GEIST Spirit Yachts

  • Inspiration

GEIST has 19 Photos

Profile

Rhoades Young Design News

50m Sailing yacht MERAKI launched at Vitters

50m Sailing yacht MERAKI launched at ...

Similar yachts.

Yacht OCEAN'S SEVEN 2 - Sailing Lifestyle

OCEAN'S SEVEN 2 | From US$ 49,000/wk

  • Yachts >
  • All Yachts >
  • All Sail Boats Over 100ft/30m >

If you have any questions about the GEIST information page below please contact us .

Luxury sailing yacht GEIST is a 33.9m (111'22') performance vessel built by Spirit Yachts and launched in 2020. She can accommodate up to 8 guests in 4 cabins.

NOTABLE FEATURES OF GEIST: ~Regatta-ready performance ~Cutting-edge energy-efficient technology ~One of the largest wooden sailing yachts built for almost a century ~Internationally renowned designers ~Interiors inspired by Antelope Canyon, Arizona ~Unique cocoon-like cabins ~One of the most eco-friendly sailing yachts on the market ~Designed for short-handed sailing ~Air conditioning ~Wi-Fi

The above deck area has a generous flowing cockpit furnished with an abundance of seating: A sofa/sunbed is placed in the forward corners and behind two inward-facing C-shaped sofas and two semi-circular tables for alfresco dining and resting outdoors with hobbies in comfort. The helm controls aft have excellent line-of-sight down the deck, which provides plenty of space for sunbathing, exercise and observation while at anchor.

Below deck, organic shapes are incorporated into the surroundings for a unique interior never before seen aboard a superyacht. Sipo, teak and American walnut are used in the ceiling, wall panelling, floors and furnishing for a seamless effect. The lounge amidships receives plenty of sunshine through the skylight, and the cutting-edge technology uses smart lighting to complement the wooden interior. Light sensors and a GPS clock control the interior brightness so that the difference between interiors lighting and the sunlight strength for the time of the day is minimal.

GEIST Specifications

The galley is combined with the salon for open-plan ease-of-use, with two curving sofas creating a cosy central space for conversation and dining around the circular table. A sofa/daybed is placed on the starboard side of the room, forward of which is the corridor that leads to three of the guest cabins; the final en-suite guest cabin placed aft. Instead of handles, the discreet doors have sensor-activated recesses for an uninterrupted appearance to the natural materials.

Luxury yacht GEIST uses Diesel engines producing 175HP for a top speed of 11 knots and a cruising speed of 8 knots. The Torqeedo electric propulsion system uses a 100kW motor for a total of 8 knots and a range of 40 nautical miles using only battery power. The propulsion system regenerates four BMW lithium battery banks by rotating the propeller shaft whilst under sail.

Yacht Accommodation

The accommodation sleeps a maximum of 4 en-suite cabins: 1 Master suite, 1 VIP stateroom and 2 double cabins. ~ The Master suite and VIP stateroom both have steam-curved timber above the beds. All cabins come with auto-sensor lighting and an en-suite bathroom containing a sink, toilet and shower. ~ S/Y GEIST is capable of being controlled by the Owner only, and a crew is not required.

Amenities and Extras

We do have available further amenity, owner and price information for the 33.9m (111'22') yacht GEIST, so please enquire for more information.

GEIST Disclaimer:

The luxury yacht GEIST displayed on this page is merely informational and she is not necessarily available for yacht charter or for sale, nor is she represented or marketed in anyway by CharterWorld. This web page and the superyacht information contained herein is not contractual. All yacht specifications and informations are displayed in good faith but CharterWorld does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the current accuracy, completeness, validity, or usefulness of any superyacht information and/or images displayed. All boat information is subject to change without prior notice and may not be current.

Quick Enquiry

Sailing Yacht Geist

ERATOSTHENES | From EUR€ 60,000/wk

The 34m Yacht HIGHLAND BREEZE

HIGHLAND BREEZE | From US$ 60,000/wk

The 34m Yacht REE

REE | From US$ 52,000/wk

Please use a modern browser to view this website. Some elements might not work as expected when using Internet Explorer.

  • Landing Page
  • Luxury Yacht Vacation Types
  • Corporate Yacht Charter
  • Tailor Made Vacations
  • Luxury Exploration Vacations
  • View All 3617
  • Motor Yachts
  • Sailing Yachts
  • Classic Yachts
  • Catamaran Yachts
  • Filter By Destination
  • More Filters
  • Latest Reviews
  • Charter Special Offers
  • Destination Guides
  • Inspiration & Features
  • Mediterranean Charter Yachts
  • France Charter Yachts
  • Italy Charter Yachts
  • Croatia Charter Yachts
  • Greece Charter Yachts
  • Turkey Charter Yachts
  • Bahamas Charter Yachts
  • Caribbean Charter Yachts
  • Australia Charter Yachts
  • Thailand Charter Yachts
  • Dubai Charter Yachts
  • Destination News
  • New To Fleet
  • Charter Fleet Updates
  • Special Offers
  • Industry News
  • Yacht Shows
  • Corporate Charter
  • Finding a Yacht Broker
  • Charter Preferences
  • Questions & Answers
  • Add my yacht

Geist Charter Yacht

NOT FOR CHARTER *

This Yacht is not for Charter*

SIMILAR YACHTS FOR CHARTER

View Similar Yachts

Or View All luxury yachts for charter

  • Luxury Charter Yachts
  • Sailing Yachts for Charter
  • Amenities & Toys

GEIST yacht NOT for charter*

33.9m  /  111'3 | spirit yachts | 2020.

Owner & Guests

Cabin Configuration

  • Previous Yacht

Special Features:

  • Multi-award winning
  • 1,430nm range
  • RINA (Registro Italiano Navale) C ✠ HULL ● MACH classification
  • Sleeps 8 overnight
  • 4.2m/13'9" Henshaw Tender

The multi-award winning 33.9m/111'3" sail yacht 'Geist' was built by Spirit Yachts in the United Kingdom. Her interior is styled by design house Rhoades Young and she was delivered to her owner in March 2020. This luxury vessel's exterior design is the work of Sean McMillan.

Guest Accommodation

Geist has been designed to comfortably accommodate up to 8 guests in 4 suites comprising one VIP cabin.

Range & Performance

Geist is built with a wood hull and wood superstructure, with teak decks. Geist comfortably cruises at 8 knots, reaches a maximum speed of 11 knots with a range of up to 1,430 nautical miles from her 2,500 litre fuel tanks at 8 knots. Her water tanks store around 2,000 Litres of fresh water. She was built to RINA (Registro Italiano Navale) C ✠ HULL ● MACH classification society rules.

*Charter Geist Sail Yacht

Sail yacht Geist is currently not believed to be available for private Charter. To view similar yachts for charter , or contact your Yacht Charter Broker for information about renting a luxury charter yacht.

Geist Yacht Owner, Captain or marketing company

'Yacht Charter Fleet' is a free information service, if your yacht is available for charter please contact us with details and photos and we will update our records.

Geist Photos

Geist Awards & Nominations

  • Boat International Design & Innovation Awards 2021 Best Interior Design: Sailing Yachts Winner
  • Boat International Design & Innovation Awards 2021 Eco Award Winner
  • The World Superyacht Awards 2021 Sailing Yacht of the Year Winner
  • The World Superyacht Awards 2021 Sailing Yachts Winner

NOTE to U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Specification

S/Y Geist

SIMILAR LUXURY YACHTS FOR CHARTER

Here are a selection of superyachts which are similar to Geist yacht which are believed to be available for charter. To view all similar luxury charter yachts click on the button below.

Alix charter yacht

31m | Nautor's Swan

from $93,000 p/week ♦︎

CeFeA charter yacht

34m | Solaris Yachts

from $109,000 p/week ♦︎

Crossbow charter yacht

32m | Southern Wind

from $78,000 p/week ♦︎

Fancy charter yacht

33m | Nautor's Swan

from $125,000 p/week ♦︎

MiTi One charter yacht

34m | Oguz Marine

from $65,000 p/week ♦︎

Oracle charter yacht

35m | Custom

from $41,650 p/week

Prenses Esila charter yacht

Prenses Esila

32m | Custom

from $15,000 p/week ♦︎

Rara Avis charter yacht

33m | Custom

from $41,000 p/week ♦︎

Shamanna charter yacht

35m | Nautor's Swan

from $114,000 p/week ♦︎

Solleone charter yacht

from $120,000 p/week ♦︎

Sorvind charter yacht

from $87,000 p/week ♦︎

As Featured In

The YachtCharterFleet Difference

YachtCharterFleet makes it easy to find the yacht charter vacation that is right for you. We combine thousands of yacht listings with local destination information, sample itineraries and experiences to deliver the world's most comprehensive yacht charter website.

San Francisco

  • Like us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Follow us on Instagram
  • Find us on LinkedIn
  • Add My Yacht
  • Affiliates & Partners

Popular Destinations & Events

  • St Tropez Yacht Charter
  • Monaco Yacht Charter
  • St Barts Yacht Charter
  • Greece Yacht Charter
  • Mykonos Yacht Charter
  • Caribbean Yacht Charter

Featured Charter Yachts

  • Maltese Falcon Yacht Charter
  • Wheels Yacht Charter
  • Victorious Yacht Charter
  • Andrea Yacht Charter
  • Titania Yacht Charter
  • Ahpo Yacht Charter

Receive our latest offers, trends and stories direct to your inbox.

Please enter a valid e-mail.

Thanks for subscribing.

Search for Yachts, Destinations, Events, News... everything related to Luxury Yachts for Charter.

Yachts in your shortlist

Boat Gold Coast

buy ar pantaenius insurance

sailing yacht geist

buy bbb riviera festival of boating 2024

sailing yacht geist

buy rx kingpin peg

sailing yacht geist

buy d scibs sanctuary cove boat show ticket sales 2024

sailing yacht geist

buy gold coast city marina

sailing yacht geist

buy granfort yachts

sailing yacht geist

sanctuary cove marina

sailing yacht geist

buy ozwinch marine queensland

sailing yacht geist

buy redlands city marina queensland

sailing yacht geist

buy scubajet dive scooter

sailing yacht geist

buy e airlie summit queensland

sailing yacht geist

buy l ocean arrow marine harpoon boats

sailing yacht geist

buy first mate boat service app gold coast

sailing yacht geist

buy inflatable pontoons

sailing yacht geist

buy jetpilot gold coast life jacket

sailing yacht geist

zzbuy suzuki outboards gold coast

sailing yacht geist

Z go kingpin eco pack

Latest news.

GEIST the 111-foot sloop – OWNER INTERVIEW

GEIST the 111-foot sloop – OWNER INTERVIEW

The sailing yacht GEIST, a 111-foot sloop from the Spirit shipyard in the UK, has now been launched. Looking at the vessel for the first time, it is difficult to discern whether it is indeed a seaworthy yacht or more so a work of art. The owner who commissioned the build, however,  wasn’t seeking to pay homage to the tradition of classic wooden tall ships; GEIST was about shifting standards and generating inspiration for more sustainable actions in yacht building practices. We spoke with the German owner, and Pantaenius customer, about the meaning and spirit of sailing.

THIS MIGHT SEEM OBVIOUS TO SOME, BUT WE’D STILL LIKE TO HEAR THE ANSWER FROM YOU. WHY DO YOU SAIL?

Sailing is so natural to me that I do not really know the answer to that. It is part of my life and was already part of the life of my father, who was very successful sailing dragon boats. The passion has been laid in my cradle, so to speak. I have never not sailed. This has had a lasting effect on me and makes me constantly seek closeness to water and the elements.

GEIST IS THE LARGEST WOODEN YACHT CONSTRUCTED IN THE UK SINCE THE J-CLASS SHAMROCK V WAS BUILT. WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO GO WITH WOOD FOR SUCH A LARGE PROJECT?

The point was to demonstrate what is possible.

