Lean and lithe yet sound and fast, the British-built Spirit 46 Bamboozle is a thoroughly contemporary conveyance with the form and soul of a classic. "Yacht Style" from our October 2011 issue.
Like many self-professed adrenaline junkies, Tina Felix doesn’t look like one. A lawyer by profession as well as a mother of four, at first glance she seems the very essence of those solid, grounded pursuits. Her “other” personality was revealed early last fall on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, where a crisp northerly gusting toward 25 knots was coursing down the East Passage. Aboard Bamboozle, the elegant Spirit 46 she owns with her spouse, Kevin, I was tagging along with the couple for the short but lively beat from Newport to Portsmouth, an upwind journey for which we’d prudently tucked in the first mainsail reef before setting out from the former’s protected harbor.
We were two or perhaps three tacks into it, spray flying, clawing to weather purposely at nearly seven knots, when Tina suggested we shake out the reef. Given the whitecaps and the pumping breeze, it wasn’t something that would’ve occurred to me otherwise. Kevin shrugged; reef knots were untied; the mainsheet was eased as the button for the electric halyard winch was depressed. Once everything was again squared away, we were ever so slightly overpowered and had only gained a tenth of a knot or two of boat speed, but Tina seemed satisfied.
At left: Tina and Kevin Felix
“I didn’t used to be like this,” she said. “On a day like today I’d be saying, ‘Whoa, that’s a lot of wind.’ I was a reluctant sailor. But my husband converted me. Along with this boat.”
Though the sum of my sailing time aboard Bamboozle to that moment totaled about 20 minutes, I completely understood what she meant. With her slim beam, low profile, and long overhangs, Bamboozle appeared above the waterline to be from a different era, but she was a wolf in sheep’s clothing: Thanks to a tall Southern Spars carbon rig, high-tech Quantum sails, the deep fin keel and ballast bulb, and a detached spade rudder, she trucked to weather as if possessed. And before my day with the Felixes was done, I’d come to realize that Tina was not only a convert to the pure, unadulterated thrill of sailing such an exquisite creation; she was also America’s leading ambassador for Spirit Yachts.