As superyachts go, the new Spirit 111 is somewhat remarkable from the outset. Built by the Suffolk-based shipyard, Spirit 111 is the largest yacht ever to be launched by the Suffolk-based shipyard.

Founded in 1993, Spirit Yachts specialises in traditional wooden boat-building methods, eschewing the use of fibreglass that dominates the industry in favour of sustainably-sourced timber. Designed by Spirit’s Sean McMillan, the 34m yacht is believed to be the largest single-masted wooden yacht built in the UK since the 1930s. 

Spirit Yachts designed the interior in partnership with acclaimed sailboat specialists Rhodes Young Design. The curvaceous, organic layout is truly bespoke, with barely a straight edge in sight. The below decks arrangement is echoed in the shape of the skylights and seating areas up on deck, with the centrepiece of the main saloon being a curved bench and table, around which the plan spirals off. This seating, together with the bed heads, were constructed from American walnut by former Spirit Yachts employees Will Fennell and Ben Jackson; the seating area alone took over 2,000 man-hours to build. 

Jonathan Rhoades describes the client as having ‘an absolute passion for design. The brief was a combination of his love for furniture and organic architecture.’ The forms were partly Inspired by their visit to Arizona’s Antelope Canyon – ‘it the catalyst for the idea of the warm soft flowing walls creating unique focal points within the rooms.’

Rhoades Young’s approach Is Intentionally sculptural, and the skill of Spirit’s team of craftspeople Is In evidence at every junction, twist and joint. The curving ‘S’ of the layout starts with the circular seating and galley area. All doors are concealed and activated via sensors to maintain the smooth, organic lines, with motion detectors replacing light switches. A generous master suite occupies the forward cabin, complete with yet more curved fixtures, while the two guest cabins located at the rear of the plan, and a fourth cabin tucked off the main space. 

In addition to its 450 sq m of sails, the yacht, christened ‘Geist’, has an electric propulsion system that can be charged when under sail. Every component, from air-conditioning, appliances, generators to powered winches, was selected for optimal eco performance, giving the yacht the ability to run at anchor for up to four days without using the generators.

The carefully designed hardware and rigging are all set up for owner-operation, making it a superyacht that can be run without a professional crew, a truly rare thing. §