Of course, it would be even more sustainable not to build a ship at all, but I am convinced that it is only by continuously challenging established standards that we can bring real innovation to the fore and allow ourselves to live the way we want to, while remaining sustainable. The yacht industry is booming, so why not deliver a vision that shows it can be done differently: that it is possible to build a light, fast, dynamic and elegant vessel that at the same time meets the most modern standards in terms of energy efficiency. Wood has emerged as the perfect material in this regard because it is extremely flexible, noble and versatile, but unlike many other materials, it can be obtained and recycled in a very controlled manner.

ONE OF THE LEADING YACHTING MAGAZINES HAS REPORTED THAT THE YACHT IS ONE OF THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY EVER BUILT. WHAT MAKES GEIST A STANDOUT YACHT FOR YOU?

Actually, the yacht follows very familiar requirements in its basic layout. It is the perfect charter yacht booked by four friends with their partners, but implemented in a very generous space. It offers an excellent overview on deck and always lets you feel the proximity to the water despite her size. For me, the most important thing was that GEIST met these requirements. At some point I realized that sailing together with friends only works if there is enough space on board, because by now everyone has created their own little family.

sailing yacht geist

So the path from my 52-foot Spirit to 111-foot GEIST was, in part, also quite pragmatic. Her elegance, of course, is also a unique quality for me. The shipyard meticulously responded to every one of my wishes and contributed a number of innovative ideas themselves. The interior design is exceptional and there were almost no limits placed on me by the designers during the planning. This is another aspect recognized by people who are passing by.

GEIST has the charm of a wonderful vintage car and at the same time something ultra-modern.

FROM THE BEGINNING, YOU HAD A CLEAR VISION OF WHAT GEIST WAS SUPPOSED TO ACHIEVE IN TERMS OF SUSTAINABILITY. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT VISION?

I wanted to show that it does not have to be a compromise to design a luxury object like a yacht and at the same time measure up to the demands of our time. We cannot pretend we do not know about the impact we have on the planet through our consumerist behaviour.

Yachting in particular, however, still seems pretty divided in this regard. In addition to using recycled and sustainably sourced materials as much as possible, the yacht should avoid fossil fuels whenever feasible and make the best use of available renewable energy.

When we sail, we continuously generate power that is fed back into the batteries. The propulsion system regenerates the battery banks through the rotation of the propeller shaft while the yacht is under sail. For up to four days, the fully charged batteries allow us to use all the yacht’s amenities, including air conditioning and hot water, without needing a generator or shore power. The two built-in generators are actually only due to class conformity and serve as a backup in case of a real system failure. This ambition has made everyone involved go above and beyond and work very closely together. We have been able to reduce the consumption of oil in the hydraulic systems to a minimum, saving not only waste but also weight.

A benchmark that applies to almost every part on board. To be even more efficient, the hydraulics also allow the boat to operate in an eco-mode. Only in emergency situations or during regattas do we fully exploit the possibilities and work in a much faster, but less economical mode. Above all, I want to leave nature as I found it. That is why wastewater is passed through a treatment plant before it is discharged. I think everyone involved challenged each other. Yes, the sustainability aspect was my wish as a client but everyone shared my vision.

THE YACHT IS NOT DESIGNED TO ACCOMMODATE A LARGE CREW. HANDLING AND LAYOUT ARE DESIGNED FOR SHORTHANDED SAILING IN AN ALMOST UNCOMPROMISING WAY. DO YOU ALWAYS SAIL YOURSELF?

The goal was to be able to operate the ship alone with friends and family. I actually prefer to sail myself, but even GEIST cannot do without a professional crew. Maintenance alone requires specialized personnel. However, even here, the technology on board is a great help, because troubleshooting is made possible remotely – thanks to a sophisticated cloudbased monitoring system, similar to that used in modern cars. At the end of the day, of course, the ship should be ready when you want to use it, and unfortunately, I do not spend nearly as much time on board as I would like.

sailing yacht geist

THE WORD COMPROMISE LEADS US TO THE LAST QUESTION: WERE YOU REALLY ABLE TO REALISE EVERYTHING YOU ENVISIONED? MOREOVER, IF SO, WHAT IS THE CONSEQUENCE? ARE YOU EVEN MORE INSPIRED NOW AND ALREADY PLANNING THE NEXT PROJECT?

Of course, it was incredibly complicated. That is probably why many people are afraid of turning their yacht into a supposed million-dollar grave by using new, innovative technologies. However, it really worked better than you might imagine. I have the shipyard to thank for that, but also the project management. Now and then, there were points that were discussed controversially. How narrow can the boom be?

Where can weight be saved? But, as I said before, I never had the feeling that there were different sides in these discussions. Everyone was working towards one goal. This worked so well that some of SY GEIST’s ideas have been established as permanent components of the Spirit program. Especially in the refit area, I think there will be a lot of electrification in the future. My next project is an all-electric and foiling tender in the style of the legendary Bystanders, with a range of 100 nautical miles. I am convinced that there is huge potential for more sustainable designs in yacht building, that are currently only being exploited in rare cases.

As one of the leading yacht insurance specialists, Pantaenius know that every cruising area and every customer has their own individual requirements. Whether motor or sailing yacht, Pantaenius offer Australia’s most comprehensive insurance cover.

www.pantaenius.com.au

Published in print January-March 2023

sailing yacht geist

buy sanctuary cove boat show

sailing yacht geist

find mercury outboards

sailing yacht geist

find yamaha outboards

Share this article, related boats articles.

RAYMARINE PRODUCTS AT HORIZON SHORES

RAYMARINE PRODUCTS AT HORIZON SHORES

Aqualuma = Bright Light, Low Current, Long Life

Aqualuma = Bright Light, Low Current, Long Life

SIRENA YACHTS ADDS SUPERYACHTS TO ITS ESTABLISHED RANGE

SIRENA YACHTS ADDS SUPERYACHTS TO ITS ESTABLISHED RANGE

Loading, please wait.

  • Yachts for sale
  • Yachts for charter
  • Brokerage News

Spirit 111 Sailing Yacht Geist sets sail on her maiden voyage

  • Spirit 111 Sailing Yacht Geist sets sail on her maiden voyage
  • Yacht Harbour

sailing yacht geist

sailing yacht geist

Latest News

Ferretti Group Unveils Modernized La Spezia Shipyard in Grand Ceremony

SPIRIT 111 GEIST SCOOPS DOUBLE AWARDS WIN

Launched in summer 2020, the Spirit 111 Geist has been awarded two accolades in the recent Design & Innovation Awards.

Designed for an international owner, who set Spirit Yachts the task of creating a “work of art”, Geist won Best Sailing Yacht Interior and the Eco Award.

Organisers of the awards, Boat International, commented, “Innovative and stunning are words that just touch the surface when it comes to one of the most bespoke yachts we have seen. Following the directive for organic shapes and no straight lines, Rhoades Young and Spirit Yachts have created a yacht interior that truly flows.”

The award winners were chosen by a panel of 15 independent judges, all of whom are yacht designers and industry professionals.

Boat International continued, “The all-wood interior hides all systems, support and structural elements – indeed all storage, too – behind a gleaming curvaceous façade of clear-finished Sipo, which forms the interior skin of this cold-moulded yacht. There is no reliance on loose designer furniture or decorative elements. Light, shadow and sensuous shapes define a saloon and four staterooms that seem simply to unfold like a dream. As evidenced by the fact the yard had to invent a new way to steam-bend walnut for the furniture, the joinery skills and labour hours needed to execute this interior are off the chart.”

At 33.9m long, Geist has a fully laden displacement of 65tonnes and is the largest, wooden sloop built in the UK since the J-Class yacht Shamrock V in the 1930s. The yacht’s completely customised, hand-crafted interior is a series of seamless curves made from sustainably sourced timber.

Spirit Yachts CEO and Head of Design Sean McMillan commented, “As well as looking like a “work of art”, the interior of the yacht also had to comply to RINA’s (Royal Institute of Naval Architects) exacting classification requirements. This marriage of practicality, safety and beauty to deliver on the owner’s brief made the project a thrilling challenge. We are delighted the creativity, innovation and craftsmanship that went into delivering a yacht of this calibre have been recognised by such a prestigious panel of judges.”

As well as the award for Best Sailing Yacht Interior, Geist won the Eco Award.

Spirit Yachts Managing Director and Head of Operations Karen Underwood commented, “The owner was very clear he wanted to spend longer periods of time at anchor and that the yacht had to be mindful of the environment. At the start of the project, we analysed the yacht in three phases: the build, operation and end of life. This approach ensured we challenged ourselves and our suppliers to deliver bespoke solutions to lower the carbon footprint at each stage of the design and construction.”

The Spirit 111 has a Torqeedo electric drive system that regenerates the batteries via propulsion whilst the yacht is sailing. All onboard systems were selected to work holistically and consume the minimum amount of power possible. On deck, the yacht has recyclable OneSails 4T Forte sails and energy efficient Lewmar hydraulic deck hardware.

Find out more about the Spirit 111 here.

RELATED ARTICLES

Spirit 111’ reaches the pivotal hull rollover stage.

As one of the largest single-masted wooden yachts to be built since the 1930’s, at 34m long and with a beam of 6.4m, the Spirit 111’ was the biggest rollover we have ever undertaken.

ELEGANT DESIGNS FOR LANDMARK 111’ REVEALED

With unrivalled elegance throughout, the Spirit 111’ will ooze style, boast unprecedented eco credentials and will be one of a few superyachts capable of sailing without a professional crew due to its innovative deck arrangement.

SPIRIT YACHTS LAUNCHES FLAGSHIP SPIRIT 111 SUPERYACHT

The 34m Spirit 111 is one of the largest, single-masted wooden yachts ever built in the UK

STAY IN THE LOOP

" * " indicates required fields

Yachting World

  • Digital Edition

Yachting World cover

Spirit 111: This sailing art gallery is one of the most sensational yachts ever built

  • Toby Hodges
  • September 29, 2020

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.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-cockpit-credit-Richard-Langdon

Toby enjoys all the space to himself at the deep, secure helm. The cockpit seems like it is sculpted from a tree; the tables lower to form sunbeds. Photo: Richard Langdon / Ocean Images

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.

Article continues below…

sailing yacht geist

Inside J Class yacht Svea – what it’s really like to race on board the newest member of the fleet

Svea, the newest addition to the now nine-strong J Class fleet, is one of the most outstanding new yachts of…

spirit-yachts-history-yard-credit-emily-harris

Spirit Yachts: Inside the British yard behind some of the world’s most beautiful boats

For more than 25 years Spirit Yachts has been melting the hearts of yachtsmen with its distinctive range of wood…

Bespoke brief

Geist , German for ghost or spirit, is “a project for someone who wanted to do something different from the norm,” confirms Spirit’s managing director, Nigel Stuart. This someone is a young European owner in his mid-thirties, who already has a Spirit 52 , but wanted something larger.

The result of his clear vision is a celebration of bespoke design and engineering. Going below decks feels like walking into a gallery. As long as you can put practicality aside, it’s a mind-boggling, fantastical experience.

The initial design started at 90ft, but in a clue to the importance of aesthetics, got stretched an additional 20ft to ensure the most appealing lines. A skipper will help maintain the yacht, but while on board the owner wants to sail it himself. There isn’t even accommodation for crew. Many of us who view private time aboard our boats as sacrosanct may understand such a request, but it is rarely seen on this scale.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-winch-credit-Richard-Langdon

Hoisting the code sail – but most operations are done with the push of a button. Photo: Richard Langdon / Ocean Images

Our trial sail proved that such self-sufficiency really is possible, with most operations able to be carried out from the helm pedestal.

Sound of silence

I joined Geist at Endeavour Quay, Gosport, a significant venue for it was here, under the yard’s former owner, Camper & Nicholsons, that the British J Class yachts were built in the 1930s.

Leaving port is a smooth, peaceful affair. As we glided silently away from the dock and entered the bustle of Portsmouth Harbour, the only detectable noise on board came from the turning of the prop or the whir of a hydraulic pump.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-running-shot-side-view-credit-Mike-Jones-Waterline-Media

‘She handled full sail up with delicious ease.’ Photo: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

The Torqeedo electric drive is always ready for instant activation, with no pre-heat needed and no throttle lag. Just push the lever. This is particularly handy if you need a quick burst of power to help the bows through the wind or to clear an obstruction while under sail. Spirit has also fitted a power on/off button, a sensible safety measure to avoid accidental operation.

