Well, we have to start somewhere. So here, a little bit of history about "Miss Elle". The who the what the where and the why, Though not necessarily in that order.
Miss Elle was penned from the designer George Whisstock. Not known as the Ed Dubois' or the plethora of sailing and superyacht household names. However, in our opinion an architect that had a keen sense of line and elegance and after talking with him, sense of practical innovation. Although pretty much concentrating on other stuff these days he still maintains his finger on the pulse and is very active in supporting his owners. You can find a bit more about George Whisstock on www.whisstock.com if you are interested and if you write to him he does respond as we found out and are truly grateful for his insight and knowledge.
We acquired "Miss Elle" in February of 2015. She is part of a series of 6. The first two were virtually flush decked or should I say low cabin sloops at 60ft the third, fourth and fifth were extended to 62ft and the final version (Miss Elle) with cockpit and sugar scoop came in at 67ft 2 inches (just under 20.5 metres).
She was originally designed as a training vessel but the sail training company that was building her lost their funding and were unable to complete her. As a result, it seems that she lay relatively dormant for some years. That is until the previous owner acquired her and brought in the designer to enhance her stability and improve her ballast so that she could make the conversion to effectively a world cruising go-anywhere yacht. this including additional superstructure and more steel and payload. Suffice to say her stability test was passed with flying colours and in 2006 fully finished and put gently into the medium for which she was designed. Miss Elle, after a long and painful birth, was effectively born.
From the UK she then transited through some challenging weather from southern England down to the Gibraltar straits and across the Mediterranean towards the Adriatic then up to, what was to be her home for the next 9 years.
Marine Kastella near Split in Croatia.
During this period she was primarily a family holiday boat. Her size and spaciousness making her ideal as the family grew and extended. The previous owner’s brought their entire family out for a couple of weeks every year to enjoy the melting pots of Croatia’s spectacular archipelago. Not forgetting Hvaar town and island which was evidently a popular destination. At least according to the GPS Chart-Track!
But that appeared to be her life. During this period she was not neglected. A young man by the name of Milan was retained to look after her. As a result, she was always polished and clean and definitely looked after on the outside etc….
I had started looking for a suitable yacht for us about 9 years before, coincidently around the same time that Miss Elle was born. I was also selling the dream to Julie Ann. During this period we visited and inspected candidates in; Newport Rhode Island, Fort Lauderdale, Lymington, Barcelona, Palma Majorca, Auckland New Zealand and several others that I just do not recall. In all, we looked at 62 yachts. We were pretty fussy and the balance between budget and reality was continually being assessed.
In 2013 We first found her in one of the yachting magazines. I was in Mozambique. Julie Ann was, I think, in the UK or was it the USA. Keeping up with Julie Ann is like nailing Jelly to the wall. Anyway, I sent the ad through to Julie Ann with a one-liner “what do you think?” Well, after all these years of searching I was not expecting the reply that I got which was really positive so we then opened dialogue and within a couple of weeks myself, Julie Ann and our baby daughter Dima (she was 21 at the time) were on a plane from Dubai to Split. It was wet raining and cold. We found a guest house near Trogir, not knowing exactly where we were going. We had rented a car but still had no real idea. On the day of the meeting, the owners had brought the boat out of the marina and were standing by in the bay on the eastern side of Trogir bridge. They sent the yacht's tender to pick us up from the cafe we were waiting in. You cannot imagine how unprepared we were coming directly from Dubai with a sunny 35 C. to what was around 5 C. Maybe 9C? either way, it was wet and cold.
As we bounced at what felt like 20+ knots from Trogir to Miss Elle we all were kinda nervous and after so many years I was just plain sceptical. What we found was a boat that immediately pushed all of Julie Ann's happy buttons. The large open light and airy salon almost sold her in about 10 seconds. Meanwhile, I was still getting on board and looking at what I thought was a strange rig set up. Wierd access, albeit practical, The ocean of teak. Jeez, what was I getting myself into? I was thinking about maintenance, maintenance, maintenance at levels beyond stupid. Julie Ann and Dima where, by this time, in love. You know the old adage. Never buy a boat on emotion. I had a finite amount of time and some serious time constraints on being able to look around her. At the same time, the owners were desperately trying to appear casual and glib as they embarked on a hard sell. But the problem was that they did not understand that Miss Elle was already sold.
I went through the boat as best I could in the limited amount of time that I had. Photographed everything that I could see and possibly not see. Bilges were clean, Engine room layout poor but roomy, Navigation station awful, Wiring needing touch-ups here and there, Labelling virtually non-existent. slowly my to-do list built up. Then could I do it? How much time did I have to do it and how much was it going to cost to get her up to my standards. Suffice to say we did the unthinkable. There and then we made an offer for Miss Elle. After a traumatic year based on what was effectively a handshake and against all my better judgement and preaching to friends and colleagues and people just wanting advice. I broke my own mantra. We bought Miss Elle without a survey. Boy was I going to pay for that later. However, in fairness to myself. This was not because of anything wrong with Miss Elle. This was because we agreed to purchase and also agreed that the existing owners would be able to use Miss Elle for the last summer vacation onboard her. This was a mistake. While they had her for their last holiday one of the DC Bilge pumps failed electrically. Also, it did not trip the associated breaker. When we took ownership we took Miss Elle out of the water. Milan was in charge. I was in Singapore setting up a company's Dynamic Positioning fleet. Julie Ann was in Dubai. What happened was that the small DC charge then worked its way through the hull and started to attack the hull from the outside. The end result was something like Euro 20,000 later Miss Elle was brought back to better than 100%. However, for all you people shaking your heads in disdain, there is a really bright and positive aspect. Miss Elle was taken back to bare metal. short blasted and examined with UT sensors and what have you. Her hull was actually in excellent condition and boosted my confidence in her. We found some minor areas of repair and I mean seriously minor. The pitting we found from the DC link was filled and treated with a material that effectively was harder and more resistant than the steel itself. For details drop me a line happy to share about this stuff. We refinished the hull and painted and filled and copper coated her and she was better than new.
From this point on Miss Elle was and continues to be on an upward climb. She has proven to be an extremely comfortable, resilient and caring safe magic carpet that is truly loved by all the family and instils confidence in even the most nervous newbie sailors.
Hull No. 1 in Antigua.
Hull No. 6 S/Y Miss Elle. Croatia