We are excited to introduce the first in a series of features in association with Spirit Yachts, surrounding boat life. With our love of Waterfront living expanding beyond the river wall, we wanted to explore both land and sea adventures; from the concept of commissioning your own yacht, to what it’s like to live the idyllic life afloat the River Orwell. This month, we take a look at what makes Spirit Yachts the forerunner for yacht design and build.
Established in Benhall, Suffolk in 1993, Spirit Yachts was founded by renowned yacht designer Sean McMillan. Now based on the New Cut in Ipswich Haven Marina, Spirit Yachts is celebrating its 25th anniversary and employs a 50-strong team of skilled boat builders from all over the world.
Spirit Yachts has designed and built elegant wooden sail and power yachts from 37ft to over 100ft, including the iconic yacht on which Daniel Craig sails into Venice in the Bond film Casino Royale. Currently in the yard is Spirit Yachts’ largest build to date: one of the largest single-masted wooden sailing yachts ever built in the UK, at 34m long.
Managing director Nigel Stuart joined Spirit Yachts in 2014, during which time he has overseen expansion of the yard to double its previous capacity. Nigel’s experience in sailing spans over 25 years and has taken him far and wide; starting as an engineer and working his way up to his present position as MD. His passion for yachts is resonated in his ethos for the business; Spirit Yachts are very much customer-focused and will make any vision a reality.
Nigel is proud of the fact that Spirit’s yachts are built solely from wood, rather than fibreglass; providing an environmentally sustainable product. The timber used to build the yachts is of the highest quality and is sourced from responsibly managed forests. The wood used by Spirit is lightweight, strong and durable, giving these yachts an impressive strength to weight ratio. Many classic wooden yachts have lasted over 100 years, much longer than a modern fibreglass boat, and there is no reason why a Spirit Yacht wouldn’t do the same. Nigel also explains that each uniquely-designed yacht has the ‘row away factor’; the undeniable ability to turn its owner’s head as they row away from it.