Boatbuilder Todd Skoog works on the butterfly skylight hatch fitted to the cabin top of the varnished doghouse that will rise above the flush deck of the new 55-foot Botin-designed racer under construction at Brooklin Boat Yard. BROOKLIN BOAT YARD PHOTO

Brooklin Boat Yard moves forward with new 55-footer

BROOKLIN — Romantics may dream of castles in Spain, but Spanish yacht designers, it seems, dream of boatbuilders in Maine.

For the past few months, Brooklin Boat Yard has been busy with the construction of an as yet unnamed — or at least not publicly — 55-foot Spirit of Tradition racing yacht designed by Botin Partners, a firm of naval architects based in Santander, Spain.

Not so well known in the United States, the design firm has had a glittering presence on the international yacht racing and America’s Cup circuits.

Founding partner Marcelino Botin served as principal designer for Team New Zealand from 2004 to 2011 and worked as a designer for the Italian challenger for last year’s America’s Cup sailed in Bermuda.

A rendering of the new 55-foot Spirit of Tradition racing sloop under construction at Brooklin Boat Yard. Scheduled to be launched in May, with its flush deck, plumb stem and bowsprit, the boat looks fast even in two dimensions.

In September, New England Boats in Portsmouth, R.I., launched the Botin-designed 72-foot Bella Mente, expected to be a leading competitor on the 2019 international maxi-yacht racing circuit in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

The 55-footer is the second Botin design that BBY has built. About 18 months ago, the yard launched Toroa, a high-tech 22-meter (74-foot) lifting keel sloop designed by, and built for, the Botin firm. Evidently, they were satisfied customers.

The new boat has been designed to race with classic yachts in the “Spirit of Tradition” class. Like all the boats designed by Botin Partners, it will be light and fast, but it won’t be Spartan.

Down below, Toroa featured details such as raised panel doors and custom fabricated pewter countertops in the galley.

The new boat will have a custom white oak paneled interior. Beneath a sloped doghouse rising from the otherwise flush deck, the galley, navigator’s desk and a quarter berth for sleeping underway are all in the main saloon. The forward cabin has four bunks and a separate head compartment.

According to Kelly Sturdy of BBY’s design office, the 55-footer is being built with a lightweight wood cold-molded hull and deck and carbon reinforced structure.

The new boat has a wide, relatively shallow hull with a plumb stem and a bowsprit for flying big downwind sails. The hull is 55 feet on deck, 51 feet at the waterline with a beam of 14 feet. With a fixed keel tipped by an 11,050-pound lead bulb, the boat draws 9 feet and has an approximate displacement of 32,000 pounds.

Hall Spars is building her carbon fiber boom and 84-foot triple-spreader mast supported by EC6 carbon standing rigging. The working sail area is approximately 1,645 square feet.

Auxiliary power will be furnished by a 75-horsepower Volvo diesel and saildrive unit.

“At this time, the hull is in initial exterior paint and we’re looking to turn her right side up within a week,” Sturdy said early last week. “The boat is expected to launch in May.”

Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]

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