Stefanie Bielowski joined Spirit Yachts world-class boat building team in October 2016 fresh from the Boat Building Academy at Lyme Regis. A passionate sailor and dinghy racer, Stefanie recently competed at the BCYC Panerai regatta for the first time.
It was another successful year for Spirit Yachts at the BCYC Panerai regatta, as new Spirit racing yacht 52D Oui Fling secured first place in class 1, with second and third for Flight of Ufford and Spirit 65, Chloe Giselle. In what was her highly anticipated racing debut, Oui Fling achieved second place overall.
Oui Fling, commissioned by an internationally known and highly respected racing yachtsman, has been built as a totally maxed-out race boat. Without the weight of an interior and with carbon used for the keel blade down to the winches, the 52’ yacht was an impressive sight on the water during her racing debut.
Similarly taking part for the first time was Spirit boat builder, Stefanie Bielowski. Having joined the team in October 2016, Stefanie is currently working on the Spirit P70 power yacht and the Spirit 111’ superyacht, having already cut her teeth on other significant builds in the yard.
Stefanie was invited by Spirit CEO and head designer Sean Mcmillan aboard his yacht, Flight of Ufford.
“It was an honour to compete alongside Sean on Flight of Ufford,” said Steff. “A number of Spirit yachts typically compete in the event, so it is a real calendar highlight for us and there was a real buzz around the boatyard in the run up to the event.
Stefanie travelled with other members of the Spirit Yachts team to Cowes for the 16th edition of the regatta. “We were greeted by a view of bustling teams making their preparations ahead of the regatta. People take the races very seriously but there is also a strong community spirit both on and off the water.
“During the week we were invited on board a variety of beautiful classic and modern classic yachts including Oui Fling and Chloe Giselle.”
For Stefanie, it was particularly special as Oui Fling was her first build in the Spirit yard. “It was fantastic to speak to yacht owners that are so dedicated to maintaining their boats at the highest standard,” she said.
“My highlight of the regatta was when the kites went up and created an incredible view at the start of the second race. There wasn’t much time to enjoy it though! Sean was focused at the helm as Flight of Ufford jostled for position, all hands were on deck and adrenaline was pumping.
Flight of Ufford secured a second. Stefanie commented: “While we were of course a little disappointed that we didn’t win our class, it was a consolation to come second to Oui Fling, which lived up to her hype and performed beautifully. I have very fond memories of working on her so it was brilliant to see her sailing smoothly in the water.”
For Sean, it was another memorable year despite missing out on a first place. He said: “Oui Fling was designed for superb racing performance, so I am glad that if Flight of Ufford was going to be beaten, that it was by this 52 foot marvel.
“For Stefanie and other team members, taking part in British Classic Week is the ideal opportunity for valuable sailing experience. Taking the team racing has helped round their understanding of why our yachts needs to be built so strong. Given the crew was largely made up of amateur sailors, I was proud to get so close to Oui Fling in the race.”
Sean was joined at the event by Nigel Stuart, Spirit Yachts Managing Director. It was Nigel’s third attendance at the regatta. He commented: “Everyone is moored together and in one place which creates a special atmosphere unique to this regatta.
“British Classic Week is ideal for us to catch-up with Spirit Yacht owners and we joined them for a special meal during the week. When everyone comes together it is clear that while each owner has commissioned their yacht to serve a specific purpose, they all share a passion for the beauty of Spirit Yachts’ modern classic design.”