Hoisting sail is equally without fuss. It involves using one finger on a portable remote control to instruct the boom mandrel to unfurl the main, and another to direct the main halyard to pull the sail up the four-spreader carbon mast.

As the genoa released, I let the bows fall off a little and Geist powered up gracefully. What a feeling!

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-aerial-view-credit-Mike-Jones-Waterline-Media

‘You need to adjust your mindset aboard this yacht.’ Photo: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

We were treated to a proper sea trial of an elegant large yacht. Sailing upwind at 10-11.5 knots and back down at 12-14 knots makes the Solent seem pretty small. It is a delight in both directions, but particularly on the breeze with a rail awash and 23-27 knots blowing over the decks.

Sheeting off a bit of main in gusts is done via the push of another button to release the captive mainsheet or drop the traveller down the rail. It all seemed so manageable considering the sail area aloft. These are the largest sails yet produced by the OneSails UK loft and use its 4T Forte technology, a recyclable performance cloth.

It was also the most breeze Geist had sailed in and we kept full sail up for the duration. She handled it all with delicious ease as we worked our way through the deeper parts of the Solent.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-sail-locker-credit-Richard-Langdon

Traditional overhangs surrender lots of space over modern designs, but there is good stowage in two huge lazarette lockers. Two road legal electric motorbikes store in the starboard locker. Photo: Richard Langdon / Ocean Images

In its own class

It is easy to fall into the trap of comparing this Spirit to a J Class. I’ve been lucky enough to sail a few Js, including the three built at Camper & Nicholsons that are still afloat today. But there are fundamental differences.

Js are traditional long-keelers that are three times the weight of Geist . They are stubborn, awkward yachts to handle and certainly need a large crew who know their salt. If the helmsman doesn’t work in harmony with the mainsail trimmer, for example, a recalcitrant J will refuse to turn.

Not so the Spirit. This is a lightweight composite machine, a speedster in comparison, complete with T-keel, a carbon spade rudder and direct steering. If you have sailed a Spirit before, you will know they are highly rewarding on the wheel and the Spirit 111 is no different. It’s balanced and delightfully direct.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-plotter-credit-Richard-Langdon

Angled panels house the plotters and controls for the hydraulics and electronics. Photo: Richard Langdon / Ocean Images

This Spirit 111 is perhaps more comparable to the Js when it comes to use of technology . The original J Class owners were known for pushing innovation in their quest for America’s Cup spoils. Spirit Yachts has done the same here, with a focus on ease of operation and environmental efficiency.

Geist ’s highly technical construction uses wood epoxy on stainless steel space frames to ensure a stiff structure for a light displacement under 60 tonnes. The majority of this weight has been kept central and low down, with little to weigh down the 40ft of overhangs, which all equates to a high righting moment and ballast ratio (45%).

The times when I was left alone in the cockpit, with 80ft or so of flush deck up ahead and all that sail area above, were particularly exhilarating and I started to understand the owner’s desire to sail short-handed.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-batteries-credit-Mike-Bowden

The high-voltage lithium battery bank is mounted on shock absorbers. Photo: Mike Bowden

With the push-button controls making it a doddle to trim, and backwinding winches making it easier and safer to ease high loads, in fact Geist is more analogous to an overgrown daysailer than a J, which is more appropriate given the owner’s brief.

Where Js are bewitching to sail upwind, modern performance boats are all about the downwind thrills. The Spirit 111 gives you a taste of both, making you crave every minute on the helm.

Once past Cowes, we hoisted the furling code sail. Manhandling such a large sail, combined with the occasional groan from a loaded winch, were telling reminders of Geist ’s size and power. But once set and trimmed, the cableless sail helped generate that sportsboat feel, especially when we had the sea room to heat it up a little.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-aft-running-shot-credit-Mike-Jones-Waterline-Media

Wine glass transom and the beautiful classic lines of Geist . Photo: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

Hand crafted wonder

The credit for Geist ’s timeless lines and her balance under sail goes to Spirit’s co-founder Sean McMillan, who has drawn all the Spirit yachts to date. He has also built up a team of world-class craftsmen in his Ipswich yard.

Look anywhere around Geist ’s deck and you’ll be struck by the hand-built details. Around her flush aft deck, for example, you’ll notice the eyelet fairleads in the transom, the way the bulwark curves around her pushpit and the perfect angle of the ensign staff. This is the type of deck jewellery Spirit specialises in. But the real showpiece aboard Geist is reserved for below decks.

I cannot think of another yacht that is so impressive on the outside, so thrilling and memorable to sail, yet the interior is even more striking.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-interior-credit-Mike-Jones-Waterline-Media

The saloon seating is made from strips of 10x10mm American walnut, steam-bent into shape, and took 2,000 hours to build. Photo: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

The owner had visited Antelope Canyon in Arizona and drew inspiration from its famously smooth, flowing sandstone shapes, the light beams and reflections. The resultant S-shaped layout of Geist ’s interior, with its free-flowing curves and sculptural furniture, is nothing short of an artistic wonderland.

The saloon table and surround seating, floodlit by a fanlight of glass in the coachroof above, is the centrepiece of the yacht. Artistic simplicity like this is incredibly hard to achieve.

There are only two vertical bulkheads on the boat and only three different types of timber used: sipo (mahogany) bulkheads, teak soles and American walnut furniture. The sipo has all been cut from one log to ensure matching grain throughout, which makes for a magnificent sight.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-interior-detail-credit-Mike-Jones-Waterline-Media

Saloon seating detail. Photo: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

For the first time Spirit used an independent design agency, Rhoades Young, who came up with the novel layout and drew the capstan-style table. This table has 64 wooden legs, all of which are curved, each with slightly different measurements.

Two former Spirit employees, Will Fennell and Ben Jackson, fashioned the artistic steam-bent seating. This exquisitely detailed design feature, which is also replicated on the bedheads in the owner’s and VIP cabins, “blurs the line between furniture and sculpture,” declares Jonathan Rhoades.

Initially the galley was designed to join this table and seating arrangement, however the owner didn’t want anything to detract from the centrepiece. Even now all galley elements are hidden below the countertop and inside lockers.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-galley-sink-credit-Mike-Jones-Waterline-Media

Galley sink in yellow metal. Photo: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

Visuals first

Aesthetics, you quickly learn, trump all else on Geist . The owner didn’t want to see door handles, so Spirit used sensor-activated latches. Placing a finger across the recessed sensor triggers the latch (and yes, if you lose power, the doors all open automatically).

The joiners have managed to match the grain on these bowed-out sections to the rest of the bulwark, thereby camouflaging the handle recesses by maintaining a contoured look. The result is that you can’t see any cabins from the saloon, or even their doors, just an undulating maze of mahogany.

“This is someone who really knows what he wants as the overall picture,” Stuart comments.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-saloon-table-credit-Mike-Jones-Waterline-Media

The capstan table has 64 legs, each one a slightly different shape and measurement. Photo: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

The sofa to starboard appears to float, seemingly growing out of the side of the hull. Above this a panel can be removed to reveal the sailing instruments and electronics that would typically be at the navstation. These screens are hidden away when the yacht is at rest.

The shadow gaps in the panels and joiner work are so precise you can’t see where lockers are built in. Were it not pointed out to me I’d never have noticed the door opposite the owner’s cabin, which leads into a large mechanical room.

There are no discernible fixings, no plumbing visible in the four ensuite heads. The owner didn’t even want the heads to be seen. Lift the solid timber lid of a heads and you’ll find sections for loo roll and a brush neatly built-in and concealed. It’s precision craftsmanship to the very last detail.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-saloon-credit-Mike-Jones-Waterline-Media

Interior lighting adjusts automatically to match the conditions. Photo: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

There are no visible light switches either. The lighting uses a network of motion-activated and light-sensitive sensors. If it goes cloudy above the saloon fanlight windows, the interior light adjusts accordingly. It ensures there are no big differences in brightness between outside and in, matching the soft yellow natural light in the morning or a golden evening glow.

At night, motion sensors activate floor lighting to guide you. These are intelligent, so they are designed to light the way to the heads if you move in that direction from your berth. “If a guest starts to go elsewhere in the interior, the system will deduce which way they are going and light the relevant areas in a very soft warm light,” Stuart explains. It’s like being aboard a wooden spaceship.

The banality of practicality

Most sailors will naturally question the practicality issues aboard Geist . Can you imagine setting your mug of tea down on that table? Or being at heel and sliding across the near 20ft of beam from galley to navstation sofa? Unfortunately, were you to do so, you might connect with one of the only hard edges on the boat on the aft end of the saloon seating!

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-master-cabin-credit-Mike-Jones-Waterline-Media

The showstopping berth, a nest within an egg, in the master cabin. All furniture appears to float. Photo: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

The fear of damaging the woodwork might drive you to distraction. And with the elaborate open spaces of the saloon and so much volume lost in the overhangs, Geist is comparatively compact below. There are only four cabins and no crew accommodation at all.

However, you need to adjust your mindset aboard this yacht. The rules of practicality do not govern art. They’re not something the owner of a seven-cum-eight figure yacht such as this should necessarily be concerned with.

“Sean [McMillan] and I had pointed out the total impracticalities along the way,” says Stuart. “The owner could understand it – he loves racing his Spirit 52 and understands sailing boats.”

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-heads-credit-Mike-Jones-Waterline-Media

The mahogany trim continues in the heads, with sinks machined out of the same wood. Photo: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

The owner did concede elements might need to be added at a later date to make Geist more practical, says Stuart, but initially he didn’t want anything to detract from the visuals.

“It’s not that Spirit can’t do practical. We’re just delivering on his brief,” Stuart points out. This project certainly shows just how customised a custom yacht really can be.

Eco collaboration

A key priority was to make the yacht as environmentally friendly as possible. The shell of Geist is built using responsibly sourced timber and the yacht is dressed with recyclable sails, but it’s the power system that forms the heart of her green credentials.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-guest-cabin-credit-Mike-Jones-Waterline-Media

One of the two ensuite aft guest cabins The panel on the right removes for interior access to the engine room. Photo: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

The 100kW electric motor can propel Geist silently for 30 miles at 8 knots using high-voltage battery power alone. The propeller regenerates power to the four 40kWh BMW battery banks while sailing too. This makes it possible to run for four days without needing to start a generator or plug into shorepower.

“When the yacht crosses the Atlantic, as long as there is adequate wind, she will not need to consume any fossil fuels,” Stuart predicts. During her initial delivery trips, Geist has averaged 11-13 knots under sail, at which speed she consistently regenerates 3kW.

Two 25kW Torqeedo gensets are installed, but these are for class compliance purposes and will be used only as a back-up to the electric system. “The owner said to go as far as we can while making it reliable,” Stuart explains.

spirit-111-superyacht-geist-sail-plan

Mounted above the electric drive is a Lewmar Vortex reservoir, a system that reduces hydraulic oil needs (and therefore waste) by 90%. It requires just 25lt of oil, giving a weight saving of over 50% over a traditional power pack. The hydraulics can operate in eco mode for lowest battery consumption and have fast cruise or race options.

Meanwhile, the air-conditioning uses a variable-speed compressor, which ensures it can be run overnight without needing generator power.

The hot water employs a highly efficient on-demand system, which minimises wasted water and energy, and Cryogel insulation is used for the refrigeration to ensure low temperature holding for minimal power.

The main engine room space is particularly well-laid-out, with access from the deck or interior, and contains a sewage treatment plant to ensure waste water is clean.

A spirited vessel

I have been fortunate enough to sail many large yachts. Some look striking, sail particularly handsomely or are easy to manage.

Others have standout interiors or the craftsmanship shines above all else. And, latterly, it has been heartening to see more superyachts with an eco-friendly slant.

But I have never seen or sailed a yacht that has so many of these attributes wrapped into one exquisitely elegant, unique and extrovertly custom package. Aboard Geist , art has successfully married with technology and created something truly stunning.

