other troublesome constraints. Gold would certainly flow more smoothly than bartering with vegetables grown on board.
source: sovereign ship