Text by Mandi Keighran Photos/Peter Sørensen
What’s the big idea?
GoBoat – a solar-powered boat made from recycled materials that anyone can drive. “It’s about giving the individual power to go exploring on his or her own,” says co-founder Carl Kai Rand.
Who’s behind it?
Three Copenhagen locals – Kai Rand, Kasper Eich-Romme and Anders Mørck. Eich-Romme, whose previous start-up Soup Soup 2 Go turned bicycles into soup kitchens, and Kai Rand – an architect with a background as creative director for a fashion brand – went to school together. “We’ve had wonderful experiences in our own boats and realised that Copenhagen was missing a plug-and-play sailing experience,” says Kai Rand. After coming up with the idea, a mutual friend put them in touch with Mørck, a business major with a passion for start-ups.
Where can I find a GoBoat?
The first boathouse opened in Copenhagen’s harbour last May, and last month they opened two new boathouses in Stockholm and one in Malmö.
How does it work?
The GoBoat season runs between April and October, and anyone over the age of 18 (and sober) can rent a boat, with prices starting from DKK399 (NOK450, SEK500) per hour. The boats seat eight, and most people take them out for two or three hours to explore the harbour. The GoBoat team can even pack an organic picnic lunch. The boats are equipped with a solar cell-powered engine and have a maximum speed of 3.5 knots (6.5kph), making them easy to manoeuver with no boating experience. ”The boats serve as a platform for social experiences,” says Mørck. “We want to people to interact and enjoy each other’s company.”
Who rents them?
Everyone – from locals to the Danish Minister of Defence, to Oscar-nominated directors Werner Herzog and Joshua Oppenheimer. “The response to GoBoat has been overwhelming,” says Eich-Romme. “The first summer we had almost 30,000 people out sailing and it’s all kinds of people – young, old, locals, tourists… it’s not just hipsters.”
Who designed the GoBoat?
Kai Rand worked on the design for eight months prior to launch. “It’s designed to feel safe, but it also had to have a sharp, Scandinavian aesthetic,” he says. “It has a strong reference to old Danish fishing boats, which have a well in the middle and a wide freeboard edge where you can sit.” The boats are produced using a material made from recycled plastic bottles.
Just how sustainable is GoBoat?
Very. “We have sustainability involved in every aspect of GoBoat,” says Eich-Romme. “From the boathouses, which are built from a sustainable Norwegian timber, to the boats themselves.” There’s even an initiative where kids are asked to be “rubbish pirates”.
What’s a rubbish pirate?
Kids setting out on a GoBoat are given a fishing net and can exchange any rubbish they fish out of the harbour for an ice cream. “It’s a nice entry point for parents to teach kids about sustainability and how to be good to their surroundings,” says Eich-Romme. “And, it helps to keep kids with lots of energy occupied.”
GoBoat has plans for Gothenburg, Oslo and Helsinki, with hopes to soon expand outside Scandinavia. Kai Rand is working on a bigger GoBoat with the potential to go outside city harbours, and with the Danish Institute of Technology to come up with a material made from recycled windmills. “We’re new and very driven, so we don’t see any limits,” says Kai Rand. “We try to push the envelope and ask how we can evolve and be really progressive.”
Norwegian flies to Copenhagen, Stockholm and Malmö. Book flights, a hotel and a rental car at norwegian.com