Specification

LOA: 33.9m (111ft 3in) LWL: 24.0m (78ft 9in) Beam: 6.40m (21ft 0in) Draught: 4.05m (13ft 3in) Displacement (light): 58 tonnes (127,867lb) Sail area: 450m2 (4,844ft2)

First published in the October 2020 issue of Yachting World.

an image, when javascript is unavailable

  • Motorcycles
  • Car of the Month
  • Destinations
  • Men’s Fashion
  • Watch Collector
  • Art & Collectibles
  • Vacation Homes
  • Celebrity Homes
  • New Construction
  • Home Design
  • Electronics
  • Fine Dining
  • Les Marquables de Martell
  • Mira Villas
  • Panther National
  • Reynolds Lake Oconee
  • Wynn Las Vegas
  • 672 Wine Club
  • Sports & Leisure
  • Health & Wellness
  • Best of the Best
  • The Ultimate Gift Guide

5 Beautiful Wooden Boats That Blend Classic Design With Modern Technology

Now that's good wood., michael verdon, michael verdon's most recent stories.

  • The Billionaire Space Race Is About to Heat Up Again—Here’s What You Need to Know
  • Brabus’s New Flagship Is a Loud, Speedy 45-Foot Dayboat. We Hopped Onboard.
  • Taylor Swift Flew 178,000 Miles Last Year, and This College Student Can Show You Where
  • Share This Article

Geist by Spirit

From one of the largest single-masted wooden sailing yachts in the UK to a mahogany 30-footer with an Art Deco–themed interior, this quartet of vessels showcases just what’s possible with timber, the most classic of boatbuilding materials.

sailing yacht geist

The 111-foot Geist , launched last July by Spirit , is the largest single-masted wooden sailing yacht built in the UK since the 1930s, when the America’s Cup yacht Shamrock V ruled the seas. But Geist is much more than a giant sloop. Her eco-conscious owner mandated systems like the first-of-its-kind electric propulsion by Torqeedo—a 100 kw motor fed by BMW lithium-ion battery banks, which recharge while Geist is sailing—while her Rhoades Young interior elevates wood to its maximum potential, showing off sustainably sourced sipo mahogany, teak and walnut in a series of continuously flowing curves. Even her sails are made of recyclable materials.

Navy Destroyer

sailing yacht geist

Hacker Boat Company traces its roots to John Hacker, who crafted boats for the rich and famous during the Roaring Twenties. The Ticonderoga, N.Y., facility builds modern triple-cockpit runabouts that nonetheless appear straight from the docks of J. D. Rockefeller. The recently launched Restless is a custom project, a modern thoroughbred based on the 1923 Miss APBA race boat; she uses a foot pedal rather than a throttle for acceleration, on her way to a top speed of 65 mph. The Hacker team achieved the striking navy hull by combining a double-planked mahogany layup with a fiberglass skin, while the owners chose the same Cuoio leather favored by Ferrari to pair with the boat’s mahogany topsides.

sailing yacht geist

Jakob Boesch built his first boat in the 1890s, and more than a century later his family continues to merge new technologies with old-world Swiss craftsmanship. Boesch ’s new, 28-foot 860 has a classically styled mahogany hull with up to 11 layers of wood laid at right angles, sealed with six layers of epoxy and finished with six layers of varnish. Propulsion choices include modern options like twin 150 kw electric engines for quiet, emissions-free operation. The runabout’s meticulously crafted silhouette disguises a beast of a machine designed for precise handling, tow sports and speed. Equipped with twin 380 hp Ilmor gas engines, the 860 can hit 48 mph, leaving fiberglass towboats in its wake.

Fiber Class

CW Hood 57 built by Lyman-Morse in Thomaston Maine.

Unlike the rest of the list, the Hood 57 LM isn’t a proper wooden boat. The hull is what manufacturer Lyman-Morse calls “wood composite,” a combination of strip-planked fir and fiberglass, though its 1950s New England look—including the superstructure’s teak veneer—and pioneering construction suggest the potential for a modern-retro segment; it offers high-tech features such as a carbon-fiber flybridge roof and electric windows. A tough, lightweight boat designed to run offshore, its twin 1350 Volvo IPS pod drives deliver a top speed of 43 mph, while the interior, with its open salon and two generous staterooms, is as spacious as any fiberglass competitor.

sailing yacht geist

Van Dam , which has been building mahogany boats since 1977, moved away from traditional 1920s-style runabouts to focus on original designs such as Catnip . The 30-footer has an Art Deco–themed interior, with stunning metalwork—including an array of semicircular gauge housings, windshield frames with slatted openings and a mirror-like stainless rudder—complementing an expanse of varnished mahogany. With twin 385 hp Ilmor inboards, Catnip has a top end of 57 mph, and since Van Dam won’t build any boat twice, she’s also unique.

Read More On:

More marine.

K Superyacht Concept

This New 131-Foot Superyacht Concept Brings High Architecture to the High Seas

ISA Yachts Viper 120

ISA Unveils a Trio of Sleek New Superyachts

WiderCat 92

Wider Yachts Is Debuting a 92-Foot Hybrid Catamaran at the Venice Boat Show—Here’s a First Look

An orca in the ocean

Killer Whales Sunk a 50-Foot Sailing Yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar

magazine cover

Culinary Masters 2024

MAY 17 - 19 Join us for extraordinary meals from the nation’s brightest culinary minds.

Give the Gift of Luxury

Latest Galleries in Marine

K Superyacht Concept

K Superyacht in Photos

Superyacht Home by Heesen

Meet ‘Home,’ the Sleek 164-Foot Superyacht That Starred in ‘Below Deck’

More from our brands, exclusive: dior names charlize theron as jewelry and skin care ambassador, no a’s in attendance: oakland trails a whopping 553 u.s. teams, ‘mothers’ instinct’ set for china theatrical release (exclusive), artist joseph awuah-darko accuses kehinde wiley of sexual assault, the best yoga mats for any practice, according to instructors.

Quantcast

ProBoat.com

Professional BoatBuilder Magazine

The esprit of spirit yachts.

By Nic Compton , Sep 29, 2023

sailing yacht geist

The sleek 52′ (15.85m) Flight of Ufford, launched in 2007, was campaigned hard and successfully by Spirit Yachts cofounder Sean McMillan. The traditionally styled wood/epoxy sloop has become the yard’s most popular model to date.

T he James Bond movie franchise has never shied from any chance to include a yacht in the narrative and as part of the set. And given the urgent nature of the glamorous secret agent’s business, these have tended to be fast powerboats, starting with the Fairey Huntresses and Huntsmen in  From  Russia With Love  (1963) through to the Glastron GT150 speedboat, which performed a spectacular 120 ‘  (36.6m) leap in  Live and Let Die  (1973), and a clutch of Sunseekers in subsequent films. In 2006, while filming  Casino  Royale , the filmmakers decided to do something a bit different. Alongside their usual high-velocity petrol-fueled fare, they featured a sailing yacht: a 54 ‘  (54 ‘  9 “ /16.7m) sloop with a long counter stern and seemingly acres of flawless varnish, which James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) sailed into Venice during a romantic interlude in the film.

Cast in the enviable role was the Spirit 54 designed and built by British boatbuilders Spirit Yachts, located in Ipswich, Suffolk, on the east coast of England. And if that wasn’t enough notoriety for the somewhat obscure custom builder, the producers repeated the trick in the 2021  No Time to Die , this time using a Spirit 46 (46 ‘  6 “ / 14.15m) sailing yacht for James Bond to sail around Jamaica during his “retirement” scenes.

sailing yacht geist

The 54′ (16.7m) Soufrière was built for the 2006 James Bond franchise movie Casino Royale. Her brief appearance in the film making her way up the Grand Canal in Venice added the cachet of an international luxury brand to Spirit’s already sterling reputation as a yacht builder.

The pairing was in many ways a marriage made in heaven. Just as James Bond has come to symbolize the aspirational best of British wit, style, and appetite for adventure, Spirit Yachts offers the best in bespoke sailboats, combining high-performance modern hulls with a classic aesthetic and a price on par with Bond’s generous expense account. The formula has inspired a devoted following and led to a unique line of yachts, steadily increasing in size over the years, from the original 37-footer (11.5m) built in 1993 to its biggest creation so far, the 111 ‘  (33.8m)  Geist , launched in 2020.

Spirit Yachts is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023, so it seemed the perfect time to visit its expanded boatyard facility in Ipswich, where Spirit has become an increasingly important part of the regeneration of the disused docks and looks set to play an even bigger role as plans for a company-centered boatbuilding university take shape. The year started with the announcement of a major management reshuffle. Founder and chief designer Sean McMillan (now 72) is in effect taking semiretirement, handing ownership to a consortium of Spirit yacht owners and the day-to-day running of the company to Management Director Karen Underwood and the office’s newest recruit, Production & Design Director Julian Weatherill.

sailing yacht geist

McMillan at the drafting table.

Yet the first person I see when I walk through the office door is McMillan, looking as suave and relaxed as James Bond himself, and bearing a roll of drawings for his latest design. No surprises there. Spirit Yachts has always been inextricably linked with this former-art-student-turned-boat-bum-turned-boatbuilder-turned-company-director. It turns out that he’s staying on as a consultant for the next three years, before fully retiring from the scene. Though it seems to me unlikely that will ever really happen.

“Sean is hanging on to the bits he likes [the designing] and letting go of the bits he doesn’t like [running a busy boatyard],” says Underwood, with a cheerful chuckle. She has worked in the marine industry for the past 25 years (including 15 years at Oyster Marine), and you get the feeling the company is in very safe hands.

She and McMillan are meeting a client at 11 a.m., so after a lengthy chat, newly promoted Marketing Director Helen Porter shows me around the yard. “We’ve had both sheds full of new builds for the past three years, catching up with pent-up demand after COVID,” she says. “We’ve had three 72s, one 68, one 52, and two 30s. We’ve now finally got space to take on some refurbishment projects, one for a couple who has been waiting a couple of years. The 52 in-build over there is Spirit hull number 80—or Sean’s 100th boat, if you include the ones he built before Spirit Yachts.”

sailing yacht geist

A Spirit 72 in the busy yard in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, last June. At the time, the 30-year-old company was building its 80th hull.

It’s all a long way from the cottage in Saxmundham, about 18 miles (29 km) north of Ipswich, where I visited McMillan and his then-business-partner, Mick Newman, in 1994. They had just built their first boat, the Spirit 37, in a disused cowshed at the back of Newman’s house, and I had come to interview them and take photos of the boat for what would turn out to be the first-ever test sail of a Spirit yacht. Not that any of us had the slightest inkling of what was to come.

It all seemed to be a bit of a laugh. Sean had already had his fingers badly burned when his company, McMillan Yachts, had gone bust in the global financial crisis a few years earlier. Those boats were strip-planked gaffers, usually with modern underwater hull shapes and fancy joinery that fairly shouted out, “I am a wooden boat!”

“I was already playing with the visual joke about having a traditional-looking boat which is very modern below the waterline,” McMillan says. Not everyone got the joke, however, and after building a dozen boats, the company ground to a halt.

Back in ’94, he had joined forces with Newman—a former barge sailor—to create something completely different. The original Spirit 37 was inspired by the skerry cruisers of the Baltic, with their improbably tall rigs designed to catch the wind blowing over the tops of the flat islands, and their long, narrow hulls for optimum speed rather than comfort. But the new partners wanted to push the type to its limit by building the boat in super-lightweight materials and with a modern underwater shape—that McMillan joke again.

sailing yacht geist

The first Spirit 37 (11.5m) was built in 1994, inspired by the tall-rigged skerry cruisers but with a modern hullform. She sailed beautifully and spurred multiple orders for boats of the same type and form.

