Until recently, the famous J-Class sailing superyacht Shamrock V reigned as the largest single-masted wooden yacht to spring from UK shores. Her 90-year reign has ended due to Spirit Yachts sea trialing Geist. This 111-footer (33.9-meter), bearing wood epoxy composite construction on a stainless steel space frame, is also more about wind power and far less about hooking up to shore power. Furthermore, she has arguably one of the most imaginative approaches to interior design you’ll see on any megayacht.
The sloop-rigged Geist was a deep passion project for her owner. He wants to spend most days sailing and anchoring, and therefore away from marinas. He also believes electric power is cleaner than traditional diesel engine and genset power. Subsequently, Geist has a Torqueedo electric propulsion system, with four lithium-ion batteries. Battery power alone reportedly lets her cover 30 nautical miles at 8 knots. When under sail, meanwhile, the prop shaft still rotates, charging the batteries. Additionally, all onboard systems, including galley appliances, were specifically chosen for low energy consumption yet high efficiency. Geist’s owner even though about hot water. The system heats on demand, for one. Any extra heated water can stay in a tankless system employing high-efficiency transfer coils.
All of this means her gensets are essentially for backup, not regular reliance. And, “When the yacht crosses the Atlantic, as long as there is adequate wind, she will not need to consume any fossil fuels,” explains Nigel Stuart, Spirit Yachts’ managing director. The owner doesn’t need a crew, either, designed from the start for short-handed sailing. “A single-masted wooden yacht of this size that can be owner-driven is nothing less than a feat of engineering,” adds Sean McMillan, Spirit Yachts’ founder and head designer, who also notes that Geist will participate in some regattas.
For purely leisure pursuits, however, Geist is dressed to impress. Interestingly, the owner drew a lot of inspiration from Antelope Canyon in Arizona, which led to “the warm, soft-flowing walls creating unique focal points,” Jonathan Rhoades of Rhoades Young Design explains. The resulting cocoon-like design married the owner’s appreciation for organic architecture with an equal appreciation for fine furniture. “Whilst appearing simple, these twisting forms are coordinated perfectly with the beautiful skylights above, creating a calm and tranquil ambiance,” Rhoades adds.
Spirit Yachts’ own craftspeople brought the S shapes to life with American walnut, teak, and Sipo (similar to mahogany). Notably, a strikingly curved, American walnut seating area is the centerpiece of the open-plan saloon and galley. So, too, do C-shape walnut alcoves frame the beds in the master suite and two of three guest staterooms. Sensor-activated recesses preserve the aesthetics while simultaneously allowing doors to open. Sensors further activate soft lighting.
The RINA-classed Geist, with a 21-foot (6.4-meter) beam, is still in the UK, awaiting delivery.
Spirit Yachts spirityachts.com
Rhoades Young Design rhoadesyoung.com