Building the most eco-friendly yacht in the world. It was an assignment the British Spirit Yachts received loud and clear. For the renowned boat builder however, the superyacht owners wishes were right up their street. Integrating modern technology into classic designs is what has been driving Spirit Yachts for decades. Nevertheless, the Spirit 111 remained a challenging process with exceptional wishes. In more than one way.
More and more owners in the sailing community are rethinking their carbon footprint. An ongoing trend according to managing director at Spirit Yachts, Nigel Stuart: ”Certain owners are approaching us knowing they want an eco-friendly yacht. In these cases, we work with the owners to deliver on their goals and suggest new ways in which we can innovate to make the yacht as sustainable as possible. Other owners come to us knowing they want a Spirit and as discussions evolve they realize what we are capable of and opt for more eco-friendly solutions.”
The extent to which boats are made eco-friendly vary greatly. One owner opts for a near-total self-sufficiency, while others go for fuel efficiency.
"To whatever extent it is, it’s not hard to sell,'” Stuart says. ”Often the eco-friendly option wins on other credentials, such as cost or weight for example. Half the projects in the yard at the moment are electric drive yachts.”
In order to meet the eco-wishes of Spirit 111’s owner, Spirit Yachts collaborated with leading marine and automotive suppliers. ”We analyzed every aspect of the Spirit 111 and asked ourselves if we could approach it in a more sustainable way,” Stuart explains. “The electric propulsion system is the most innovative example. A Torqeedo electric propulsion system, using a 100kW engine, will propel the yacht silently for up to 40nm at eight knots from battery power alone. The propulsion system will regenerate the four BMW lithium battery banks by rotating the propeller shaft whilst the yacht is under sail.
"It is important to the owner that he can spend the majority of his time away from marinas enjoying sailing and anchoring in bays. By using electric propulsion to regenerate the batteries whilst sailing, the yacht will be able to operate for up to four days without having to plug into shore power or start the two onboard generators. When the yacht crosses the Atlantic, as long as there is the adequate wind, she will not need to consume any fossil fuels.”
Not only in the engine room, but also with regard to the interior, Spirit Yachts has made some remarkably durable arrangements.
”She has energy efficient interior systems, lighting and winches, as well as recyclable sails and of course she is built from sustainable timber. The yacht will last 100 years, but if she ever does reach the end of her lifetime, her component parts can be recycled or re-used and her wooden interior and hull can be used for anything from furniture to fencing or even another boat,” according to Stuart.
However, anyone who sees the interior of the yacht will not immediately notice its durability. It is mainly the exceptional design that attracts attention. Everything is rounded. No line is straight. Everything fits seamlessly down to the smallest detail. In collaboration with the external design agency Rhoades Young, the exceptional ideas finally came to life on paper.
"Often interior yacht design is about maximizing the space to provide as much as possible in terms of storage, accommodation etc. Spirit 111 is the opposite; the interior has always been about aesthetic and practicality,” says Stuart. "The curved wooden doors were particularly challenging. Not only creating the shape and fitting the doors, but also the ‘invisible’ door handles. Instead of a conventional handle, the doors have a notch or hole to place your hand in order to operate a sensor that opens the door automatically.”
With all of its eccentric demands, the Spirit 111 may give the impression of not being the most easy yacht to sail. Nothing could be further from the truth. Stuart explains: "Most of our owners lead busy working lives so they dream of being able to get away from it all with their family and friends. Whilst our yachts look detailed and complicated, they are relatively easy to handle, so most Spirit owners go cruising with very little professional help or no crew at all. We strongly believe in encouraging people to go sailing in any way they feel comfortable. Enjoyment out on the water is the most important thing, whether you are an owner-driver with no support or if you have a skipper and full professional crew.’’
Whether the owner and crew will enjoy this Spirit 111 is no longer the question. Beauty, performance and sustainability come together in this 111-meter long high-performance cruiser. The integration of the Sailmon Model E4 Silver Processor purely underlines the wishes of its owner. ”Every element of the Spirit 111 has been chosen because it delivers the highest quality and performance. This is a yacht of no compromise.”