Fairlie 77 : Elegance and style in a modern classic

Written by Rebecca Smurthwaite

Builder and designer of the Fairlie range of Spirit of Tradition yachts, Duncan Walker and Paul Spooner, spoke with SuperYacht Times about their latest project. Showcasing the Fairlie 77, we take a look at the source of their motivation, the inspiration behind the design process and what makes this Spirit of Tradition yacht an emerging standout amongst her contemporaries.  Fairlie 77 yacht renderingsWith deep-rooted links to yachting, Duncan entered the industry as crew of Adix (ex-Jessica) during his self-confessed "running away to sea" phase, having previously completed an engineering degree. Moving on to a Fife classic as a taste of things to come, shortly afterwards he joined the restoration crew on the famous Fife schooner, Altair. With fond memories Duncan recalls, "Once completed, I was approached by Albert Obrist the owner and asked to set up a restoration yard in Hamble near Southampton. The rest, as they say, is history! Since 1990 I have been restoring yachts and, more recently, been lucky enough to build modern classics with a Fife aesthetic". Fairlie 77 yacht renderingsPaul quickly points out that, more important than his naval architecture degree, he has always enjoyed lots of sailing. Career-wise, he initially started with a variety of design roles before meeting Duncan, starting on design work at Fairlie Yachts. Paul continues, "I now have my own company, Paul Spooner Design, and still work across many design projects on everything from Spirits of Traditions to motor yachts.”Fairlie 77 yacht renderingsBoth draw keen inspiration from the initiatives of famed Scot, William Fife, renowned for the elegance and beauty of his designs, including two Americas Cup yachts and many dozens built to the Metre Rule. Clearly taking a leaf from Fife’s book, both men recognise ‘the Master’s’  importance in the culture of yacht design and development, listing him as up there in the top four names during the late 19th and early 20th century in the UK. "Both of us have spent years on Fife’s, so we know the important elements that give it the Fife feel,” notes Paul. “From this, we try to incorporate as much as possible, including aspects such as the tumblehome, which is not easy to design but is well worth the outcome in the end." Fairlie 77 yacht renderingsAfter 40 years in the industry and 30 years working with Fife yachts, Duncan expresses passionately, "Working with Fife yachts and bringing the beauty, elegance and simplicity of his designs back to life is exhilarating and rewarding. We can say that his aesthetics are shamelessly the motivational inspiration behind the Fairlie range of modern classic yachts".Fairlie 77 yacht renderingsThe latest design, the Fairlie 77, is a gorgeous William Fife-inspired fin keel yacht. Versatile to the max, she is offered with two sail plans, so she can be used for cruising or racing as per the owners’ specifications. For cruising, she can be outfitted with a cutter headed yawl for ease of handling while under sail, or alternatively, she can be sold as a more modern sloop rig with a powerful fore triangle and mainsail to equip her for racing. Fairlie 77 yacht renderingsAs with the 55, while not designed as a racing yacht per se, the 77 is more than capable thanks to her lightweight hull, fin keel and modern rigs. Describing the construction process in detail Paul explains, "The yacht is constructed from laminated timber, with some metal reinforcement used in high-load areas. Her hull is designed with a layer of Douglas fir and diagonal mahogany veneers fastened over these for torsional strength, so she is incredibly strong". Fairlie 77 yacht renderingsDuncan continues, "The great thing is, all the design work is already done, so from deposit to sea trials it is around two years. She is an exciting project that is ready to go!". A big plus for prospective purchasers, the Fairlie 77 is offered with two superb interior accommodation plans which, with an owners' personal input, will make her entirely bespoke.Fairlie 77 yacht renderingsThe question remains, is there a move towards people wanting a Spirit of Tradition or classic yachts and what seems to be their observation on current trends? "I feel people with the ability to spend money and who enjoy restoring things such as cars, houses, motorcycles etc., would love to restore a classic yacht," Duncan enthuses. "However, we are running out of classic yachts to restore plus the crew and maintenance costs are very significant. I do feel that the pride of ownership in our yachts is very high, the Fairlie 55 has been in the same ownership for ten years now. This way, the characteristic elegance and beauty of a classic yacht is reproduced but with lower running costs, better performance and ease of handling". Fairlie 77 yacht renderingsThe Fairlie range is for sure a standout in her class, offering the best of both worlds for those seeking a Fife aesthetic together with easy upkeep and high performance. Thanks to Duncan and Paul's passion for their craft and enduring attention to detail, future owners of the beautiful Fairlie 77 will certainly acquire a yacht that displays a seamless combination of design, workmanship and technology. The Fairlie 77 is offered exclusively with Ocean Independence.

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