The Beneteau shipyard used to offer two lines of models since years, the Oceanis range and the First range. The biggest shipyard of the world had stopped with the sportive line of First sailing yachts until a few years ago
when the group bought a small Slovenian shipyard with sportive sailing boats at the smaller end of the market. In the meantime, they were secretly planning their comeback in the performance cruiser market, until then dominated by Dehler and Grand Soleil.
In 2018 the First 53 was introduced; an Italian style performance cruiser, with good looks, but not a trendsetter such as the Firsts designs from the eighties and nineties. In those days Beneteau asked well-known designers Philip Starck and Pininfarina to do the detailing of the First yachts on the bases of Berret, or Farr designed hulls. Real stunning yachts, but maybe a bit too avant-garde for a production shipyard.
The producer of the Eleva Yachts is from a different calibre, in terms of yacht production, age, size and construction method. Carbon Line is a major player in Italy in supplying the big brands, such as Ferretti or Riva with the high tech composite hulls of their fast motor yacht designs. Since its beginning more then ten years ago, Carbon Line has built up a sound reputation in producing lightweight and sturdy hulls.
In 2017 the management team of Carbon Line decided, they wanted to prove the boat building market that theyare capable of creating, producing, finishing and delivering complete high techsailing yachts and founded the brand Eléva Yachts. They currently have twomodels, two others are on the drawing boards, but Eléva Yachts started with theThe Fifty performance cruis
-Where a significant boat producer like Beneteau has to find a balance between design and economical
production, a shipyard like Eléva Yachts can go for a product without compromises. The Eléva Yachts’ concept starts with a lightweight hull: a yacht with such a light displacement is impossible for a volume boat producer.
The Fifty of Eléva Yachts is designed by the renowned naval architect Giovanni Ceccarelli. Ceccarelli became world famous in the highest league of the regatta scene; the America’s Cup. The general public might know him from the salvage of a sunken cruise ship; the Costa Concordia.
For Eleva Yachts Giovanni Ceccarelli designed a fast but easy to handle cruiser for a crew of two. The lighter a yacht, the easier it’s to handle and to get her sailing in light winds. TheFifty is also a contender in the regatta scene to be reckoned with.
The Fifty is one of the few modern yachts really standing out of the crowd with here concave sheerline, hightened foredeck. and distinctive superstructure. The optional hull windows emphasise the uniqueness of her design.
The cockpit is wide and uncluttered, the winches are positioned near the helm stations, but far enough apart to be able to work them with a crew too. The mainsail traveller is fully recessed in the cockpit floor and the cockpit table is removable. The deck layout is free from any obstacles and a delight for the eye.
For the flagship of the First fleet, Beneteau has approached the Italian architects Biscontini and Argento to design the First 53. Biscontini has been involved with several America’s cup syndictes in the past and Argento has learned the tricks of the trade with Luca Brenta .
Where Giovanni Ceccarelli does the design and engineering of a whole yacht by himself, Biscontini and Argento had divided the tasks in respectively naval design and, deck and interior design.
The shipyard calls the First a luxurious performance cruiser which is reflected in a 50% heavier yacht compared to the Eleva theFifty. She is two and a half feet longer and has a bit wider beam. But most of the weight goes into the heavier hull, because of the lesser sophisticated production method.
Biscontini draw a moderate hull and Argento finished it off with a classy design with a relative small cockpit and a large but low superstructure. The cockpit has two fixed cockpit tables and the floor at the back runs from side to side. The hull windows are in line with the modern trend of ever large openings in the topsides.
The design of the minimalistic interior of the Eleva TheFifty is a fresh breeze in the modern yacht production.
Although light and modern, the saloon design is still nautical because of the clearly visible main bulkhead which more or less divides the galley from the saloon.
The advantage of a boutique shipyard is that you can alter the interior to your preferences; a galley in front or next to the entrance, double bench or dinette on starboard, extra cupboards in the owners cabin or extra cockpit locker in the aft cabin are jsut a few of the interior options to choose from.
TheFifty is available in many interior decors, with a contemporary finish or with a more classic appearance. If you want your TheFifty to be the lightest you can even choose for composite cupboards.
What strikes you when you enter the First 53 interior are the straight lines of the many panels, such as those around the hull windows.
The galley is immediately on port near the companionway and the saloon contains a dinette at port and an inviting L-sofa with large cushions on starboard. I find the finish somewhat sobering.
The owner’s cabin in front contains a shower separated from the heads and a centreline double bed. You’ll find two cabins in the back and you can choose from two or three heads. The third heads would take away a big portion of the galley.
Obviously because of the mass production character of the First 53, you have less options in the interior to choose from, apart from the many appliances and electronics.