The Beginning of Spirit Yachts

The first Spirit 37 was by any standards an extraordinary boat. With her long overhangs and narrow 7 ‘  (2.1m) beam, she looked superficially like a classic yacht from the 1920s, but underwater her bulb keel and skeg rudder told a more contemporary story. A judicious use of modern materials—including a strip-planked hull sheathed with fiberglass set in WEST System epoxy—meant the boat turned out exceptionally light: just 2 tons (4,000 lbs/1,814 kg), with an impressive 60% ballast/displacement ratio. It had a retro-looking fractional rig with knocked-back mast (curved aft at the top) combined with a modern-looking T-section boom and full-battened mainsail. The double cockpit and modern deck fittings suggested she was a serious racing boat, while the black walnut trim set it all off to dramatic aesthetic effect. Below decks, the boat had only sitting headroom, despite her 37 ‘  length, and the fit-out was stylish but spartan.

sailing yacht geist

The Spirit company logo, a distiller’s retort flask, is set in the deck of the Spirit 52 Oui Fling

The pair named the boat the Spirit 37, not from any spiritual conviction but due to the volume of spirits consumed during her construction—hence the distiller’s retort flask in the logo. They had considered calling her the Hashish 37, but wisely decided against that in the end.

On the water, the boat proved nothing short of spectacular, clocking 11.7 knots on that first trial (a record she would take many years to break) and as light and responsive on the helm as an overgrown dinghy. She was every bit the fun boat McMillan and Newman had intended, but at that time she was a complete anomaly. The Spirit of Tradition class had yet to be created, and there were only a handful of identifiable “modern classics” in existence—mostly big cruising boats from the boards of Bruce King and André Hoek.

“[Back then] we were whistling in the dark,” McMillan later told me. “We had no idea whether there was a ‘retro’ movement or not. We just built the boat we wanted, which was fun and of a size we could relate to. Luckily, it struck a chord.”

sailing yacht geist

The Spirit 46 Reprobate reveals the modern bulb keel and spade rudder that contribute to her remarkable turn of speed as she sails hard on the wind.

The Spirit 37 was one of the standout boats at the Düsseldorf boat show in January 1995 and was quickly snapped up by a German buyer, who sailed her for the next 25 years. The company also received two orders for 33 ‘  (10.1m) versions of the boat that would satisfy size restrictions on European lakes. Since then, Spirit Yachts hasn’t looked back.

The 37 was followed in 1996 by the 46 (14m), complete with carbon fiber mast, teak decks, and a serious turn of speed, reaching 18 knots on plane (though, according to my notes, McMillan claims he once got 26 knots out of a 46). Ten 37s were eventually built, as well as a dozen 46s. McMillan is keen to emphasize that no two Spirit yachts are identical, as they are all custom built, and even the 37 has three slightly different hull shapes, never mind the various interiors and deck layouts.

The year 1996 was a significant milestone in another way: it was the first time the Antigua Classics featured a dedicated class for modern classic yachts, and by a happy coincidence it named that class Spirit of Tradition. The Mediterranean classic-yacht circuit eventually followed suit in 2003. Suddenly it seemed that Spirit Yachts’ eccentric foray into imaginative boat design was not so contrary after all and was in fact on the leading edge of a new and growing movement. The bad boys of British boatbuilding were trendsetters in a glittering new vein of yachting.

Crucial to all this was McMillan’s background in fine art, for while he is just as concerned with performance and seaworthiness as other designers are, it is his willingness to take aesthetic risks that has set him apart in what is an intrinsically conservative industry.

sailing yacht geist

After her role in the Bond film, Soufrière collected real-world silver racing in Ireland and at the Classics Week in Cowes.

“I take the view that yacht design is an art with science applied,” he says. “You have to have an instinctive understanding of how the hull moves through water. I gained that by sailing tens of thousands of miles as a delivery skipper, by leaning over the side of the boat and watching the hull, by getting more curious and studying hydrodynamics, and by going out and doing it. Some of the boats were great, and some not so great, but I learned a lot along the way.”

Despite its growing success, the business remained in the old cowshed behind Newman’s house until 2003, when they had to erect a temporary extension to build a 70-footer (21.3m), which was a full 10 ‘  (3.1m) longer than the shed itself. That was the final straw, and the following year the company moved to bigger premises at the old docks in Ipswich.

sailing yacht geist

The slightly shorter Spirit 52 was spun out of that success, including the flush-decked Spirit of Tradition racing machine Oui Fling.

Bond Effect

If you had to imagine what a James Bond sailing yacht would look like, it would probably be a modern classic with exaggerated hull lines and a generous helping of shiny deck gear. So, it was almost an inevitability that sooner or later Spirit Yachts’ classy finish and understated power would attract the creators of the world’s most famous secret agent—and the 54 ‘   Soufrière  was duly built for the 2006 Bond movie  Casino Royale , complete with a luxurious interior comprising two cabins, en suite heads, and (that rarest thing on a Spirit yacht of that era) full standing headroom. The yacht was shipped to the Bahamas and sailed to Puerto Rico, then shipped to Croatia and sailed to Venice, where she is said to have been the first sailing yacht to go up the Grand Canal in 300 years (albeit under power).

All these efforts yielded just a few minutes of footage in the final film, but it was enough to turn Spirit Yachts, until then mainly a British success story, into an international brand. Following the release of Casino Royale , inquiries at the yard increased fourfold—though more often than not the phone went quiet when a price was mentioned. Not everyone, it seems, has a Bond-caliber budget.

Soufrière  turned out to be exceptionally fast and, under her new real-life owner, won a string of trophies at home in Ireland and at the annual British Classics Week in Cowes. Her success prompted McMillan to build a slightly smaller version for himself. Launched in 2007, his 52 ‘   Flight of Ufford  has proven equally competitive, regularly clocking speeds of up to 16 knots and winning British Classics Week three years running in 2014–16—though since 2017 he has had to take turns at first place with the stripped-down, flush-decked 52-footer  Oui Fling , built for Baron Irvine Laidlaw of Rothiemay. McMillan’s proudest moment on his boat, however, was being invited to join the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant on the Thames in 2012—the only modern yacht to be summoned.

The year 2007 was also a landmark for a more somber reason, as McMillan’s longtime business partner, Mick Newman, died in a plane crash. Sadly, he would never see the full flowering of the company he helped to create.

sailing yacht geist

The 111′ (33.8m) Geist, designed for the owner of a 52 who wanted a larger version, was built mostly of sustainable timber, except for the teak decks.

The 52 went on to become the yard’s most popular boat to date, no doubt helped by McMillan’s enthusiastic campaigning of  Flight of Ufford  on both sides of the Atlantic. It also led to the yard’s biggest and most challenging commission. After the Spirit 52  Happy Forever  hit a rock in the Baltic, she went back to the Spirit yard for repair, and while her owner (a young German shipowner) stopped by to check progress he spotted a design McMillan was working on. He asked him to design a 90 ‘  (27.4m) version, and when that wasn’t quite right, asked that it be drawn out to 100 ‘  (30.5m), then 105 ‘  (32m) and, finally, 111 ‘  (33.8m). While the yacht’s hull grew longer with each design iteration, her freeboard remained unchanged—she just got sleeker and more stunning each time.

The result was  Geist , the Spirit 111, said to be the biggest single-masted wooden boat built in Britain since the J-Class  Shamrock  in the 1930s. Not only that, but the yard claimed it was “one of the most environmentally friendly sailing superyachts ever created.” Built mostly of sustainable timber (except for those endless teak decks), it boasted a 100-kW Torqeedo electric engine served by four banks of lithium-ion batteries that could be recharged by the propeller while under sail.

Belowdecks, the owner specified that he wanted only organic shapes—there should be no straight lines and no sharp corners. It was a challenge that the Spirit workforce (with some help from the design agency Rhoades Young) rose to, creating a cocoon-like interior with rounded bulkheads, curved seating and sideboards, and shell-like beds that seem to hover in space. Storage space is mostly hidden behind panels with sensor-activated doors that open to the touch. It was quite simply, as Underwood puts it, “a floating work of art.”

“Building the hull wasn’t a problem; that’s our bread and butter,” says Yard Supervisor Adrian Gooderham, who has worked at Spirit for more than 20 years. “But building the interior was a challenge, especially as they wanted the veneers to match, even in the sink areas, where it comes down the bulkhead onto the countertop, down the side, then onto the shelf, and down again—all matching. If there was a defect in any part of it, you’d have to find another veneer and start again.”

Most of the internal joinery was farmed out, but Gooderham built the distinctive saloon table—56 curved legs arranged in a circle, with a round glass top that bolted to the top of each leg. “Quite complex,” he admits.

sailing yacht geist

Geist’s curvaceous bulkheads, settees, and house structure were built with flawless veneers, glass surfaces, and the absence of trim that could conceal any gaps.

Building Clean

The company’s commitment to the environment stems from its early days when, McMillan points out, just choosing to build in wood would label you as a crank. He still feels just as strongly about it now.

“You can’t build boats and not be concerned about the environment,” he says. “The implications for the yachting industry are dire, yet 99.9% of companies are banging out petrochemical products with no attempt to deal with end of life. There has to be a point when you stand up and say, ‘This cannot be right.’ We are gradually getting rid of diesel engines and trying to build boats that have minimum impact on the planet.”

sailing yacht geist

Laminating diagonal sipo wood veneers over the Douglas-fir strip planking yields a stiff monocoque hull built mostly of renewable wood.

Over the years, the company has refined its focus. Early on, they stopped using Brazilian mahogany when their supplier couldn’t guarantee it came from a sustainable source. They switched to sipo, a similar timber grown as a commercial crop. More recently, they stopped using teak for decks and tried using the teak-substitute Lignia. When that company went bust amid concerns about the durability of the product, Spirit switched to using Douglas-fir, which has proven a good substitute. Various test panels with the alternative decking material are being continuously monitored, in part thanks to an accelerated-aging test tank on loan from electronics supplier Raymarine.

In 2020, they launched the first all-electric Spirit 44E (13.4m), fitted with an Oceanvolt sail drive powered by lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged by two large solar panels on the afterdeck or, while under sail, by the spinning propeller. Her decks were made of Lignia, and her sails were fabricated with 4T Forte recyclable cloth, courtesy of OneSails, which makes most of Spirit’s sails.  Avvento  was shipped to her owner’s home in British Columbia, Canada, where she cruises in remote areas for weeks at a time with no need for external energy supply. Her owner jokes that he’s more likely to run out of food than run out of electricity. Nearly half of Spirit’s new builds are now fitted with electric engines, though McMillan is quick to acknowledge that, environmentally speaking, they are not the “perfect panacea” due to the use of rare metals in the batteries.

sailing yacht geist

Recently the yard has experimented with replacing teak decking with quarter-sawn Douglas-fir.

sailing yacht geist

Bcomp’s flax fiber is a promising alternative to glass fiber laminate for exterior hull sheathing on Spirit’s 30-footers

More recently, Spirit Yachts has been applying flax cloth in place of fiberglass to sheathe their 30-footers—Bcomp’s ampliTex flax 350-g/m 2 biaxial (+/–45°) 1270mm and ampliTex flax twill 2/2, no twist, 1000mm, 300-g/m 2 —and will apply it to the bigger boats once they are happy with its performance. (See “ Flax  Boats,”  Professional BoatBuilder  No. 197, page 44.)

“We had to be much quicker with the glue when laying up the flax, as it is very absorbent,” says Gooderham. “We had to be precise with the quantities of resin, and we had to post-cure in a tent at 25°C [77°F] during the fairing process.”

sailing yacht geist

The Spirit 44E Avvento was the first Spirit yacht with an electric sail drive powered by lithium-ion batteries. She also sported sails made of recyclable sailcloth.

They are also experimenting with bio-based resin in nonstructural areas and hope to use it more extensively in due course.

And there are many other, smaller ways the company earns its eco-credentials, as Helen Porter explains: “We recently replaced our plastic paint trays with sugar cane trays, and we’ve replaced our paint brushes and rollers with low-carbon-footprint products. We’re using vacuum bags made out of recycled materials. We’ve discovered we can reduce waste timber by 20% by using CNC to cut wood. So, we are constantly chipping away in the background. The goal is always to lower the carbon footprint of a yacht as much as possible.”

She makes the point that in most instances, the more sustainable solution will offer other benefits such as reduced noise, cheaper running costs, or greater self-sufficiency, meaning there is less need to call on expensive marinas. When the benefits are fully explained, she says, nine times out of 10 the client will opt for the more sustainable option.

