James Bond yacht builder launches biggest vessel yet
- Credit: Archant
An Ipswich-based yacht builder has launched the biggest yacht built in the UK since the 1930s.
Spirit Yachts, whose boats have appeared in James Bond films, sent the 34m vessel out to sea after three years of construction, but first it had to pass under the iconic Orwell Bridge.
The voyage had to be carefully planned as the 45m tall mast had less than 3.5ft clearance under the bridge. The yacht's journey started at 5.30am on Tuesday when it left the wet dock.
It had to leave at high tide in order to pass a sill near the exit from the lock. Then the yacht and its crew waited until 10.45am and low tide to pass under the bridge.
Sean McMillan, Spirit Yachts founder, said before they set off: "The crew will eat bacon butties and drink coffee most of the morning."
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The yacht was crewed by five of the staff from Spirit Yachts.
"Fortunately we not only have some of the best boat builders in the world but we have some very good sailors as well," Mr McMillan added.
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Once the yacht made it past the bridge it headed to Gosport for its sea trials.
Mr McMillan said: "It's always exciting to launch a new yacht. It is incredibly awkward to move a boat out of the water, but as soon as it is on the water you can turn it with just one finger."
This yacht combines wind power with an electric motor.
The propeller reverses when using wind power to generate electricity in order to charge the batteries.
"To build something like this you need an exceptionally skilled workforce. Luckily we have the best."
The company shot to prominence after James Bond sailed into Venice on one of their yachts during the film Casino Royale.
Mr McMillan added: "That was just a telephone call. They asked 'can we borrow one of your boats?'. And we said, 'yes of course you can, as long as you promise not to blow it up'.
"It just so happened that we had a boat to hand and everything fell into place perfectly."
They are also providing a yacht for the next 007 film 'No Time to Die' in cinemas in April.