Commissioned by the owner of the magnificent sailing/electric yacht Geist, this sleek all electric hydrofoiling yacht is being brought to life through the combined talents of two masters of sailing creativity and innovation: Spirit Yachts and BAR Technologies.
Spirit Yachts was established in 1993 to give yacht owners a beautiful hand crafted wooden alternative to fibreglass production boats. Each vessel from the shipyard is impeccably designed and crafted – from the hand laminated mainframes to the myriad finishing details. As an example, the seating alone in the salon area of the Geist Spirit 111 (photo below) took 2,000 working hours to create.
When they commissioned Geist the owners requested ‘a work of art’ and the shipwrights delivered. Designed by Spirit co-founder Sean McMillan and Rhoades Young, she won two Boat International Design and Innovation Awards in 2021. One was for Best Sailing Yacht Interior, and the other was the Eco Award for environmentally sensitive design, engineering and operation.
Her owner told BOAT International “It was always very important to me that the yacht does not play a part in destroying her natural environment” so Geist is the home of the 100,000th electric motor delivered by Torqeedo, a 100kW Deep Blue system with hydrogeneration. It can power the 65 tonnes vessel for 30 nautical miles at 8 knots.
America’s Cup meets McLaren F1
BAR Technologies, the company working with Spirit on the propulsion and technical aspects of the Electric Flyer hydrofoiling yacht, has equal achievements and pedigree.
BAR was founded in 2017 by Martin Whitmarsh and Simon Schofield to lead the cutting edge of engineering innovation in the marine industry through their combined and shared experiences in highest tier yacht and car racing.
Schofield is a veteran of multiple America’s Cup Campaigns and Volvo Ocean Races while Whitmarsh was the Team Principal of the McLaren Formula One Team and deputy chairman of McLaren Automotive. Their technical and engineering backgrounds merged when Whitmarsh moved over from cars to yachts, signing up as chief executive of the 2017 UK America’s Cup entry. BAR Technologies was founded shortly after.
BAR has a variety of specialist teams with a wide scope of innovative projects. Their WindWings solid sails make huge cargo ships more fuel efficient. Their patented Foil Optimisation and Stability System (FOSS) combines active hydrofoil technology with custom hull hydrodynamics and is being applied to large crew transfer vessels and high speed recreational boats like the Princess Yachts R35 powerboat.
The Electric Flyer – officially named the Spirit 35(F) – merges the best of all the technicians and craftspeople at both companies, showcasing how BAR’s high-tech efficiency and sustainability work in concert with Spirit’s classically beautiful aesthetic.
Electric hydrofoiling yacht a marriage of excellence
With the well publicized advances in battery technologies and electric drive trains, yacht owners are now actively assessing the green credentials of their investments. This is particularly true of sailing yachts and maybe even more so with the modern classics that Spirit specializes in. As Sean McMillan told Gentlemen’s Journal, “We had to install a Tesla charging point outside our yard because so many of our customers have electric cars.”
BAR is working with Spirit to bring its America’s Cup simulation and design expertise to the electric powerboat project, with the optimal hull and foil combination to minimize water resistance and improve both comfort and efficiency.
The vessel will ‘take-off’ at 14 knots, and once flying, will cruise at 22 knots and a top speed of 30 knots. It has 6 seats in open cockpit configuration and can quickly convert to a 2-seater spider configuration to accentuate the high speed thrills. Quite fitting for a boat with race car heritage.
There are no detailed technical notes yet about battery size or motor, or any indication of whether the Electric Flyer uses the FOSS system or another BAR technology. The end result, though will be a range of around 100 nautical miles and five hours of foiling.
Next generation of classic yachts
John Cooper, the CEO of BAR, is seeing significant market demand for sustainable leisure vessels that draw innovation from the wider maritime sector. “The Electric Flyer is an exciting opportunity for BAR to collaborate with Sean and his team’s strong track record of designing beautiful boats. We are looking forward to working with them to bring advanced foiling technology to the classic yacht world.”
“The trend for forward thinking, environmentally aware yacht buyers is driving exciting changes for the next step in classic yacht design” agrees McMillan. You can see that future unfolding here, in these photos from the Spirit Yachts facebook page. The build of the stunning Electric Flyer hydrofoiling yacht is underway and she is scheduled for delivery in the second half of this year.