Once again, the company’s once-unorthodox stance has served them well, and while most of the marine industry is playing catchup on burnishing their environmental credentials, Spirit finds itself in the vanguard of the movement. Underwood estimates that as many as 60% of their customers “have sustainability in their minds. They are living and breathing it already. They have an electric car. They have a ground-source heat-pump system at home. That’s why they come to us.”

sailing yacht geist

Custom cabinetry and accommodations are strategically built-in before the cabin structure is sheathed.

Another sign of the times for Spirit Yachts is a greater emphasis on boat interiors, something designer Tom Smith, who trained partly in Italy, is happy to go along with. “The interior never used to get as much attention as the exterior. Now it’s just as much,” says Smith, who heads a team of four designers at the yard. “Lots of people want their yachts to be as comfortable as their homes. That should be possible, as long as you’re clever. I hate it when people say that yacht design is a compromise. There’s no reason to compromise; you just have to be clever with the design.”

In practical terms, that has meant a shift away from traditional wood paneling toward lighter colors, including white satin painted panels. The company is also collaborating with textiles companies to try out new color palettes including cloths made from recycled bottles.

Spirit Yachts Under Power

In recent years, Spirit has added a few powerboats to their stable of designs—from a couple of retro-styled launches, the P40 (12.2m) and P35 (10.7m), to a more substantial 70 ‘  motoryacht, the P70, designed to cross the North Sea from the U.K. to the Baltic and back at 18 knots. Even here, the company is keen to emphasize the designs’ eco credentials, noting that it can build the boats lighter than their GRP equivalents, which means they require smaller engines and therefore have greater fuel efficiency. It’s a virtuous circle that again benefits the client by saving them money in running costs.

Spirit’s most spectacular powerboat to date had finally completed its trials stage when I visited the company in June 2023. The F35 looks every bit like one of those classic North American speedboats from 100 years ago. Long and narrow, with sensuously shaped varnished topsides and foredeck, it appears the epitome of 1920s elegance. But, like her sailing sisters, the F35 has a secret hiding underwater: foils. Power her up to 14 knots or so and she will free herself from the tedious limitations of wetted surface area and fly largely above the water at up to 30 knots (though 22 knots is her cruising speed).

Spirit Yachts joined forces with BAR Technologies (better known for its  America ’s Cup simulation and design) to create this electric foiler with a range of 100 miles at 22 knots. This is a major step forward in electric boating, and all with a classic aesthetic that you don’t expect to perform so efficiently—that old McMillan joke again.

McMillan is rightfully proud of his new design and, back in the office, shows me a video of the boat in action on Lake Maggiore in Italy. Halfway through, the F35 is joined by a copy of the Crouch-designed  Baby Bootlegger , a curvaceous 1924 American mahogany speedboat that inspired his design. (See Paul Lazarus’s “How Fast Will It Go?” in PBB No. 169, page 62.) The family resemblance is clear—though, as McMillan points out, their performance is quite different. The old boat with its 220-hp (165-kW) combustion engine leaves a vast wake, while the big foiler at speed barely dimples the lake surface.

She’s clearly the future of motorboating—fast, elegant, and clean—especially once safety and ethical concerns around some lithium-ion batteries are resolved or competing alternative fuels become viable.

I’m keen to see the roll of plans McMillan has brought in for scanning—he still works in the early stages with pen and paper before submitting his drawings to CAD for the development and production stages—but it turns out they’re top secret. All he will say is that they are for an “extremely radical” electric foiler, considerably bigger than the F35. Even at 72, he is still clearly excited by this latest project.

sailing yacht geist

An F35, the latest model in Spirit Yacht’s sparse line of powerboats, is an electric-powered fully foiling tribute to the mahogany runabouts of the 1920s.

Spirit Yachts’ Academy and Beyond

McMillan is willing to talk about another project close to his heart: the new Spirit Academy. In the past the company was able to recruit staff from all over the world to work in the yard, but that has become more difficult since Brexit, and like most companies in the boating sector, Spirit has suffered a skills shortage. The solution McMillan decided on is to set up a training center in a disused building right next to the yard. The Spirit Academy will be the first university-standard boatbuilding college in the world, training students to a high skill level so they come out ready to start work using modern tools and materials. The course of study will comprise most aspects of boatbuilding, including design, rigging, and sailmaking. The only thing that won’t be in the curriculum is fiberglass construction, which McMillan is convinced will soon “come to a crashing halt.”

He said he hopes to start restoring the building this autumn, with the first intake of students possible as early as fall of 2025. The plan is to enroll two classes a year of 12 students each for a two-year course, with a total of 48 students when it’s fully up and running.

Meanwhile, Spirit Yachts will continue building its distinctive brand of high-quality wood/composite yachts. Despite recent forays into powerboats, sailing yachts will continue to be their focus, particularly in the 60 ‘ –90 ‘  range (their “sweet spot,” according to Underwood). The new 72-footer is particularly popular right now, with three built in two years—one for charter (with a cabin forward for paid crew), one for racing, and the third for bluewater cruising.

McMillan shows no signs of slowing down, and neither does the company he created in a disused cowshed all those years ago. At last, it seems the world has caught up, and the McMillan joke of delivering modern performance boats with vintage aesthetics is one we can all understand.

sailing yacht geist

About the Author:   Nic Compton is a freelance writer/photographer based in Devon, U.K. He lived on boats in the Mediterranean until the age of 15 and worked as a boatbuilder for many years before swapping his chisel for a pen and his router for a computer. He sails a Rhode Island–built Freedom 33, currently based in Greece.

Read more Companies , Construction , Design , Uncategorized articles

sailing yacht geist

  • Van der Werff’s Curved Wood

A Dutch yard adopts composite panel molding technology to build boats from preshaped wooden hull sections.

sailing yacht geist

  • Departures: Carl Chamberlin

Passionate, competent, considerate, modest, and thoughtful is how designer and boatbuilder Carl Chamberlin is remembered by those who knew him. He died last November at age of 75 in Port… Read more »

sailing yacht geist

SAFE Boats Regains Small-Business Status with Employee Ownership

More than 20 years ago, Professional BoatBuilder ran a feature titled “God, Country and Fast Boats” (No. 85, page 64) about SAFE Boats International (SBI), a Bremerton, Washington–based manufacturer of aluminum boats…. Read more »

Subscribe to Professional BoatBuilder magazine

Recent Posts

  • There was Only One Partner I’d Trust for the Refurb Project of my Life: AkzoNobel
  • Citimarine Store Expands to a New State of the Art Location in Miami
  • Find out how 3D printing can help your boatbuilding with MASSIVIT
  • Companies (85)
  • Construction (106)
  • Design (161)
  • Drawing Board (10)
  • Education (25)
  • Environment (16)
  • Events (21)
  • Materials (50)
  • Obituary (18)
  • People/Profiles (49)
  • Products (16)
  • Propulsion Systems (32)
  • Racing (16)
  • Repair (37)
  • Rovings (317)
  • Short Cuts (3)
  • Sponsored Partner News (16)
  • Systems (80)
  • Task Sheet (1)
  • Uncategorized (26)
  • Wood to Glass (7)

ProBoat.com Archives

Looking for insurance for a yacht <24m?

Please visit our pantaenius.com website and choose a location

Go to pantaenius.com

Providing the proof

In July 2020, the sailing yacht GEIST, a 111-foot sloop from the Spirit shipyard in the UK, came to life. Looking at the vessel for the first time, it is difficult to discern whether it is indeed a seaworthy yacht or more so a work of art. The owner who commissioned the build, however, wasn’t seeking to pay homage to the tradition of classic wooden tall ships; GEIST was about shifting standards and generating inspiration for more sustainable actions in yacht building practices. We spoke with the German owner, and Pantaenius customer, about the meaning and spirit of sailing.

sailing yacht geist

They might seem obvious to some, but we'd still like to hear the answer from you. Why do you sail?

Sailing is so natural to me that I do not really know the answer to that. It is part of my life and was already part of the life of my father, who was very successful sailing dragon boats. The passion has been laid in my cradle, so to speak. I have never not sailed. This has had a lasting effect on me and makes me constantly seek closeness to water and the elements. GEIST is the largest wooden yacht constructed in the UK since the J-Class Shamrock V was built. What made you decide to go with wood for such a large project?

The point was to demonstrate what is possible. Of course, it would be even more sustainable not to build a ship at all, but I am convinced that it is only by continuously challenging established standards that we can bring real innovation to the fore and allow ourselves to live the way we want to, while remaining sustainable. The yacht industry is booming, so why not deliver a vision that shows it can be done differently: that it is possible to build a light, fast, dynamic and elegant vessel that at the same time meets the most modern standards in terms of energy efficiency. Wood has emerged as the perfect material in this regard because it is extremely flexible, noble and versatile, but unlike many other materials, it can be obtained and recycled in a very controlled manner.

One of the leading yachting magazines has reported that the yacht is one of the most extraordinary ever build. What makes GEIST a stand out yacht for you?

Actually, the yacht follows very familiar requirements in its basic layout. It is the perfect charter yacht booked by four friends with their partners, but implemented in a very generous space. It offers an excellent overview on deck and always lets you feel the proximity to the water despite her size. For me, the most important thing was that GEIST met these requirements. At some point I realized that sailing together with friends only works if there is enough space on board, because by now everyone has created their own little family. So the path from my 52-foot Spirit to 111-foot GEIST was, in part, also quite pragmatic. Her elegance, of course, is also a unique quality for me. The shipyard meticulously responded to every one of my wishes and contributed a number of innovative ideas themselves. The interior design is exceptional and there were almost no limits placed on me by the designers during the planning. This is another aspect recognized by people who are passing by. GEIST has the charm of a wonderful vintage car and at the same time something ultra-modern.

The yacht is not designed to accommodate a large crew. Handling and layout are designed for shorthanded sailing in an almost uncompromising way. Do you always sail yourself?

The goal was to be able to operate the ship alone with friends and family. I actually prefer to sail myself, but even GEIST cannot do without a professional crew. Maintenance alone requires specialized personnel. However, even here, the technology on board is a great help, because troubleshooting is made possible remotely - thanks to a sophisticated cloud-based monitoring system, similar to that used in modern cars. At the end of the day, of course, the ship should be ready when you want to use it, and unfortunately, I do not spend nearly as much time on board as I would like.

From the beginning, you had a clear vision of what GEIST was supposed to achieve in terms of sustainability. Can you explain that vision?

I wanted to show that it does not have to be a compromise to design a luxury object like a yacht and at the same time measure up to the demands of our time. We cannot pretend we do not know about the impact we have on the planet through our consumerist behaviour. Yachting in particular, however, still seems pretty divided in this regard. In addition to using recycled and sustainably sourced materials as much as possible, the yacht should avoid fossil fuels whenever feasible and make the best use of available renewable energy. When we sail, we continuously generate power that is fed back into the batteries. The propulsion system regenerates the battery banks through the rotation of the propeller shaft while the yacht is under sail. For up to four days, the fully charged batteries allow us to use all the yacht's amenities, including air conditioning and hot water, without needing a generator or shore power. The two builtin generators are actually only due to class conformity and serve as a backup in case of a real system failure. This ambition has made everyone involved go above and beyond and work very closely together. We have been able to reduce the consumption of oil in the hydraulic systems to a minimum, saving not only waste but also weight.

A benchmark that applies to almost every part on board. To be even more efficient, the hydraulics also allow the boat to operate in an eco-mode. Only in emergency situations or during regattas do we fully exploit the possibilities and work in a much faster, but less economical mode. Above all, I want to leave nature as I found it. That is why wastewater is passed through a treatment plant before it is discharged. I think everyone involved challenged each other. Yes, the sustainability aspect was my wish as a client but everyone shared my vision.

The word compromise leads us to the last question: were you really able to realize everything you envisioned? Moreover, if so, what is the consequence? Are you even more inspired now and already planning the next project?

