YARD VISIT: SPIRIT YACHTS GREEN SPIRIT
Classic Boat|December 2020
James Bond, the electric age, and a new dayboat model
STEFFAN MEYRIC HUGHES

Visits to Spirit Yachts are beginning to feel like little glimpses into the future of yacht sailing, which might seem a strange thing for a yard that designs and builds yachts with profiles from the 1930s, but of course everything always comes full circle. The 20th century was partly defined by speed, but this one will be defined by integration with our environment, and nowhere is this more clear than with a modern, wooden yacht. On the quayside sits the yard’s latest boat, the Spirit 111, back from a trip to Norway, with crew bustling around on and off the boat. A quick tour of the 111 with the yard’s managing director Nigel Stuart is a real eye-opener: she’s the biggest wooden yacht built in Britain since the J-Class Shamrock V in 1930 (actually with the greater beam, she’s probably bigger), with a handbuilt wooden interior of a type that has never been seen before. In its own way, the new 44E afloat next to it, covered in last month’s issue, is just as significant taking, as it does, its green credentials to a new level.

Back inside the large Spirit hangar, Sean MacMillan, Spirit co-founder and chief designer, leads a tour around the yard, which is pressing full steam ahead with no fewer than five new builds, all in the yard’s signature strip-plank build method. There is simply no other boatyard in the world today that is serial building sizeable sailing and motor yachts in this volume, and in wood: the yard, founded in 1993, is on its 76th build. First off, we see a P40 nearing completion. She might have lots of tumblehome and a stepped sheer, but the twin-V8 diesels will propel her from standstill to plane in seven seconds, with a speed that matches its name – and then a bit more for good measure. She’s the sixth in the ‘P’ series, the first one having been built around the turn of the millennium for the use of an island commuter in the Stockholm archipelago.

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