Ipswich-based luxury boat builder Spirit Yachts to create 15 more jobs

Spirit yachts, Ipswich
Nigel Stuart and Sean McMillan

Spirit yachts, Ipswich Nigel Stuart and Sean McMillan

A luxury boat builder in Suffolk is planning a significan expansion of its workforce after an upturn in orders.

Spirit Yachts, based at the Ipswich Haven Marina, makes all it sailing yachts entirely from wood and currently has four major commissions in the pipeline.

The company, which currently has 40 employees, is looking to recruit a further 15 skilled boat builders and has plans to develop a workshop next to its existing unit so it can manage more and bigger boat-building projects.

Spirit Yachts managing director Nigel Stuart, who joined the business two years ago after being approached by the company’s owner, Sean McMillan, said: “We are seeing a new set of buyers coming through who have stuck with the recession and now are ready to retire. We deal with a lot of people who are buying their last boat.

“People buy from the heart and with passion. They see a beautiful boat and they want to be able to sail it into a marina and for people to say: ‘That guy’s got taste’.”

The company is respected the world over for its craftmanship – it is in the finals stages of building a 47ft cruising yacht which last week was nominated in the Special Yacht category in the European Yacht of the Year Awards.

Stuart says the company will be recruiting worldwide but also talking to local colleges about apprentices.

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“We have to use a much higher skill set to build our yachts compared with those companies who make composite and carbon fibre boats,” he said.

“We have some of the finest craftsmen in timber in the country on our team. This is one of the best workforces I’ve know – every boat is unique and the team has to have the flexibility to turn their hand to pretty much anything.”

For the full story on Sprit Yachts and its expansion plans, see the Business East Monthly supplement in today’s EADT.