Of course, it was incredibly complicated. That is probably why many people are afraid of turning their yacht into a supposed million-dollar grave by using new, innovative technologies. However, it really worked better than you might imagine. I have the shipyard to thank for that, but also the project management. Now and then, there were points that were discussed controversially. How narrow can the boom be? Where can weight be saved? But, as I said before, I never had the feeling that there were different sides in these discussions. Everyone was working towards one goal. This worked so well that some of SY GEIST's ideas have been established as permanent components of the Spirit program. Especially in the refit area, I think there will be a lot of electrification in the future. My next project is an all-electric and foiling tender in the style of the legendary Bystanders, with a range of 100 nautical miles. I am convinced that there is huge potential for more sustainable designs in yacht building, that are currently only being exploited in rare cases.

of experience guarantee an exclusive service approach and the most efficient claims management when you need it most. Today over 100,000 yacht owners put their trust in our family-owned Company.

worldwide enable us to provide 24 hour support in ten languages and comprehensive service through personal on shore insurance managers who guide our clients through the entire process of insurance.

in our global network help us deliver true local service and support you with advice and know-how all over the world. International expertise and world-wide presence thus allow us to respond swiftly to new requirements and challenges.

  • Search Search Please fill out this field.
  • Current Issue
  • Give a Gift Subscription
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Sweepstakes
  • Destinations
  • Indianapolis, Indiana

9 Fun Ways to Get on the Water in Indianapolis

Indianapolis might not be the first place that comes to mind for water recreation, but a river cleanup aims to change that. Here are nine ways to take the plunge.

Matt Carlson

I lived in Indianapolis for nearly 25 years before I ever paddled the White River. Maneuvering my kayak through the shallow water on a pristine late summer day last year, I was amazed at what I saw. The water was clear, much clearer than I ever remembered seeing it. Carp and smallmouth bass swam underneath my boat, while a great blue heron stood near the riverbank, waiting for its next meal. What I didn’t see was another person on the river, despite being in the middle of a major metropolitan area.

Though the White River bisects the city and runs through the heart of downtown, it was largely ignored and neglected by generations of residents. Pollution was the problem, in part because Indianapolis’ antiquated sewer system couldn’t handle significant rainstorms. Thanks to the massive DigIndy infrastructure project slated to wrap up in early 2025, the health of the river and several of its tributaries has massively improved in recent years, bringing a flood of recreation opportunities.

Waterways are often the lifeblood of cities. The White River, Central Canal, and reservoirs like Geist and Eagle Creek are hubs of social activity in Indianapolis. So grab your sunnies and come on in—the water’s fine. Here's how to explore it.

Grant Kinast

Rent a Kayak, Canoe or Paddleboard

The best way to experience Indy’s waterways is to actually be on the water. Rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard from Frank’s Paddlesports Livery , which opened just north of downtown in 2023. They’ll shuttle you to a spot upriver so you don’t have to fight the (very weak) current heading back.

Courtesy of Visit Indy

Ride a Gondola

Old World Gondoliers has plied downtown’s Central Canal for 20 years, with jaunty gondoliers serenading passengers. In summer, grab a chilled rosé or panini picnic from riverside Fresco Italian Cafe to enjoy aboard the ride. (And toast the fact that unlike Venice, Indy isn’t sinking.)

Todd Bracken

For the last 15 years, Dauntless Sailing School instructor Todd Bracken has taught hundreds of Hoosiers how to sail. His six-week adult beginner course on Geist Reservoir helps even the most hapless landlubbers earn their captain’s hat. “Most students find sailing to be easier than they thought,” Bracken says. “People hear ‘Indiana,’ and think it’s just in the middle of cornfields with no large bodies of water, but Indianapolis is a great place to learn and have fun [on the lakes].” Not keen to do the work yourself? Dauntless offers public sunset sails every other Friday during the summer.

Jason Lavengood

Explore Along White River State Park

Both the canal and the river slice through White River State Park , a downtown oasis packed with cultural attractions: The Indiana State Museum , the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art , and the NCAA Hall of Champions and Victory Field (home of the Indianapolis Indians Triple-A baseball team) are all here. You can spend the afternoon watching the orangutans at the neighboring Indianapolis Zoo , then see the Arctic Monkeys at Everwise Amphitheater.

Bike or Fish at Fall Creek

Not everyone has a boat, but most people have a bike. Several paths run parallel to Indianapolis’ main waterways, including the Fall Creek Trail that connects Fort Harrison State Park on the northeast side to downtown. (Construction work slated to start this year will add about 1.5 miles to the trail.) Nonbikers can also access Fall Creek from multiple spots along the trail to fish or watch deer and other wildlife come to the bank for a drink.

Dine with a Water View

Dining alfresco is one of life’s great pleasures; dining outside next to a large body of water is even better. Located on Eagle Creek Reservoir on Indianapolis’ northwest side, Rick’s Cafe Boatyard is a local favorite. Grab a spot on the massive patio overlooking the reservoir and dig into Coconut Grouper Bites and Crab Cake Hush Puppies. 

Join the Pontoon Fun

On summer weekends, pontoons take to the water. But this is no party cove—the river never feels crowded, and boaters smile and wave as they pass. Join the fun by renting one from Geist Marina on Geist Reservoir in northeast Indianapolis. “There’s such a wonderful vibe pontooning on the river,” says Beth Stewart, who lived on the White River for about 15 years before purchasing a pontoon—and regrets not doing it sooner. “It’s like hanging out with your friends in a huge living room, but with much better scenery.”

Amy Marisavljevic

Try Paddleboard Yoga

Try a free, beginner-friendly Paddle Board Yoga on the Canal class Sunday afternoons from May to September with Pure Soul Yoga . (Traditional land-based yoga classes are offered along the canal too.) Only 10 spots are available per class, so make sure to register when signs-ups open for the month; paddleboards are provided. “The water brings an added sense of calm; there’s nothing quite like a Savasana floating on your board under a sunny sky with your hands and feet in the water,” says Amy Marisavljevic of the Indy Cultural Trail.

Play at Belmont Beach

Belmont Beach —a historic Black beach—was one of the most polluted spots on the White River during the era of segregation. Today, it’s been cleaned up and was recently designated a public city park. The site hosts pop-up food trucks and cultural events in warmer months. You’re likely to find anglers casting for smallmouth bass or photographers taking shots of the rocky outcropping leading into the water.

The city made him hide his boat — so he had it painted on his fence

“I’ll do what they want, but I’m not going to do it their way.”

sailing yacht geist

When the city of Seaside, Calif., ordered resident Etienne Constable to build a fence to cover the boat parked in his driveway, he complied. But the puckish way he did it — hiring his artist neighbor to paint a realistic mural of the same exact boat on his fence — has brought him viral attention.

“We kind of hit the sweet spot between following the rules and making an elegant statement to the contrary,” says Constable.

Constable, who works in business development, has lived in the same house in Seaside for 29 years. For most of that time, his boat trailer — often with a boat attached — has sat in his driveway without issue. But in July 2023, he received a letter from the city, asserting that the municipal code requires that boats and trailers be “screened on the side and front by a six-foot-high fence,” and threatening him with a citation and a $100 fine if he failed to comply. (The Washington Post has reviewed the letter.)

To Constable, the letter came out of nowhere. The ordinance itself is not new. He hadn’t heard any complaints from neighbors, and he’s kept the boat, which he named Might as Well and uses to fish “as often as I can,” for four years in his driveway.

“I thought, ‘This is ridiculous,’ and my first reaction was to leave a nasty, nasty message at the city hall,” he says. “And then I thought, well, I might as well build a screen … I’ll do what they want, but I’m not going to do it their way.”

So he started brainstorming. That’s when he had a chat with his neighbor, Hanif Panni, a muralist and graphic artist, about potentially painting the fence to look exactly like the space it was built to cover up. The two batted ideas back and forth over the fence that separated their yards. “We wanted to make an illusion,” says Panni.

Panni, whose artist name is Hanif Wondir , was in. He had other projects on his docket, and wasn’t able to start painting the boat on the fence until early May. It took four days to complete. As he worked, people driving or walking by would stop to comment on the optical illusion, and a few neighbors told him that they, too, had received letters about the ordinance, says Panni.

The actual fence cost a few hundred bucks, per Constable, who did the labor himself. He paid Panni for painting the mural, too.

With Constable’s permission, Panni shared the finished work on social media. It quickly went viral.

“The more people see something, the more opinions there are about it … and it’s just so fun to see those branches stemming off of something that I created,” says Panni. “ … One of the reasons why I do public art, and art in general, is to inspire those conversations.”

The mural ultimately led to an approving phone call to Constable from Nick Borges, Seaside’s acting city manager, on Friday evening. Borges first saw the images of the painted fence when a friend sent them to him — neither of them knew the photos were taken in Seaside. “I thought, ‘wow, that’s pretty creative.’ I laughed at it, and then I started getting calls from local media,” says Borges.

After years of complaints that the city was too lax about code enforcement, Borges says Seaside hired someone to enforce its codes, hence the letters sent to residents. Constable’s case was closed out in November, when the fence (at that point, without the mural) was spotted, says Borges.

“We’re not taking any action,” he says. “The only action I’m going to take is a high five, and that’s it.”

This story has been updated with comment from Seaside’s acting city manager Nick Borges.

More from The Home You Own

The Home You Own is here to help you make sense of the home you live in.

DIYs you can actually do yourself: Don’t be intimidated by those home projects. Consider which renovations add the most value to your home (including the kitchen and bathroom ), what you can actually get done in a weekend , and everything in between.

Your home + climate change: Whether you’re trying to prepare your home for an electric vehicle or want to start composting , we’re here to help you live more sustainably .

Plants and pets: Your furry friends and greenery add more life to your spaces. For your green thumb, find tips for saving money on houseplants and how to keep your plants alive longer. Pets can make a house a home, but stopping your cats from scratching the furniture isn’t always easy.

Keeping your home clean and organized: We breakdown the essential cleaning supplies you need, and point out the 11 germy spots that are often overlooked. Plus, hear hacks from professional organizers on maximizing counter space ,

Maintaining your home: Necessary home maintenance can save your thousands in the long run. From gutter cleaning and preparing your fireplace for winter, to what to do if your basement floods .

Contact us: Looking to buy your first home? Do you have questions about home improvement or homeownership? We’re here to help with your next home project.

sailing yacht geist

Find anything you save across the site in your account

The World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Superyacht Sets Sail

By Katherine McLaughlin

Superyacht in a shipyard

Traveling the deep blue just got a lot greener. Feadship, a Dutch shipyard, just launched what it claims is the world’s first hydrogen-powered superyacht. Dubbed Project 821, the 290-foot boat left the company’s Amsterdam shipyard on May 4, a monumental achievement following years of yacht concepts touted with the eco-friendly technology . “The aim has been to develop a new, clean technology not just for this project, but for the world,” said Jan-Bart Verkuyl, Feadship director and CEO of Royal Van Lent, in a statement.

Superyacht on a cloudy day

RWD designed both the exterior and interior.

Designing and developing Project 821 was a five-year undertaking and part of the Feadship’s research into fossil-free fuel options for boats. The ship is partly powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which generate power through a chemical reaction rather than combustion. Many cars make use of this technology, but this is a first for superyachts. “The value of the research as well the development of class and flag safety regulations for an entirely new type of energy generation is an advancement we are proud to have made available to all,” Verkuyl added.

The hydrogen-powered superyacht was designed by RWD , a firm located in Hampshire, England. The owner’s deck is inspired by a luxury apartment, and features two bedrooms, twin bathrooms and dressing rooms, a gym, two offices, and a living room. On the lower deck, bookshelves wrap around a statement-making staircase in addition to a number of niches designed for small moments, such as board games or enjoying a cup of coffee. This is in addition to a library, stateroom, and sea terrace dining room. The interiors make use of a natural and light color palette crafted from organic materials such as leather, marble , and rattan .

Superyacht coming out of a shipyard

Project 821 showcases a number of green advancements to make yachting more eco-friendly.

“RWD is immensely proud to have been involved in such a forward-thinking project,” Charlie Baker, a director at RWD, said. “We hope it inspires other projects to think differently in the future.”

