Custom cruising yacht Spirit of Adventure for sale in Cape Town

Saturday, 01 May 2010

This futuristic sailing machine was built by world renowned custom boat builders Marten Yachts in New Zealand for an experienced sailor whose last yacht was a Nautor Swan on which he circumnavigated. The remit for his new boat was for a faster long distance blue water luxury cruising yacht to a very high specification and standard of construction. No expense was spared during her design and build. Unlike many ‘comparable’ yachts on the new and second hand market such as Shipman, Wally or Baltic she was specifically designed to be capable of making transoceanic passages sailed by only two people, and occasionally single-handed. Since the boat was launched she has completed almost thirty thousand trouble free miles. This includes three passages averaging more than two hundred miles a day from New Zealand to Tahiti and back, one of which was undertaken alone by her then sixty nine year old owner. Most recently ‘Spirit’ was sailed double handed from Auckland, through the Timor Sea to Bali and since then double-handed across the Indian Ocean to the Seychelles, finally arriving in Durban in 2009.

In January this year designer Merfyn Owen sailed together with her owner from Durban to Cape Town for the purpose of reviewing the yacht prior to bringing her up for sale and to help organise a refit work list. During the four day trip in which he was brought up to date with her history since launch it was clear that the yacht has never been in a better condition to fulfil her original brief. In cosmetic terms she has been looked after, is in immaculate condition down below and requires only some paint touch up, new canvas work and polish/valet work on deck. Mechanically Spirit of Adventure has been continually professionally maintained and improved during the last seven years. Her last refit was carried out in New Zealand in 2007 which included hauling to enable a scheduled inspection by the builders, mast and sail manufacturers. As recently as 2009 a new modern high load generator was fitted to replace the original.

In Cape Town the yacht is in the hands of Jaz Marine (custom builders of Owen Clarke Class 40’s as well as Gunboat cruising catamarans). ‘Spirit’ has since been hauled, fully inspected by her original build manager and a maintenance program/cosmetic overhaul is now underway.


In styling the yacht the client particularly wanted to maintain some consistency with the form of an Open 60, whilst improving comfort and protection from wind and weather. Lead designer Allen Clarke had the delicate job of balancing the requirements of comfortable sea keeping, comfort and a luxurious accommodation with the ever-present greed for speed.

The result is a wide powerful yacht with twin wheels, separate working cockpit and a full-length undercover lounge cockpit sheltered behind and under a large coach roof.

The saloon area inside the coach roof seats eight for dinner with exterior views and the main accommodation is divided into two comfortable staterooms aft and four other berths. At the owner’s request the area forward of the mast was left empty, as the intention is to cruise quickly and with the minimum of people whilst still having the ability to lavishly entertain in harbour. Subsequently simple, light accommodation was provided in the forward compartment for additional guests. It was envisaged that this area could for future owners be adapted to a cabin with a full fit out, possibly for a professional crew.

Stability and righting moment is high and commensurate with a transoceanic yacht designed to round Cape Horn, as the owner has already done before. In more exotic locations, access into shallow anchorages is achieved by means of a lifting fin and bulb keel. Once at anchor the transom converts into a bathing platform from where the fully inflated tender can be launched from its garage with access in/out of the water via a slide away boarding ladder under the starboard steps. For Mediterranean style mooring the lightweight carbon passerelle/ gangway is discretely disguised as the top cross member and guardrail on the yacht’s stern.


In November 2004 this custom designed cruiser Spirit of Adventure returned from Tahiti to the viaduct basin in Auckland where she was launched. Here is unedited our client’s report after that trip and of the period when he had been cruising with his family in the Pacific.

"Dear Merf and Allen

Friday last week, I and my friend Ecki arrived well in Auckland around 0200 pm on the mooring of the customs. Later we moved to Viaduct harbour, where Tim and Alan expect us already.

In exact 12 days we sailed 2483 m ( may be more, because I calculated it only in the charts day by day). We have had wind till 45 knots and the ship was sailing very safe with the solent and 2 reefs in the main on an angle to the wind of 120 till 140 degrees. In this strong wind we have got a speed of around 16 knots in the top. The ship was always easy to control and to handle. Only the main was damaged in the area of the battens. But I think Tim gave you already this information. The main is now in the loft of North Sails and Bikky promised to repair it in a stronger kind.

Also the interior is fine designed. On the whole trip we have had always a good lunch easy to prepare and to work in the galley. The idea to adjust the beds in the aft cabins is also super. When the ship was heeling, we adjusted the angle and it was fantastic to sleep well.

When you are interest to see my movie about this trip, I'll send you the DVD when we back in Germany end of the next week. In the meantime the yard is working to improve and to repair the points on my list. All is running well. The ship should now stay in NZ till April 2005. Than I´ll start to another trip. But the destination is not quite fixed. About this I have to talk with Elke.

So I will confirm you once again this ship is really my dream. Thank you. It was the right decision.

I am also happy to get the info that you and your team have got some further orders to construct nice boats.

Also happy to meet you and Allen once again.

Kind regards


Spirit of Adventure is reluctantly for sale. With her owner now in his seventies, after this coming season he no longer wishes to make the long distance passages that keep him away from his family. Spirit will be his last sailboat. This true high performance blue water cruiser will be available for viewing in Cape Town, South Africa, from July 2010.


These boat details are subject to contract.

For more information or to register an interest please go to: Spirit of Adventure For Sale, A Vendre

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