The Suffolk-based luxury boat builder, Spirit Yachts, is reporting a "very positive" Southampton Boat Show, with strong interest in its new 47CR.

3 October

Spirit Yachts says it had a better than expected Southampton Boat Show, with the company’s new cruising range being “very well received”.

Speaking post-show, the managing director of the luxury boat builder, Nigel Stuart, told YBW that the entire Spirit brand attracted “strong interest”.

“It was very positive,” he said. ” The new cruising range was very well received and strong interest remained with the rest of the Spirit range.”

CEO and head designer Sean McMillan (right) and managing director Nigel Stuart of Spirit Yachts

CEO and head designer at Spirit Yachts, Sean McMillan (right) and managing director Nigel Stuart.

Spirit used the Southampton Boat Show to launch its new 47CR – the first in its new cruising range.

The handcrafted yacht has been shortlisted in the Special Yacht category in the European Yacht of the Year (EYOTY) Awards.

“It was better (than we imagined), we were consistently busy and the atmosphere was great,” stated Stuart.

“We were delighted the Spirit 47CR was chosen as the yacht for the Michelle Keegan photo shoot at the start of the show,” he added.

Stuart said reaction to the new 47CR was “very positive”.

“We have several test sails booked after she returns from the EYOTY test sails later in October,” he explained.

The luxury boat builder, which is based at Ipswich Haven Marina in Suffolk, is currently expanding as a result of increased sales, especially for large yachts.

“This year we are doubling our yard space to accommodate the increase in workload and we have recruited boat builders,” explained Stuart.

He believes that this is down to the quality of the company’s product.

“We are the only company making timeless yachts that last a lifetime,” he said. “Spirit Yachts turn heads wherever they go and it is this appreciation of beauty and style that continues to attract people to our boats.”

“The Spirit 47CR is an exciting new proposition as it not only has the beautiful, clean lines, it has the extra volume for cruising and has been built with the option for high performance ‘Spirit of Tradition’ racing,” added Stuart.


29 July

Next month, work begins on expanding the boat yard at Spirit Yachts.

The luxury boat builder, which created the stunning 54-foot 007 yacht, Spirit, which featured in the Bond film Casino Royale, is based at Ipswich Haven Marina in Suffolk.

The company currently employs 40 people, and will also be recruiting up to 15 new boat builders as part of its expansion plans.

Spirit’s managing director, Nigel Stuart, said it will be looking to employ new staff locally and via boat building colleges in the UK, as well as worldwide.

Spirit Yachts - builders of classic wooden yachts - is expanding

The company’s Spirit 47CR has just been shortlisted for the European Yacht of the Year Award


He doesn’t see Britain’s recent decision to leave the EU as a problem for recruitment.

“We will continue to search for highly skilled boat builders through our usual channels,” he explained.

“We suspect it will have little influence on finding the right people to join the team, especially as the impact of Brexit is still unknown and probably won’t come into effect for a few years yet,” said Stuart.

This expansion comes as sales increase, especially for large yachts.

Spirit Yachts has also just been shortlisted in the Special Yacht category in the European Yacht of the Year Award for its Spirit 47CR.

“Over the last year we have seen an increase in sales and prospective interest,” explained Stuart.

“We have recently secured orders for larger yachts, which require more build space. The new facility will have rolling doors large enough to bring yachts in and out with their keels on, which will also allow us to offer more maintenance work on modern classic yachts.”

James Bond Yacht for sale

The classic 007 yacht


Stuart said that although the Spirit customer base has largely remained the same, it has expanded its portfolio to meet demand.

“Our clients are all looking for a timeless yet high performance yacht that will not date. As demand has increased and our customers’ criteria varies more and more, we have developed our portfolio to offer a wider range of sailing and power boats,” he said.

“We now offer the Classic Spirit yachts, Deckhouse designs, a new cruising range and power boats from 35ft to 130ft,” added Stuart.

Work on the state-of-the-art yacht build facility at the yard will start mid-August.

The additional space will house production mezzanines and a mechanical testing area.

Spirit Yachts - builders of classic wooden yachts - is expanding

Up to 15 new boat builders are being recruited by the firm


It will also allow Spirit to double the size of its existing lamination table, increasing the number of ringframes that can be built simultaneously.

With access via a 7.5m x 8m rolling door, the facility will allow Spirit to work on yachts up to 150 feet long with their keels on.

The vast entrance will also permit refit and repair work on existing modern classics with their keels on, meaning all projects will be protected from the elements.

The new yard will comprise LED lighting, modern heating systems, and efficient insulation and extraction.

The additional floor space will also allow Spirit Yachts to increase capacity, efficiency and flexibility.

Stuart said Spirit Yachts will continue to strengthen its customer base worldwide through attending events and shows.

“The yard expansion will also allow us to develop the refits section of the business, which provides our existing owners with maintenance support and gives us the flexibility to take on other marine renovation work,” he added.