Hydrogen requires heavy-duty storage tanks, which add significant weight to the boat and demand additional space. Though Project 821 is equipped to hold four tons of hydrogen and 16 fuel cells, it is not enough to fully power the vessel for long journeys. In cases where green energy alone is not enough, the boat is also fashioned with two generators. These combusts hydrotreated vegetable oil, which is a diesel-like fuel but doesn’t require fossil resources.

The boat is currently for sale through Edmiston, a superyacht sale and charter firm. “The brief was to build the greenest and most environmentally advanced yacht ever built, without compromise. It was a huge challenge, but one that the team has embraced and delivered on,” Jamie Edmiston, CEO of Edmiston, added. “The yacht we see today, designed by RWD and built by Feadship, is without doubt the best yacht ever built.”

More Great Stories From AD

The Story Behind the Many Ghost Towns of Abandoned Mansions Across China

Inside Sofía Vergara’s Personal LA Paradise

Inside Emily Blunt and John Krasinski’s Homes Through the Years

Take an Exclusive First Look at Shea McGee’s Remodel of Her Own Home

Notorious Mobsters at Home: 13 Photos of Domestic Mob Life

Shop Amy Astley’s Picks of the Season

Modular Homes: Everything You Need to Know About Going Prefab

Shop Best of Living—Must-Have Picks for the Living Room

Beautiful Pantry Inspiration We’re Bookmarking From AD PRO Directory Designers

Not a subscriber? Join AD for print and digital access now.

Browse the  AD PRO Directory to find an  AD -approved design expert for your next project.

From a Wondrous Exhibition in Milan to First-Rate Updates on the Design World, Here Are AD’s Discoveries of the Month

By Dana Thomas

Where the 8 Richest People in the World Live

By Charlotte Collins

The Most Expensive House in the World Could Soon Be This French Château

By Hannah Martin

IMAGES

  1. A look inside newly delivered 34m Spirit Yachts eco-sailing yacht Geist

    sailing yacht geist

  2. Spirit Yachts delivers 34m eco-sailing yacht Geist

    sailing yacht geist

  3. Spirit 111 Sailing Yacht Geist sets sail on her maiden voyage

    sailing yacht geist

  4. Yacht GEIST, Spirit Yachts

    sailing yacht geist

  5. "Geist" Luxury Sailing Yacht (33,9 m) in Hamburg 2021

    sailing yacht geist

  6. Yacht GEIST, Spirit Yachts

    sailing yacht geist

VIDEO

  1. Portofino RC Yacht in Föhr

  2. Private Yacht Galileo G Exploring the North West

  3. Inside The Mega Yacht of Billionaire Sergey Brin

  4. Transat Tag 5 Autopilot defekt!

  5. Faltboot-Segeln-TRA'UMTAG am MONDSEE im Salzkammergut

  6. Briauna + Cody

COMMENTS

  1. On board the Spirit Yachts flagship sailing yacht Geist

    Geist is the largest wooden sloop-rigged yacht to be built in the UK. From her carbon mast with its non-metallic rigging, to her advanced sail- handling systems, her classic looks conceal a very advanced technical specification. For example, a bank of four BMW lithium batteries and a 100kW Torqeedo propulsion system capable of regenerating ...

  2. Q&A with owner of Spirit 111 sailing yacht Geist

    The daily pattern of natural light was balanced with the responsive lighting system so the interior would always feel peaceful and never interrupted by harsh, bright lights. The Spirit 111 combines classic beauty and green technology with beguiling grace. Credit: Mike Jones/Waterline media.

  3. Yacht GEIST, Spirit Yachts

    Luxury sailing yacht GEIST is a 33.9m (111'22') performance vessel built by Spirit Yachts and launched in 2020. She can accommodate up to 8 guests in 4 cabins. NOTABLE FEATURES OF GEIST: ~Regatta-ready performance ~Cutting-edge energy-efficient technology ~One of the largest wooden sailing yachts built for almost a century ~Internationally ...

  4. GEIST Yacht

    The multi-award winning 33.9m/111'3" sail yacht 'Geist' was built by Spirit Yachts in the United Kingdom. Her interior is styled by design house Rhoades Young and she was delivered to her owner in March 2020. This luxury vessel's exterior design is the work of Sean McMillan. Guest Accommodation

  5. Geist, the History-Making Sailing Superyacht

    Previously called the Spirit 111, Geist is the largest yacht ever built by Spirit Yachts, and the largest single-masted wooden sailing yacht from a British s...

  6. GEIST yacht (Spirit Yachts, 33.9m, 2020)

    GEIST, a 33.9 m Sail Yacht built in the United Kingdom and delivered in 2020, is the flagship of Spirit Yachts. She is the only Spirit 111 model. Her cruising speed is 8.0 kn and her power comes from a Torqeedo electric engine. She can accommodate up to 8 guests in 4 staterooms, with 0 crew members waiting on their every need.

  7. Spirit 111 Crowned Sailing Yacht Of The Year

    AWARDS IN MONACO. The 34m Spirit 111 sloop Geist has scooped two accolades at this year's prestigious World Superyacht Awards. Geist won the Sailing Yacht category and the coveted Sailing Yacht of the Year Award. The judges praised Geist for her "refreshing mix of top quality, traditional beauty, innovative interior design, and advanced ...

  8. Geist Makes History for Spirit Yachts

    Until recently, the famous J-Class sailing superyacht Shamrock V reigned as the largest single-masted wooden yacht to spring from UK shores. Her 90-year reign has ended due to Spirit Yachts sea trialing Geist. This 111-footer (33.9-meter), bearing wood epoxy composite construction on a stainless steel space frame, is also more about wind power and far less about hooking up to shore power.

  9. Geist, by Spirit Yachts: Sunday Superyacht Video

    At 111 feet (33.9 meters), the sailing superyacht was far larger than any other delivery thus far. Geist makes history for Spirit Yachts by being not only its biggest boat, but also the largest single-masted wooden yacht from a British builder. Yet another new challenge was the owner's desire to dramatically reduce his carbon footprint.

  10. GEIST the 111-foot sloop

    The sailing yacht GEIST, a 111-foot sloop from the Spirit shipyard in the UK, has now been launched. Looking at the vessel for the first time, it is difficult to discern whether it is indeed a seaworthy yacht or more so a work of art. The owner who commissioned the build, however, wasn't seeking to pay homage to the tradition of classic ...

  11. Spirit 111 Sailing Yacht Geist sets sail on her maiden voyage

    33.9 metre sailing yacht Geist by Spirit Yachts is the largest single-masted wooden yacht built in the UK since Shamrock V in the 1930s.She has now left the Suffolk based yard and is on her way to the south coast of the UK. Geist is also the largest sailing superyacht coming from the Suffolk-based...

  12. Geist Yacht

    Geist is a sailing yacht with an overall length of m. The yacht's builder is Spirit Yachts Ltd from United Kingdom, who launched Geist in 2020. The superyacht has a beam of m, a draught of m and a volume of . GT.. Geist features exterior design by Spirit Yachts Ltd and interior design by Rhoades Young Design. Geist has a wood hull and a wood superstructure.. In the world rankings for largest ...

  13. Spirit 111 Geist Scoops Double Awards Win

    At 33.9m long, Geist has a fully laden displacement of 65tonnes and is the largest, wooden sloop built in the UK since the J-Class yacht Shamrock V in the 1930s. The yacht's completely customised, hand-crafted interior is a series of seamless curves made from sustainably sourced timber.

  14. Spirit 111: This sailing art gallery is one of the most sensational

    We were treated to a proper sea trial of an elegant large yacht. Sailing upwind at 10-11.5 knots and back down at 12-14 knots makes the Solent seem pretty small. ... Geist has averaged 11-13 knots ...

  15. These Modern Wooden Boats Blend Classic Design With Modern Technology

    The 111-foot Geist, launched last July by Spirit, is the largest single-masted wooden sailing yacht built in the UK since the 1930s, when the America's Cup yacht Shamrock V ruled the seas. But ...

  16. The Esprit of Spirit Yachts

    Alongside their usual high-velocity petrol-fueled fare, they featured a sailing yacht: ... the 111 ' (33.8m) Geist, launched in 2020. Spirit Yachts is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023, so it seemed the perfect time to visit its expanded boatyard facility in Ipswich, where Spirit has become an increasingly important part of the ...

  17. The New Spirit 111, Geist

    Hall Spars is delighted to see the Spirit 111, Geist, unveiled this week after showing off her sailing prowess during recent sea trials. The yacht was designed and built in-house by Spirit Yachts to be one of the most environmentally friendly sailing superyachts ever created and it is also the largest single-masted wooden yachts to be built in the UK since Shamrock V in the 1930s.

  18. Spirit 111 Sailing Yacht Geist Leaves Spirit Yard

    Spirit Yachts's 33.9 metre flagship Spirit 111 sailing yacht Geist has now left the Suffolk based yard and is en route to the south coast of the UK. Since hitting the water for the first time on October 8, the yacht has been based at the Spirit yard for commissioning, which included the installation of the mast, boom and sails.

  19. Providing the proof

    In July 2020, the sailing yacht GEIST, a 111-foot sloop from the Spirit shipyard in the UK, came to life. Looking at the vessel for the first time, it is difficult to discern whether it is indeed a seaworthy yacht or more so a work of art. The owner who commissioned the build, however, wasn't seeking to pay homage to the tradition of classic ...

  20. Spirit Yachts delivers 34m eco-sailing yacht Geist

    In England this week, Spirit Yachts completed and delivered the 33.9-metre Geist. The sloop-rigged yacht is the largest single-masted wooden sailing yacht to be built in the UK since Shamrock V in the 1930s. Photo: Spirit Yacht Photo: Spirit Yacht Her owner requested that Spirit Yachts built one of the most environmentally-friendly sailing superyachts in the world fleet today.

  21. 9 Fun Ways to Get on the Water in Indianapolis

    Sail on the Dauntless to explore Indianapolis-area waters. Todd Bracken. Set Sail . For the last 15 years, Dauntless Sailing School instructor Todd Bracken has taught hundreds of Hoosiers how to sail. His six-week adult beginner course on Geist Reservoir helps even the most hapless landlubbers earn their captain's hat.

  22. The city made him hide his boat

    3 min. When the city of Seaside, Calif., ordered resident Etienne Constable to build a fence to cover the boat parked in his driveway, he complied. But the puckish way he did it — hiring his ...

  23. Winners of the 2021 World Superyacht Awards

    Sailing Yachts: Geist Length: 33.9m Builder: Spirit Yachts Naval architect: Sean McMillan Exterior design: Sean McMillan, Spirit Yachts Interior design: Tom Smith, Spirit Yachts; Rhoades Young While she is not the bluewater cruising yacht of the type that tends to dominate this award, Geist is beautiful in a classical sense while showcasing a ...

  24. Orcas sink sailing yacht in Strait of Gibraltar

    Reuters —. An unknown number of orcas have sunk a sailing yacht after ramming it in Moroccan waters in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain's maritime rescue service said on Monday, a new attack in ...

  25. The World's First Hydrogen-Powered Superyacht Sets Sail

    Feadship, a Dutch shipyard, just launched what it claims is the world's first hydrogen-powered superyacht. Dubbed Project 821, the 290-foot boat left the company's Amsterdam shipyard on May 4 ...

  26. First look at James Bond's Spirit 46 sailing yacht in No Time to Die

    Geist: On board the 33.9m Spirit 111 sailing yacht. Built by UK yard Spirit Yachts, the Spirit 46 is characterised by long overhangs and flush decks, can reach 18 knots underway and handles with the performance of a regatta racing yacht, the builder said. The best James Bond movie locations to visit by superyacht.

  27. Spirit Yachts CEO steps down following change in ownership

    The 34m Geist from Spirit Yachts was awarded the Neptune for Sailing Yacht of the Year at the 2021 World Superyacht Awards 28 February 2023 • by Gabrielle Lazaridis Spirit Yachts, a shipyard originating from Suffolk in England, announced a new management and ownership structure to accompany the company's 30th year.