Beril Berkem

off-grid Engineer

Naval architect

Beril has an engineering degree in Naval Architecture and Yacht Design. She has lived on boats, and even wrote her dissertation about an emission free electric catamaran. She converter her own off-grid van, and currently works nomadically from it, exploring Turkey and Georgia.

Beril Berkem

off-grid Engineer

Naval Architect

Beril has an engineering degree in Naval Architecture and Yacht Design. She has lived on boats, and even wrote her dissertation about an emission free electric catamaran. She converter her own off-grid van, and currently works nomadically from it, exploring Turkey and Georgia.

Growing up sailing in the mediterranean, Beril had the opportunity to appreciate nature and freedom at a very young age. She started sailing in an optimist dinghy at the age of 5, started racing at 8 and received her skipper’s license at 15. Along with sailing, she is also a keen freediver and a windsurfer. Beril only became a mountain person when she moved to Canada to study the last 2 years of high school in North Vancouver, BC. The mountains were her backyard, she went hiking or mountain running every day, and got addicted.

As a kid, whenever Beril saw a gorgeous yacht sailing into the bay or the marina, she would hop into the dinghy and paddle to meet the owners to get to know more about their yacht. Because of this passion for life at sea, she studied a BEng. degree in Naval Architecture at Newcastle University, with both academic and sports scholarships. She also joined the university’s mountaineering society and experienced the UK to the fullest by trad climbing in the rain, and surprisingly enough, got hooked on climbing.

While Beril was studying and getting to know the industry, she started learning more about the environmental impacts of yacht design, and started researching and employing renewable energy systems and electric motors in all her design projects, which also contributed to her 1st class degree.

For her MSc., she moved to Southampton to study Yacht Design at Solent University. She lived full-time in an 8m, 44 year old Westerly Centaur sailing boat, which cost less than a year’s rent, and she had the chance to explore the beautiful cliffs of the south coast of England by sailing and climbing. For her MSc. dissertation, Beril created the concept design of a fully off-grid and emission-free 24m electric-hydrogen hybrid catamaran with ocean navigation capability and graduated with a 1st class degree.

Beril was one of the many unlucky ones who graduated just at the wrong time, when covid started, which closed many shipyards. She went back to her home country, Turkey, and used this time to push her climbing grade. Later, she realised with her boyfriend that they needed to live closer to nature, especially to the mountains where they could ice climb, mountaineer, ski tour and rock climb. They decided to buy and convert a van, to live the full-time, off-grid van life.

Their conversion had multiple limitations: it had to enable them to work fully remotely while travelling in really cold temperatures, where sunshine may not be available for multiple days; the systems needed to be within their limited budget, and it would need to consist of the limited products that are available in Turkey, so they didn’t have to deal with customs. Beril spent a lot of time researching and talking to manufacturers and they spent a long time building and connecting up the systems, but in the end they spent 4 months of winter in Georgia in the mountains and their van proved itself.

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