The Hoek Design Elfje, built by Dutch masters Royal Huisman, was launched last summer and these are some of the first images and videos of this standout ketch


There have been a couple of standout plumb bow superyacht ketches launched in recent years, namely the Dykstra designed Hetairos and Kamaxitha. This latest model from Hoek Design called Elfje, looks equally sensational. Like Kamaxitha, she was built by Dutch masters Royal Huisman, and launched last summer.

This first video, released on the eve of her racing debut at the St Barth’s Bucket this week, whets the appetite for the performance potential of this the 52.36m (172ft) ketch. In her class is the fellow Hoek-designed ketch Marie, a 55m Vitters build that is out to defend last year’s Bucket victory.

Behind Elfje’s timeless lines lies some intriguing modern technology. Hoek Design’s Ruurt Meulemans says her owner would not compromise on looks or performance (both in operational and engineering terms). The Hoek team analysed the lines plans of five hulls with CFD, before tank-testing the preferred shape using a 20ft model (now hanging over Andre Hoek’s desk). Vee sections have been built in forward, designed to avoid the slamming tendencies performance shapes with plumb ends can be subject to.

Performance is a prime target so trim tabs were added to the keel at design stage. Andre Hoek feels these should help with pointing and accelerating out of tacks if they are added. She also has a T-keel that lifts to deck level, reducing draught from 7.10 m (23ft) to 4.50m (15ft), plus carbon rudder, rig and rigging. And the whole hull has been fared smooth, a race boat tactic that is becoming a trend at Royal Huisman.

An innovative feature is the headstay furler that has been designed into the bowsprit, posing a stress load challenge for manufacturers Southern Spars. The bobstay fittings have also been cleverly integrated into an extraordinarily fine forefoot, connected to a titanium reinforcement tube within the hull.

The whitewashed oak interior, styled by Beaulieu-based Redman Whiteley Dixon, has a very stylish modern retro feel. A neat feature is a window in the owner’s saloon table that projects right through the hull.

Two variable speed generators and a flywheel generator by Whisper Power generate economic power. These are designed to run at optimum rpm for less pollution, with peak loads available from a lithium battery bank – all of which helps make Elfje a highly contemporary superyacht cloaked in beautifully traditional aesthetics.
Elaine Bunting will reporting from the Bucket, which runs from 19-22 March.

Video by Acquafilms