Spirit 111: This sailing art gallery is one of the most sensational yachts ever built
(Article originally published by yachtingworld.com)
A technical masterpiece or a piece of art? The new Spirit 111 is somehow both, and is one of the most remarkable large yachts Toby Hodges has ever sailed.
Powering upwind with green water rushing over the leeward rail, an enormous mahogany-clad wheel in hand and a view of the cleanest flush decks ahead, I couldn’t help but feel this was as good as it gets. This is real big boat sailing, yachting glamour at its finest.
It is tempting to compare this Spirit 111, with her timeless lines and towering sloop rig, to the mighty J Class, which are well known to evoke such rapturous feelings. After all, this is the largest single-masted wooden yacht to be built in Britain since the oldest existing J, Shamrock V, launched in 1930.
However, striking though any initial impressions are, there is so much more to the Ipswich-built Spirit 111 than first meets the eye. It has a multitude of qualities which combine to make it incomparable. In short, this is one of the most sensational yachts ever built.
First, there is the scale of the project. Not only is this one of the largest timber craft constructed on our shores, it is also one of very few yachts of this size capable of being sailed without a professional crew.
Spirit’s new flagship is a technical masterpiece. It is conceived to be one of the most environmentally friendly superyachts to date, a particularly demanding brief which has driven some fascinating solutions for the equipment and engineering throughout.
And finally – yet to my mind fundamentally – this Spirit 111 is an art exhibition, a yacht that takes aesthetics to new heights. The interior, from layout to furniture design to craftsmanship, is unlike anything seen on a boat before.