The Spirit of Tradition concept has evolved since the early 1990s : “There’s a desire for people to have new objects that feel like old objects - objects that are obviously hand-crafted by caring expert artisans.
A true modern classic faithfully delivers on that front, but also delivers an equally carefully engineered and sophisticated modern experience in structure, performance, and comfort.” Typically the displacement is 40 per cent less than a comparable classic, so light-air performance is much better. Classics dig a big hole in the ocean. When they reach hull speed they sink in, and they get a lot of water over the deck. But the much lighter spirit of tradition boats surf earlier so they stay a lot drier.
It is for this reason that in a new initiative since 2016, Spirit of Tradition yachts have raced at CCW with the aim being for a separate class with courses set to suit their sailing characteristics. The criteria for the Spirit of Tradition class at Cowes Classics Week is that yachts are designed with a classical look built using modern techniques and materials. Spirit of Tradition yachts must also demonstrate excellent craftsmanship on deck and in the hull, however they may have modern underbodies and appendages and use the latest technology in their rigs.
The Spirit of Tradition class is open to Tofinou, Rustler, Spirit yachts and one-offs, providing they meet the criteria.
Caroline Aisher and her Tofinou 8 'Lennie' raced at Cowes Classics Week in 2015 as our first "Spirit of Tradition" competing yacht.
Designed by naval architects Joubert and Nivelt, and produced in accordance with the shipyard’s construction traditions, the Tofinou 8 is a modern sailboat with a classic and timeless line. The hull of the Tofinou 8 is marked by its straight bow and very flat stern lines.
The Tofinou 9.5 shares many characteristics with the Tofinou 8, and is enhanced by way of a hydraulic lifting bulb keel and a four berth accommodation.
Royal London Yacht Club senior member, Ted Fort OBE trailed Pippa from her permanent base on the south of France to attend Cowes Classics Week in 2015, and will hopefully do so again so that she can race in the dedicated "Spirit of" class.