Spirit 111, the green goddess

A 34-meter wooden boat with classic lines and a lot of green technology aboard, even Made in Italy like the OneSails sails. A focus on environmental sustainability to a level unseen in a boat of this size

by Luca Sordelli – photo credit @Spirit Yachts

THERE ARE THOSE WHO CALL THEMSELVES “GREEN”, and there are those that really are. The Spirit 111 was created in answer to the request of a buyer who definitely belongs to the latter category. It is a 34-metre made by the English firm Spirit Yachts, and as their Managing Director Nigel Stuart explains, «It is a milestone in the history of our yard, but this is also a yacht that is destined to be remembered as an incredible feat of naval engineering». Why? First of all because of its size.

The last time that the UK saw the launch of a wooden sloop this size was when Sir Thomas Lipton was making his bids to win the America’s Cup – all of which failed (for the record the boat which came close to these dimensions was the J-Class Shamrock V with which the English magnate lost the 1930 match against Enterprise). But it is, above all, the coherence with which the project has been executed, with its commitment to minimal environmental impact, that make the Spirit 111 a boat that is truly unique. Power is strictly electric, with a 100 kW Torqeedo motor fed by a bank of four 40 kWh lithium ion batteries. It provides thirty nautical miles of full-electric range or an autonomy of four days at anchor without having to go back to port to recharge, or without having to turn on the two 25 kW on-board generators.

The build is in “technological wood”, with the use of epoxy resin and an interior steel frame. The rigging is entirely in carbon fibre.

The generators are only used very rarely, as Nigel Stuart explained: «The propeller on the engine recharges the battery pack very efficiently when the boat is under sail. She has been designed to cope with Atlantic crossings during the traditional trade winds season with following winds without having to use fossil fuel». The real engine of this 34 metre – the sails – also has a very low environmental impact. They are 4T Forte by OneSails, a material made in Italy that, as well as offering high levels of performance, can also be recycled at the end of its life (see boxed section).

Efficiency is the watch word on board the Spirit 111. The goal is always reduced fuel consumption levels and a low environmental impact. The galley has been developed with this in mind, and even the air conditioning system, made by Webasto, is so efficient that it doesn’t require the use of generators at night, even when used in tropical climes. Hot water is produced by taking advantage of the waste heat of the generators, and is stored in high-density tanks. On-board lighting also allows for no waste: there are no switches, but just automatic activators that turn on only if there is somebody in the room, and then turn off automatically once they have gone.

There are no handles to be seen on board, but rather proximity sensors. The aim is to avoid “polluting” the smooth surfaces of the furniture.

Spirit 111 was designed for an owner who is an expert sailor and is able to handle the boat on his own, so it doesn’t have any crew accommodation. This frees even more room for the owner and his guests.

Overall, the boat is an extremely efficient machine: «The wood build with epoxy resin and a steel space frame, combined with the carbon fibre rigging, mean that there is an excellent trade-off between strength and displacement. The on-board hydraulics, which were made in partnership with Lewmar, have been designed so that they can be handled by a reduced crew, and require minimal use of oil, with a 53% reduction in the weight of the entire system», explained Nigel Stuart.

The idea for the interior décor came from the owner following a visit to the Antelope Canyon in Arizonawhich inspired the curved shapes and warm colours.

And finally, the wood used to make the Spirit 111 comes from certified companies and the yard’s production equipment has low-impact energy usage. If you manage to find a greener boat, let us know.

Spirit 111 was designed to cope with Atlantic crossings during the trade winds season without having to use fossil fuel. When she is under sail, the propeller recharges the batteries.
OneSails 4T Forte – the sails are the Spirit 111’s true motor
If the electric power used in this 34-metre boat is cutting edge, its sails are no less advanced as they use OneSails’ Italian-made technology. Despite the massive size, both the mainsail and the Genoa have been made in a single piece, using the exclusive composite 4T Forte material, the only one in the world to have a ISO 14040 Life Cycle Assessment certification, and which, as well as offering unique strength and longevity, can be recycled at the end of its life. Flavio Formosa, the technical director at OneSails, an international network with 52 lofts in 40 countries on five continents, gave us a detailed explanation of the approach taken in creating the latest generation sails, which are rigorously in line with the eco-sustainability parameters requested: «Given the complexity and importance of this project and the rigid guidelines laid down by the owner and the designers, researching and making the set of sails for the Spirit 111 was exciting. We used  the 4T Forte, which is made with an exclusive continuous fibre, single-piece technology that is put together without the use of films and glues. This material makes it possible to produce sails that are the only ones in the world to have a Life Cycle Assessment certification that, in contrast to others, are recyclable at the end of their life cycle, with a standard procedure to separate out waste, and thus effectively making them the first and only truly ecological sails in the world». www.onesails.com
The design of the Spirit 111 was done in house at Spirit Yachts by Sean McMillan. The interiors, which are 100% customized, were designed by the English firm Rhoades Young.
Spirit 111
When there is no wind, Spirit 111’s 65 tonnes are propelled by the electric Torqeedo system, powered by a pack of four 40 kWh lithium ion batteries.


Designer: Sean McMillan Interior designer: Rhoades Young; Spirit Yachts Shipyard: Spirit Yachts Ltd, Ipswich, UK Building material: epoxy composite in wood with stainless steel structure LOA: 33.90m Waterline length: 24.00m Maximum beam: 6.40m Draft: 4.05m Displacement: 58 tonnes (light mass), 65 tonnes (full mass) Ballast Ratio: 45% Sail area: 450 m2 Rig: Bermudan sloop Main propulsion: Torqueedo electric propulsion system powered by four BMW lithium batteries developing 40kWh each Generators: 2 of 25kW. Keel: SG Iron blade with lead bulb. T-shape configuration Rudder: carbon composite spade Mast: entirely custom made of carbon Sails: OneSails 4T FORTE™ made by GBR East Air conditioning and hot water: Webasto

(Spirit 111, the green goddess – Barchemagazine.com – March 2021)