Suffolk-based James Bond yacht builder Spirit wins order for its biggest ever vessel

One of the vessels built by Spirit Yachts.

One of the vessels built by Spirit Yachts.

Luxury yacht company Spirit has secured an order for what will be the biggest sailing yacht yet built at its newly-expanded facility in Ipswich.

A plan showing the deck and profile of the new 34-metre superyacht to be built by Spirit Yachts in I

A plan showing the deck and profile of the new 34-metre superyacht to be built by Spirit Yachts in Ipswich. - Credit: cont

The 34-metre Spirit 111’ model, designed by Spirit chief executive and head designer Sean McMillan, is to be constructed for an unnamed overseas client, with the value of the contract also undisclosed.

Renowned superyacht project manager Jens Cornelsen, of Cornelsen & Partner, has been appointed by the customer to liaise with Spirit Yachts throughout the project, which also marks the Ipswich company’s first partnership with yacht interior design agency Rhoades Young.

Mr McMillan said: “We are delighted to be working with Rhoades Young on Spirit Yachts’ first collaboration with an external design agency.

“By maximising our combined expertise, we have created an aesthetically beautiful, lightweight yacht that will be easy to handle with minimal crew. The end result will be one of the largest, single-masted modern classic wooden yachts ever built in the UK.”

Sean McMillan, chief executive and head designer at Spirit Yachts

Sean McMillan, chief executive and head designer at Spirit Yachts - Credit: Archant


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Rhoades Young director Jonathan Rhoades added: “Spirit Yachts is renowned for its build quality and elegant design, and we are looking forward to working alongside Sean and his team on what is set to be a ground-breaking new project.”

The sloop-rigged Spirit 111’ (111 equating roughly to its length in feet) is scheduled for launch in summer 2019, with construction work starting next month. The customer is said to be an experienced yachtsman who plans to attend superyacht regattas in the Mediterranean, with the vessel to be set up for both cruising and racing with carbon spars, hydraulic winches and an extensive sail wardrobe.

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Innovative features include an electric drive system, supported by four lithium battery banks, which will power the yacht for modest distances or when manoeuvring. Under sail, the system will automatically regenerate the batteries, and with careful consumption the yacht will operate solely under battery power. For longer distance propulsion, the owner has the option of two back-up generators.

Green credentials have been considered throughout, with air conditioning, galley equipment, generators and water heaters all set up to consume the lowest amount of power possible. All equipment has been carefully selected to produce the minimum levels of emissions when in operation and during any future maintenance.

Nigel Stuart, left, managing director, and Sean McMillan, chief executive and head designer, on one

Nigel Stuart, left, managing director, and Sean McMillan, chief executive and head designer, on one of Spirit Yachts' vessels in Ipswich

Its exact length will be 33.9m overall and 24.0m at the waterline, with a beam of 6.4m and a draft of 4.05m. It will have a displacement of 58 tonnes light and 65 tonnes fully laden, and a sail area of 450sq m.

Spirit Yachts was established in 1993, since when it has created nearly 70 wooden sail and power yachts ranging in length from 37 feet to more than 100 feet, most of which have been entirely bespoke projects.

It is perhaps best known for the design and build of the iconic 54-foot yacht on which Daniel Craig sails into Venice in the James Bond film Casino Royale.

An extension to Spirit’s workshops at the Ipswich Haven Marina was officially opend last December, enabling the company to work on yachts of up to 150 feet in length.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, right, performing the official opening ceremony at Spirit Yachts' expanded bo

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, right, performing the official opening ceremony at Spirit Yachts' expanded boatbuilding facility in Ipswich, with, from left, Spirit managing director Nigel Stuart, James Cooper, chief executive of Associated British Ports, and Spriit chief executive and head designer Sean McMillan - Credit: Archant

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