Spirit News

Discover more about Spirit Yachts’ green ethos & the latest developments in eco yachts

Sustainable Sailing at Spirit Yachts

Nigel Stuart


Spirit Yachts is seeing a notable increase in demand for eco-friendly yachts, ranging from motor yachts with improved fuel-efficiency to electric drive, solar-panelled sailing yachts with no hydrocarbons onboard.  Managing director Nigel Stuart takes up the story.

As we don’t use any moulds and all yachts are customised, we are well placed to deliver environmentally friendly solutions.  Our team is very accustomed to receiving a question from an owner saying, “could we do…?” or “is it possible to add…?”.  Addressing eco criteria does not require a change in our approach and is just another form of customisation.

As a prospective yacht buyer, where should you start when commissioning an eco-friendly sailing yacht?

Begin by asking what you want the yacht to do and where you will take her.  How are you going to use her; cruising, racing or both?  Who will be onboard and in what type of weather conditions?

At Spirit, we work closely with our owners to develop criteria for every yacht we build.  When it comes to eco credentials, if an owner is interested, we look at every element to see how we can improve its environmental impact.  From the sustainable timber we build with to the water heating system, fridge/freezer insulation, sails, winches, lighting the list goes on…

Eco projects in build at Spirit Yachts

The Spirit 111 is our flagship ‘eco yacht’ and will be the first Spirit to launch with a Torqeedo electric propulsion system.  A 100kW motor will propel the yacht silently for up to 40nm at eight knots from battery power alone.  Whilst sailing, the propulsion system will regenerate the four BMW i3 lithium battery banks by rotating the propeller shaft whilst the yacht is under sail.

Using the propeller regeneration system to regenerate the batteries, the owner will be able live comfortably onboard for four days at anchor without having to plug into shore power or start the two onboard generators.

However, the real focus is actually not the propulsion but ensuring that everything works in harmony; from galley equipment and hot water to air conditioning and hydraulics.

Above: the eco features on the Spirit 111

Onboard the Spirit 111, energy-efficient Lewmar hydraulic deck hardware will use a Vortex reservoir to reduce the amount of oil in the system by 90%.  This reduces the weight of the system and saves the amount of oil required for servicing.  The hydraulic power comes from a high voltage Torqeedo motor, and as a backup, a small low voltage DC Lewmar power pack.  The system has three modes (Fast Cruise, Race and Eco) so that when sailing in Eco mode the yacht uses minimal battery power.

OneSails GBR (East) will be supplying the Spirit 111 (and many of our yachts) with a wardrobe of high performance 4T Forte sails, which are the only EU certified recyclable sails on the market.  All lighting onboard is LED and the air conditioning uses variable speeds with eco options via battery or shore power.

Above: Spirit 111

The galley has also been designed with efficiency in mind.  The fridge and freezer will be built with Cryogel insulation to ensure minimal power consumption whilst holding low temperatures.  Water is heated using a Webasto system, which only heats water on demand ensuring no wasted water or energy, and the minimal amount of stored hot water is stored within high density insulation and high efficiency transfer coils for rapid heat transfer and temperature retention whist reducing wasted draw off water.

Developments on the 34m Spirit 111 are being applied to the Spirit DH65 and 44E, both currently in build.

The Spirit 44E in particular will set a new standard for eco yachts.  She will be fully electric with no hydrocarbons onboard and, in what will be an exciting market-first, she will have solar panels integrated into her sails.

Read more about the new Spirit 44E here.

Above: Spirit 44E

Whilst we are seeing more and more owners looking to improve the environmental impact of their yachts, significant progress will only be achieved if marine companies challenge each other to improve on eco-credentials.  We work closely with all our suppliers, as well as collaborating with the automotive industry, to create bespoke solutions.