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James Bond's boatbuilder toasts another great year

PUBLISHED: 17:29 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:29 18 September 2019

The Spirit Yachts 50CR (cruiser-racer) with Lignia rather than teak decking, which is launching at the Southampton Boat Show. Picture: MIKE JONES/WATERLINE MEDIA

The Spirit Yachts 50CR (cruiser-racer) with Lignia rather than teak decking, which is launching at the Southampton Boat Show. Picture: MIKE JONES/WATERLINE MEDIA

Waterline Media

An Ipswich company which built the yacht 007 sailed in Casino Royale has recorded another fine year.

Spirit Yachts at the Southampton Boat Show, Karen Underwood operations director and Nigel Stuart managing director on the Spirit 50CR  which has a value of �1m including VAT, at the Southampton Boat Show. Picture: SPIRIT YACHTSSpirit Yachts at the Southampton Boat Show, Karen Underwood operations director and Nigel Stuart managing director on the Spirit 50CR which has a value of �1m including VAT, at the Southampton Boat Show. Picture: SPIRIT YACHTS

Spirit Yachts recorded its highest turnover since the launch of the business and is going from strength to strength.

The luxury boat builder, which found international fame when Daniel Craig as James Bond sailed into Venice on a Spirit 54 yacht in Casino Royale, is now a major employer in the town with its team of skilled designers, naval architects, builders, joiners and engineers in its giant waterside workshops.

It makes custom-designed superyachts for customers across the globe.

This week a team lead by managing director Nigel Stuart is promoting its custom-built craft to customers at the Southampton International Boat Show with its Spirit 50CR cruiser-racer.

The Spirit Yachts 50CR (cruiser-racer) with Lignia rather than teak decking, which is launching at the Southampton Boat Show. Picture: MIKE JONES/WATERLINE MEDIAThe Spirit Yachts 50CR (cruiser-racer) with Lignia rather than teak decking, which is launching at the Southampton Boat Show. Picture: MIKE JONES/WATERLINE MEDIA

Meanwhile in Ipswich, the company is preparing to launch its largest ever sailing yacht, the 34-metre, Spirit 111 sloop this autumn.

The company was set up in 1993 and founded by Sean McMillan and Mick Newman with a dream of offering yacht owners an alternative to white fibreglass production boats.

From humble beginnings in the Suffolk countryside it now operates from a 1,840 square metre facility with a team of more than 50, offering a range of custom-built wooden sail and power yachts. It has a healthy order book into 2020.

Spirit currently employs a team of 61, the highest number of staff in the company's history, keeping alive a proud tradition of boatbuilding in the port which goes back centuries.

Spirit Yachts has also announced the promotion of Karen Underwood to operations director.

Managing director Nigel Stuart said: "Karen is an invaluable asset to the Spirit team and her promotion is well-deserved. Over the last two years, Spirit has had its highest turnover ever, delivering more cubic feet of yachts per year in the company's 26 year history."

Spirit is launching a flagship power yacht the 22.7 metre Spirit P70 as well as the Spirit 111 this autumn.

Also in construction are a Spirit DH65, an electric Spirit 44E and a Spirit P40 superyach tender.

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