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This Custom Sailing Yacht Elegantly Fuses Modern Design and Old-World Charm

The 49-foot "Elida" is fast, technologically advanced and elegant.


The word “bespoke” gets tossed around a lot in the marine industry, but Thomas Tison’s latest creation is truly deserving of that descriptor.

The French naval architect, who is currently working for the British America’s Cup team, has unveiled an elegant new vessel that was custom-built for a client seeking a cross between a high-speed racer and a classic wooden sailing yacht. The end result is a 49-footer that eschews the current trend of minimalist, carbon-fiber raceboats in favor of what Tison describes as “a timeless prestige.”

Christened Elida, the slick offshore cruiser sports curved and tensed lines, with a pronounced flare, an inverted sheer line and a rounded turn of the bilge. Tison’s eponymous firm developed a unique construction method for the hull in which Alaskan light wood was reinforced with woven carbon fiber. This results in an incredibly light yet stiff frame. In fact, Tison even carried out in-depth testing at an Airbus facility to check the material’s strength.

Sailing yacht "Elida"

Sailing yacht “Elida” on the high seas.  Jan Brugge

In addition, the hull shape was optimized with computational fluid dynamics to ensure it performs well in the light to medium wind conditions experienced in most regattas. The team also developed a new lifting keel system to reduce the draft from 10.5 feet down to roughly eight feet and installed innovative carbon rigging to provide competitive gains whilst racing. According to Tison, Elida can reach nearly 30 knots at full tilt. That speed was a requisite for the owner, who plans to race in the prestigious Fastnet Race and other regattas.

A render of sailing yacht Elida

A render of the sailing yacht “Elida.”  Seb Olle

“The key to realizing the owner’s vision is having an in-depth understanding of his underlying needs,” Tison said in a statement. “Even though it’s a process that takes time, this deep exploration allows us to come up with unique solutions for creating unique boats.”

A render of sailing yacht Elida

A render of the sailing yacht “Elida.”  Seb Olle

Another request from the owner was to create a comfortable living area onboard for his family. After penning several layouts, the team settled on an open-plan interior that sees the aft cabins flow onto the main living section and the chart table tucked behind the companionway. This allowed for a longer cockpit and freed up space for a garage. To top it off, Tison engineered a custom heating and ventilation system. The Frenchman even thought about acoustics and made sure that the yacht had a good level of sound insulation.

Elida was recently launched in Germany and is now on her way to one very happy owner.

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