In the past few months Southern Spars has been lucky enough to take part in a unique retrofit project, Project Sophie, which will come to fruition this spring.
The 91ft Sophie is a classic yacht, designed by Bruce King for Jan Stenbeck and launched in 1994. Stenbeck was a huge fan of the America’s Cup and wanted to have built a 90-foot replica of the America’s Cup yacht Endeavor, which once completed he christened in his daughter’s name, Sophie. Unfortunately, Stenbeck passed away in 2002, giving the yacht a huge emotional significance to his daughter.
In this retrofit project, Southern Spars provided a new rig, however, in an interesting twist it was painted to resemble one made of wood. It was an extensive project culminating in around 3900 hours of labour by the Southern Spars team for the mast and 2800 hours for the boom.
For a job this huge, the artist, John Shehan, flew all the way from the United States to do the job, which took an entire week for the artist and his colleague to hand paint. The painted timber appearance was followed by a clear coat spray from Southern Spars, giving it a glossy and smooth finish, and the result, an elegant and classic looking yacht. The finish look was so effective it even fooled the fitter who was working on the yacht.
Although the intrinsic flaws in the yacht’s original design limit the level of performance that our latest innovative rigs provide, Southern Spars delivered on the clients need for a yacht that is easy to sail. Whilst still staying true to the “classic” nature and look of the boat, the rig now is lighter, easy to set up and sail, reliable and will work every time. It is due to be assembled, stepped and commissioned by RigPro USA, in Newport, in early April.
Southern Spars also added a locking headboard car system for the mainsail, and halyards locks for the fractional spinnaker, the jib and the staysail. These locks help to reduce the mast compression as well as reducing the stretch of the halyards, which will improve the performance of the yacht. Finished with Future Fibres ECsix rigging, the yacht is now the finest, timeless superyacht for Sophie to cruise with her family and friends.