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Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders launches 24m expedition ketch Wind Spirit

3 February 2023• Written by Katia Damborsky

Auckland-based shipyard Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders has launched a 23.9-metre sailing yacht described as an "expedition ketch". Named Wind Spirit, the yacht was built for an experienced sailor looking for "a long-distance sailing ketch for exploring remote places and high latitudes, with decent performance and great safety." 

The yacht hit the water before Christmas 2022 at Half Moon Bay marina, around ten kilometres away from the yard's main construction site. She will have her home berth in Brest in France, but her owner has planned an ambitious global itinerary that includes some of the world's most untouched regions. All the key infrastructure is electrically powered and much of the electrical generation for the vessel is supplied by solar panels and a pair of hydro generators that charge a lithium-ion battery bank.

Wind Spirit has been built in cold-moulded yellow cedar with an outer shell of e-glass and Kevlar. The wood construction takes advantage of Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilder's considerable expertise in timber boatbuilding and the sustainably-sourced wood is diagonally planked and forms six layers. 

She has watertight bulkheads, a one-metre-long sacrificial bow and twin helms. The masts are deck-stepped and built in carbon, alongside carbon booms and all-carbon standing rigging. Wind Spirit is fractional-rigged ketch with an upwind sail area of 283 square metres and a downwind sail area of 442 square metres.

Accommodation comprises two double berths and two twin berths with two heads. In keeping with her rugged explorer spirit, she has no owner's cabin. Forward of the accommodation is a saloon and galley area, which includes a port side reading snug. 

The yacht's interior has been finished in natural Anigre wood panels and there are a number of personal touches on board Wind Spirit, including a half-model that was gifted to the owner by a recently qualified apprentice.

 “Our chaps were in their element – it was obviously a challenging project because of the detail and level of accuracy required,” said Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders’ project manager Peter Brooking. “But they rose to the task and enjoyed it immensely.” 

Speaking about using Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilder, designer and owner’s representative Arnaud de Marignac explained:  “We investigated numerous boatyards around the world – mainly in Europe but also in the U.S.” They paid a visit to Auckland and "liked what [they] saw', making it the "obvious choice".

“She quickly proved her credentials during commissioning," de Marignac continued. "In a 20-plus-knot wind on the Hauraki Gulf, we cruised upwind at a little over 10 knots. I did not really expect that from a 50-tonne boat.”

Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders has a number of different projects in its portfolio, and one of its most well-known projects is the tenders for Sailing Yacht A