Steeped in History



The very first Spirit yacht to be built, a Spirit 37, is now for sale. She was sold at Düsseldorf Boat Show on 24st January in 1995, which also happened to be the birthday of her new German owner, Hans Dirk Rübcke. After nearly a quarter of a century of enjoyment, her owner is ready to give up the helm. We caught up with Hans to find out what attracted him to Spirit no. 1, his experiences onboard over the years and what she offers a new owner.

“I have always been a sailor, and back in 1995 I was a member of Seeshaupt sailing club (on Starnberger Lake in Germany) and a mooring became available. I went to Düsseldorf wanting to buy a Dragon. Once at the show, I found a beautiful 1920 Swiss-built Lacustre yacht, which was elegant, slightly longer than the Dragon and very fast in low winds. I was very tempted to buy the Lacustre. There is a big fleet of these yachts and they do a lot of regattas; racing was of interest for me.”

Walking around the show contemplating his new purchase, the German sailor and lover of long, classic, clean lines wasn’t expecting what he saw around the next corner…

“I suddenly saw a very elegant yacht with lovely classic lines. It was Spirit Yachts’ hull no. 1; I was very surprised, I had never heard of the company before, but I was immediately interested. I went onboard the boat and saw the beautiful, detailed craftsmanship and technical details. I then lay down in the forepeak to test the length of the bunk because I am 6ft 5” (1.94m). I had my feet in the bow end and I could lie down and look up out of the hatch, and I thought ‘fantastic it is long enough for me!’. I was imagining being on the lake at home, lying down looking up at the sky; I was very surprised and delighted to have found this. I knew that she was the right boat for me, and I forgot about the Dragon and the Lacustre.”

Spirit co-founders Sean McMillan and Mick Newman then invited Hans to Suffolk, the home of Spirit Yachts, for a sail and the handover.

“I felt like a king, sitting on the boat, going down the River Orwell; everything was fantastic.”

Over the past 24 years of ownership, Spirit hull no.1 has been wintered at Seeshaupt, near Munich. During the summers, she was sailed on the nearby Starnberger Lake.

Hans recalled some of his happiest times onboard, “I have loved sailing her in all conditions, but especially in strong winds. One particularly special time, that I enjoyed very much, was when we were sailing in 32-34 knots, and the yacht suddenly went from 8.5 knots up to 12.5 knots. I felt like I had a motor on the back of the boat, it was unbelievable. Mick and Sean had previously told me they also got up to 12 knots on the River Orwell, which I had never really believed but then I found out for myself!”

“A funny, but not so happy memory, was when the yacht first came to Germany from Suffolk. I had planned to take her to the regattas in Cannes and St Tropez and was dreaming of racing in the Mediterranean sunshine. When Sean and Mick brought the yacht over in the spring, we launched the her on the lake in the snow. After they went back to England, I had to bring the trailer home. I turned around a corner on a small street and I took six metres of my neighbour’s fence with me! I then decided against Lake Garda and Mediterranean regattas; much safer to keep her on the lake at home!”


What does Spirit no. 1 offer to a new owner? “I have always felt she is a very safe yacht also in heavy wind, and she is easy to handle. The fantastic craftsmanship is still evident today. When there is no wind and the yacht is at anchor on the lake, I swim around her as I like to see how beautiful she is from afar. I will miss having her on the lake because she such a pretty boat and she has been a big part of my life.”

Hans continued, “Starnberger Lake has some of the best water quality in Germany, it’s so pure you can drink it. That’s part of the reason why the yacht is in such great condition. She looks as good as new.”

Munich Classic Sailing Week, an event that has been running for over 30 years at Starnberger Lake, made an exception for Spirit no. 1 when they invited her to join their regatta. Hans commented, “Normally you can’t enter a yacht built after 1960, but they made an exception for Spirit no. 1 as she is so beautiful.”

Spirit no. 1 comes with a full sail wardrobe (Hans updated the original rig to facilitate a genoa as well as a jib) and a road trailer. She experienced a heavy storm a year ago, after which her hull was resprayed giving her a shiny new finish. Her engine has been overhauled and many electronic improvements have been made over the years.

Having maintained a good relationship with Spirit Yachts over the last 24 years, Hans reflected on the changes he has witnessed at the company. “My Spirit 37 was built at a farm in Benhall, before Spirit moved to its current headquarters in Ipswich. During a visit to the new yard a few years later, I saw the 54ft yacht that featured in the Bond film Casino Royale, which was fantastic. Today, I see a very big yard with much more space and at least five or six sailing boats up to 34m and power boats up to 21m. It is unbelievable how far Spirit Yachts has come.

“Many things have changed on the construction side, but the friendly, highly-skilled boat builders and designers who make yachting dreams come true are still here.”

To find out more about Spirit no. 1 contact the team via enquiries@spirityachts.com or call +44(0) 1473 214 715.


With an efficient sail plan and a very flat run aft, the Spirit 37 is capable of planing speeds of up to 8.6 knots. With all controls led aft to the cockpit, short-handed or single-handed sailing is accomplished with ease, whilst a regatta can be undertaken with a crew of just three. Several existing Spirit 37 owners race annually together in the Spirit of Tradition class at UK and international regattas.

With accommodation for up to four people, the Spirit 37 is the ideal weekend boat. A ‘v’ berth cabin forward is separated from the saloon by a head, whilst in the saloon, the seats provide two settee berths. A simple yet efficient galley provides ample facilities for short-term catering.

The dimensions and displacement of the Spirit 37′ allow her to be easily and economically transported by road trailer, which opens up new cruising or regatta possibilities. Whether you are looking for relaxed, weekend sailing with family or competitive regatta racing, the Spirit 37’ is an elegant, quick and easy to handle yacht.

Spirit 37 Classic Specifications:

LOA: 36’ 7″ 11.2m
Beam: 7’0″ 2.13m
Displacement: 2.64 tonnes
LWL: 26’6″ 8,08m
Draft: 4’6″ 1,37m
Ballast: Lead single keel 1.35 tonnes
Ratio: 62%
Power: Yanmar 1GM 10.9hp
Sail Area: 389 sq. ft. (incl. flyer 540 sq. ft. / 54 sq. m.)
Asymmetric spinnaker: 512 sq. ft. and one with 580 sq. ft. / 58 sq. m.
3 genoas, 1 jib, 2 top mounted flyers 32 sq. m. and 35 sq. m. with furling equipment
1 full downwind spinnaker: 580 sq. ft. / 58 sq. m.


  • Road trailer with European certification
  • Sails in Classic Cream Dacron and White Dracon
  • Lazyjacks
  • All over cover, winter cover, cockpit cover,
  • Sail cover for main, flyer and jib
  • Spinnaker pole
  • Teak decking laid in 2010
  • Name: Spirit in gold leaf on the transom
  • Price on application