Following the opening of its new facility at the end of 2016, we speak to Spirit Yachts’, the British wooden sail and motoryacht specialist, about its new shed and shipyards’ outlook for the coming year and beyond - including the commissioning of a second superyacht project.
In December, at an exclusive event at its waterside headquarters in Ipswich, Suffolk, Spirit Yachts opened its new shed for business. “We have always had a shed and a partial shed next to it, during the later quarter of 2016 we pulled down the partial shed and rebuilt it,” starts Nigel Stuart, managing director of Spirit Yachts. “Although our old shed was 160ft long, we could never put large yacht in there because we would have no additional capacity for our other projects.”
With the addition of the new hall Spirit Yachts will be able to focus on both the smaller and larger yachts in its offering, which range from 10.5m to 46m in length, as well as increasing its capacity for refit. While Spirit Yachts has recorded greatly improved sales figures for 2016, doubling its 2015 output, the next superyacht project - in addition to 31m S/Y Gaia, launched in 2007 - has eluded the yard.
“We have a large project coming up that I will be able to confirm by the end of February,” continues Stuart. “It’s a 111ft classic sailing yacht, which we are very excited about and can’t wait to getting moving on the next stage.” Stuart reveals that there has been letter of intent signed, a provisional contract and money exchanged to aid towards the development of the project. “I see no reason why it would not go ahead,” he adds.
Stuart reflects that in 2007, when S/Y Gaia was delivered, the industry was experiencing a period of unprecedented growth, fuelled by the vast amounts of disposable income available to yachting clients. “And then it all went wrong,” he says. “Now I am speaking to more and more clients that are saying, ‘2008 was a long time ago’; they are wealthy, they want to enjoy life and while uncertainty remains with Trump, Brexit and so on, they are determined to have a little bit of fun.”