The Fifty it is the first model by Eleva Yachts, a new entry in the world of sail yachting. Judging from the result, it is easy to imagine that others will follow, perhaps a bit bigger
by Niccolò Volpati, photo by Andrea Muscatello
The first time I saw it in the yard, when much of it was still a mock-up. Then I saw it at sea during the Cannes and Genoa boat shows, but without any chance of being able to take it out. It attracted attention and often there was a queue on the quay to visit it.
There was really a lot of curiosity in trying out the performance of Eleva Yachts’ first model on the sea. In addition, because I admit, I really liked the interiors and the deck. We leave the Viareggio basin, sail past a good number of moored Perinis and find ourselves outside the harbour. The conditions are extreme, in the sense that there is very little wind. Extreme for a boat which, although fast, is nevertheless still a cruiser.
Will it even be able to move with less than five knots real wind speed, or are we destined just to drift? The right answer is the first one.
Even though there isn’t a lot of wind, the boat speed, shown by the SOG, is not much less. That is a performance that has to be respected. It is certainly the product of the waterlines designed by Giovanni Ceccarelli, and of the sail plan too. The mainsail has a marked elliptical shape, perhaps too much so. In that way the surface of the fabric is greater, but when you go about without much wind, the sail even risks being caught in the backstay.
The wind strengthens as we get further from the coast. It goes up to seven and eight real wind speed. It’s perfect for having fun. We continue sailing close hauled with the main sails. The boat sails well close hauled, and doesn’t hesitate even when we reach thirty degrees. Just as soon as some wind appears, The Fifty reacts the way you expect. It feels the gust and takes right off. It holds a stable course.
I try to take my hands off the helm and the boat doesn’t luff up. The time had arrived to move on to the gennaker. The speed increases further in part because the intensity of the wind is now set at above eight knots. In a cross wind we go at over seven and when we haul as close as much as possible, we even go over eight knots.
It’s a quick boat, there’s no doubt about it. And it couldn’t really be anything else, given that its creator has designed boats of every type, including ones that have taken part in the America’s Cup. But The Fifty isn’t just that. It is also easy to handle, and not just because all the rigging is gathered in the cockpit and within reach.
It is easy to handle, because you immediately get the feeling that it is easy to find the right speed.
There are beautiful boats, and quick ones, but they pull up in their tracks if you get the route wrong by five degrees. Either you are really a wizard at the helm, or you need a personal coach, perhaps with experience in the America’s Cup, who keeps whispering tips in your ear: it heads up slightly, and then bears away, but that’s not how The Fifty is. Even though you may not be a highly-decorated helmsman, you can manage to have fun and get excellent under sail performance.
Below decks the dinette is especially nice, both because of the number of windows that mean you can look out, and also because it really feels big. That is also the product of some small visual tricks.
There is no bulkhead immediately behind the backs of the sofas, for example, but rather there is another space, so you feel there is a larger volume than what there really is. The boat is wide because it has a beam of over four metres, but the feeling – sitting in the ring, is of being on board a larger boat.
The volumes are generally notable. That is something you really feel in the owner’s cabin in the bow. That is the effect of the sheerline, which you can feel above all on the deck, as you go along the gangways.
Going forwards, the deck goes up in such a way that it gives more living space to the cabin below. That is a solution that I liked a lot, even though some purists screw up their nose at it, because they can’t conceive of a main deck which is not all at the same level. Tough on them.
The advantages are clear, in part because they obtain large volumes without building a deckhouse that sticks out excessively from the gunwale. I also really liked the deck. It is nearly extreme, in the sense that sheets and halyards are so well hidden under the deckhouse that it almost seems as if the boat hadn’t been fitted out.
The only thing that didn’t convince me onboard of The Fifty is the extreme forward part of the deckhouse, because it sticks about ten centimetres out from the level of the deck.
Perhaps if could be made to go flush with the deck surface obtained from the sheerline. Avoiding that kind of step would have meant eliminating a potential danger which could hurt people’s toes. It is just a matter of trying the engine.
It is a 75 hp Volvo Penta D2 with a saildrive propeller and a propeller with three retractable blades. It is powerful, so much so that at 2000 rpm the GPS device shows nine knots. The soundproofing of the engine room is also good, with the sound meter in the stern cabin showing levels of between 60 and 75 decibels. And that too contributes to increase the comfort under way.
ELEVA YACHTS – CARBON LINE SRL
Via Papiria 63
T. +39 0721 1542160
Eleva Yachts – The Fifty
Project: Ceccarelli Yacht Design
Hull: LOA 16.50m • Waterline length 13.85m • Length 15.24m • Maximum beam 4.86m • Draft (as standard) 2.87m • Shallow draft 2.45m • Light mass displacement 10,500 kg • Full mass displacement 12,900 kg • Ballast 3,900 kg • Sailing surface 154 m2 • Main sail 88 m2 • Genoa 66 m2 • Gennaker 240 m2 • Water tank volume 510 l • Fuel tank volume 270 l
Main propulsion: Volvo D2 75 • 55 kW • maximal rotational speed 3000/min • 4 cylinders • Swept volume 2.2 l • Saildrive • 3 foldable blades propeller
EC Certification: CAT A
(Eleva Yachts: The Fifty, right first time – Barchemagazine.com January 2018)