More than half of Spirit Yachts on order are electric spec
Sean McMillan, founder of Spirit Yachts, says that more than half the boats on order with the company are repeat orders for existing owners, but each repeat has gone from diesel to electric.
“You can’t build wooden boats and not be a part of this [sustainability],” he says. McMillan is predicting that ‘very soon’ diesel won’t be a part of sailing at all, although there is still a little way to go with powerboats.
“It’s an exciting time to be designing and building boats,” he says. Currently in-build are two 72s, a 68 (hybrid), a 52 (electric) and a 30-day-sailor (electric).
Within the mix is Spirit Yachts’ 100th wooden boat – the electric 52 – which will feature Douglas fir, from a managed forest in Canada. Since sustainable timber company Lignia went under in 2021, Spirit has been importing whole trees.
“They’re wonderful,” says McMillan of the product, which ranges between £34,000-£44,000 per tree. “Straight with no knots. Buying a whole tree makes matching much easier. Teak was only a young phenomenon,” he says. “Lignia is okay, but it’s still treated, and we’re trying to get back to untreated natural timber.”
[Sean McMillan pictured at SIBS with Karen Underwood, MD]
McMillan says it’s really simple to sail and that it’s a beautiful-looking boat that does more than it looks as if it should do.
“It’s a good example of a visual tease between an old classic and yet is thoroughly modern,” says McMillan. “It’s very light displacement, with a deep fin. It reaches 14 knots and planes. But it doesn’t look like it could. I love that visual joke.” He has just drawn a camping version of it but is quick to point out that it doesn’t then become part of a ‘range’.
“In any other yacht yard, you’re looking at a range,” he says. “We don’t have a range. We don’t work like that. It’s a bit like going into a restaurant with no menu. It’s a bit to get over that, but it doesn’t take long. It all starts with a pot of coffee and then a sketch pad.”