Underneath its wooden skin, this classic 70-foot 'Gentleman's Yacht' is all high-tech.

16 Dec 2021

Spirit Yachts' flagship P70 may appear like something out of The Great Gatsby, but this oh-so-elegant wooden motoryacht is brand new from the keel up, with her glistening mirror-varnished mahogany and traditional flag-blue paint.

Spirit Yachts developed the 71-footer for an experienced Norwegian owner who fell in love with the timeless design of the company's traditional wooden sailboats but wanted to convert the aesthetic to a motorized yacht.

If the Spirit name seems familiar, it's because it's the same company that provided boats for Daniel "007" Craig to sail in the James Bond films Casino Royale and No Time to Die.

The owner didn't only want a classic-looking cruiser with a nostalgic Roaring Twenties attitude that would sit in a harbor, according to Sean McMillan, creator and lead designer of Spirit Yachts. He desired a yacht that could go. "The requirement was to build a motoryacht capable of travelling at an average speed of 18 knots from the UK's south coast, over the North Sea to the Baltic, and on to Norway." "And he wants the yacht to travel there and return without needing to refuel," McMillan explained.

To tackle the task, McMillan and an eight-person team of woodworkers used the same processes used to make Spirit's legendary sailboats, including the newly released 111-foot masterpiece Geist. This entailed constructing a structure out of sapele hardwood. The hull form was created by screwing and bonding longitudinal pieces of Douglas fir. Multiple layers of Japanese kaya wood were then bonded diagonally on top of this to provide carbon-fiber-like strength and stiffness.

"It results in a hull that is both extremely robust and light." "The P70 is roughly half the weight of comparable-sized fiberglass competitors, weighing just 24 tonnes," McMillan notes.

Because of the less weight, smaller engines could be installed in the P70's over-sized engine compartment. The dual 800-hp six-cylinder MAN turbo diesels can reach a peak speed of 29 mph and cruise at a more leisurely 20 mph.

The contours of this timelessly exquisite 1930s-style "gentleman's" motoryacht set it distinct without a doubt. It wasn't simple, though, to create such a captivating profile. The owner, a seasoned and skilled boater, was clear about what he desired. McMillan changed the design more than a dozen times as a consequence.

"He like the design style of several of the Spirit power boats I've created over the years." As a result, we took the wide bow and tumblehome stern from our Spirit P40 and merged them with the 1930s aesthetic of our sailing yachts to create a bigger motoryacht," he continues.

With a typical slim waist—the beam spans only 16.5 feet—and that lofty, majestic bow, the effect is nothing short of a work of floating art. There are also some charming vintage design elements, such as the stainless-steel engine vents on the cabin sidewalls, which were inspired by those on a classic Mercedes-Benz 300SL from the 1950s.

"We did away with the customary stainless railings to retain the sleek, minimalist aesthetic, and we reduced the height of the deck to make it safe and simple to stroll about the boat," McMillan explains.

A central helm, a sumptuous, leather-lined salon room front, and a big galley and dining area aft make up the relatively unusual arrangement specified by the owner below decks. The master stateroom is in the bow on the lower floors, with twin guest rooms in the stern.

The level of quality and attention to detail is outstanding. It's easy to see why varnishing the bare-wood interior took a team of three painters over seven months. It took over three years to build the boat at Spirit's yard in Ipswich, on Britain's east coast, from start to finish.

But, while the P70's exterior is traditional and graceful, it's packed with cutting-edge marine technology beneath the surface. This incorporates a bank of lithium-ion batteries that, while at anchor overnight, can power the yacht's air conditioning and zero-speed stabilizers without using the generator.

"Wooden motoryachts like these are the wave of the future," McMillan adds. "They're light, durable, have a high strength-to-weight ratio, are extremely fuel-efficient, and, as our P70 demonstrates, can be transformed into works of art." A new P70 begins at £4 million (about $5.5 million).

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