This month, British modern classic yacht company, Spirit Yachts, launched its highly anticipated 34m sailing yacht, the Spirit 111. Lowered into the water for the first time at Spirit Yachts’ waterside headquarters in Ipswich, Suffolk, the sloop-rigged yacht is the largest single-masted wooden yacht to be built in the UK since Shamrock V in the 1930s.
At the request of her overseas buyer, the Spirit 111 has been designed and built in-house by Spirit Yachts to be one of the most environmentally friendly sailing superyachts ever created.
Spirit Yachts worked collaboratively with leading marine and automotive suppliers to deliver on the owner’s eco brief. A Torqeedo electric propulsion system using a 100kW motor will propel the yacht silently for up to 40nm at eight knots from battery power alone. Whilst sailing, the propulsion system will regenerate the four BMW lithium battery banks by rotating the propeller shaft whilst the yacht is under sail. All power-consuming components have been carefully selected to be highly efficient and will use minimal energy without impacting performance or comfort.
Spirit Yachts Managing Director, Nigel Stuart, explains: “It is important to the owner that he can spend the majority of his time away from marinas enjoying sailing and anchoring in bays. Using electric propulsion to regenerate the batteries whilst sailing, the yacht will be able to operate for up to four days at anchor without having to plug into shore power or start the two onboard generators. When the yacht crosses the Atlantic, as long as there is adequate wind, she will not need to consume any fossil fuels.”
Nigel continues: “By partnering with suppliers and challenging ourselves to create customised solutions using the latest energy-saving technology, we have created one of the world’s most sustainable superyachts. From construction using responsibly sourced timber to carbon-saving systems whilst in operation, the Spirit 111 sets a new standard for reducing the impact sailing has on our environment.”
The air conditioning uses variable speeds with eco options via battery or shore power, and the galley has been designed with ultimate efficiency in mind. The fridge and freezer were built with Cryogel insulation to ensure minimal power consumption whilst holding low temperatures. Water is heated using a Webasto system, which only heats water on demand ensuring no wasted water or energy, and the heated water is stored within high density insulation and high efficiency transfer coils for rapid heat transfer and temperature retention.
The Spirit 111 is also one of few superyachts capable of cruising without professional crew. Energy efficient Lewmar hydraulic deck hardware and OneSails GBR (East) 4T Forte sails made from recyclable materials will be fitted to a Hall Spar carbon fibre mast and in-boom furling to facilitate short-handed sailing.
Spirit founder and Head Designer, Sean McMillan, comments: “A single-masted wooden yacht of this size that can be owner-driven is nothing less than a feat of engineering. The yacht’s impressive strength to weight ratio, a carbon rig and lightweight, performance sails will allow the owner to compete competitively in the Mediterranean regattas.”
The interior of the Spirit 111 was created in partnership with Rhoades Young, which is Spirit Yachts’ first collaboration with an external design agency. Rhoades Young developed the initial concept for a unique, curved interior, which Spirit Yachts’ design team developed and brought to life together in the final plans. Rhoades Young partner, Jonathan Rhoades, comments: “It was a joy to work with a client with an absolute passion for design. The brief was a combination of his love for furniture and organic architecture. The client had recently visited Antelope Canyon in Arizona and this was the catalyst for the idea of the warm soft flowing walls creating unique focal points within the room. Whilst appearing simple, these twisting forms are co-ordinated perfectly with the beautiful skylights above creating a calm and tranquil ambiance. These elegant forms not only twist and peel to create counters but uniquely create the intimate back drops for the highly detailed ‘steam pieces’ which blur the line between furniture and sculpture. It has been an absolute privilege to work on this project with the client and the craftsmen and women who created it.”
Sean comments: “The Spirit 111 has been completely customised throughout and as a result her interior is totally unique. The design is a never-ending swirl of organic shapes, encompassing the practicalities necessary in a yacht but in a highly imaginative way.”
Down below, walls and bulkheads flow in an ‘S’ shape through the interior, which has a natural look and feel thanks to the combination of exposed Sipo, teak and American Walnut timbers on show. A bespoke, curved American Walnut seating arrangement takes centre stage in the open plan saloon galley, and C-shaped arrangements created from steamed timber curve over the beds in the owner’s and VIP cabins. Discreet doors with hidden, sensor-activated recesses, rather than visible door handles, ensure smooth lines and a contoured look throughout.
The smart lighting system onboard complement the soft warmth of the wooden interior. Spirit Yachts Managing Director, Nigel Stuart, explains: “The interior lighting is controlled by ambient light sensors and a GPS clock to control the brightness and warmth of light ensuring there is no difference between outside and inside. There will be no pockets of shade and light as you would normally have.
“The interior will have almost no light switches; motion sensors will turn lights on and off during the day. At night, sensors under the beds will detect if someone is up and light the way to the nearest ensuite. If a guest starts to go elsewhere within the interior, the system will deduce which way they are going and light the relevant areas in a very soft warm light.”
With no requirements for crew accommodation, guests have the choice of two double ensuite aft cabins or a starboard side double VIP cabin. The forward cabin holds the spacious master suite, complete with curved sofas built into the side of the hull, double bed and ensuite. All heads have rounded, solid timber sinks integrated into the worktop and power showers.
The yacht is now set to spend the coming weeks at Spirit Yachts for commissioning and test sails before beginning her winter season with her owner.