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 all Spirits, the 46 is built on laminated ring frames usually fashioned from Brazilian cedar, a strong, dark hardwood that looks like mahogany but at half the weight; the keelson is Oregon pine. The first layer of planking on the 46 is also Brazilian cedar (on bigger boats that are less weight sensitive, the choice is Douglas fir), and it’s glued to the ring frames to form a monocoque structure that’s then faired before a series of double-diagonal, cold-molded veneers are applied. The builders add a layer of glass/epoxy to stabilize the surface prior to the Awlgrip finish.
The deck is swept teak; the brightwork is highly varnished Brazilian mahogany; everything is bonded by West System Epoxy. The keel is an SG steel foil to which a torpedo-shaped lead ballast bulb—a whopping 45 percent of the boat’s 9,900 pounds of displacement—is bolted. The stainless-steel rudderstock supports a finely tuned, foam-filled, balanced spade rudder encapsulated by a carbon skin. Custom hardware abounds. The attention to detail is staggering. The end result is irresistible.
At least it was to Kevin Felix, a banker who loved his J/100, but was “looking for something a little different.” His bride, however, needed a bit of persuasion before she warmed to the idea.
Kevin said he “stumbled” upon Spirit Yachts by happenstance, while surfing Internet classifieds for used boats. Intrigued, he looked up the company’s website and decided to pay a visit to their boatyard in Ipswich, where he inspected the yachts under construction, and met McMillan, in whom he discovered a kindred soul. They started corresponding. Another trip to England ensued. Tina remained skeptical.
“Kevin wanted the boat,” she said, “but when I looked at the price tag, I thought, ‘With that, I could have another 4,000 square feet of house.’” Ultimately, she made a trip to Ipswich on her own.
“That did it,” she said. “I got it.”
Like most Spirit owners, the Felixes returned to the yard as their boat, the tenth 46 to be built, came to existence before their eyes, an experience that McMillan strongly encourages. “They’re virtually custom boats,” he said. “You can have any interior you want. It’s not like buying one off the shelf. The owners have to work with us for a year or 15 months or more to create this thing, and that’s a big commitment. The more they come to visit, the better we can keep coming together to stay on exactly the same track they want.”
For his part, Kevin enjoyed every moment of the process. “It’s amazing to see the various stages, from a stack of wood in the corner to a set of ribs, then a planked hull, and finally the finished boat,” he said. “It was something to watch it take shape.”