Yachting Boating World: The Suffolk-based luxury boat builder, Spirit Yachts, is expanding following an upturn in orders. YBW spoke to the firm’s managing director, Nigel Stuart about the company’s plans.
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.
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.”
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.
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.