The sea trial was pubblished on Superyacht 31 – spring 2012

Zefira S/Y is one of those few yachts that became an attraction for yacht enthusiasts and professionals  well before she hit the water.

This yacht was designed and built with the experience and passion for sailing boats her owners demonstrated from the start as well as a naval engineering and a project design team from  Ed Dubois studio for the exterior, while Remi Tessier was responsible for all the interiors. Zefira was built in a yard which enjoys a  worldwide  reputation for the construction of large sailing yachts.

With such an opening introduction one can expect nothing less than something absolutely extraordinary, where the term used must be read in its best meaning to underscore something that has really nothing of the ordinary. We had the pleasure of talking with the owners who are currently sailing on their yacht after they had  carried out important work in the design phase with the project team to define specific guidelines and details.

Beyond the highly involving dialogue which ensued with flowing examples  of their own sailing experience and passion, we managed to grasp and better understand the idea behind the project which began with a seven metre sloop and  gradually developed in the course of the following 40 years  of which  many were spent at  sea. Putting words to emotion and feelings is never easy to do and  more so when they are other people’s. In this case however everything was a lot easier for us   thanks to our interviewee’s eloquent communicative capability.

The first point our attention was brought to was that Zefira is the largest sailing y

acht ever designed by Dubois with no fly bridge and built by Fitzroy Yachts in New Zealand.  This may strike our readers as a mere detail, but it is in fact one of the principal fundamentals outlining this project because it translates into flowing external lines and a unique profile when observed sideways on.

The choice  of doing without a fly bridge is somewhat unusual since up until  recently a “fly” had been widely accepted as  a run of the mill thing to have on a sailing yacht beyond a given size, but which nevertheless, Zefira is proud to do without giving cause for, among others ,  the following comment volunteered by some of the designers not involved in the project: “The world of sailing now stands  divided between before Zefira and after Zefira”.

Naturally enough this comment in particular is aimed at the yachts’ profile, which brings to a standstill what had become a consolidated practice on yachts this size. Aesthetics is principally  why the owners decided to do without the fly option as well as for practical reasons  they eloquently highlighted: without one  on a  50 metre sailing boat  there’s a complete total view of both what lies ahead up to the horizon and of the sail plan.

Moreover using a higher windswept and sun scorched horizontal plane rather than the main deck itself is by its very nature something destined to be exploited only sporadically and quite correctly in their opinion doesn’t justify having one.

The thought behind the whole project as the requests submitted to both designers and yard indicated,  were to enjoy a pure thorough bred for its performing lines and technical contents, capable of offering the sort of space and commodities expected when cruising extensively in all weather conditions. At a first glance the goal seems to have been easily achieved, but if  we then go into an in-depth analysis, the comments volunteered by project designers earlier seems surely appropriate. The husband and wife team (the owners) followed up on construction work from the initial stages to completion, working through the more important phases in close contact with the professional teams involved.

According to the owners the best part was witnessing the step by step progress of such an enterprise. We can understand the reasons why and genuinely  hope that in  the future such desire will generate the construction of other such extraordinary ships.

Several International prizes for design and technical contents have been awarded to Zefira. Dubois Naval Architects’ studio is proud of the recognitions bestowed since this is the largest sailing yacht project without a “fly” they’ve ever made so far and also for the passion and creativity expressed time and time again by the owners who incidentally had been the previous owners of another Dubois  project built by Alloy Yachts: Kokomo of London (now Nubero Blau).
The challenge taken on by the studio was one that meant blending the huge experience acquired by the owners to innovative aesthetics, with a hull capable of delivering the sea-keeping qualities and performance requested.

The owners wished for a boat that could be another home from home: spacious, with a project design that looked ahead into the future. For this reason the design team was invited by the owners to pay them a visit and to take a look at their house to better understand what they wanted.

The choice of the yard was principally dictated by delivery times even if Fitzroy Yachts had been chosen also in function of preceding work carried out from Dubois projects.

Among some of the clever solutions highlighted by the owners in the course of our conversation we wish to mention the ease in steering they experienced and handling the yacht, of course aided by electronics and important data communication systems capable of monitoring and performing many of the required manoeuvres without hindering visibility.

The rig which is capable of carrying up to 3,000 square metres of canvass is per se a very interesting technical achievement inasmuch as it sports a 63.50 metre mast and can still be defined as being “light”. Obviously there’s a carbon fibre mast and boom, as well as fibre stays that have been purposely chosen to reduce weight high above the waterline which translates into less draught and better performance in breezes.

All of the choices adopted for Zefira mean she is very competitive on the race track even against racers and  in spite of the many commodities she carries with her.  As for the interiors and  much of the work put in by  Remi Tessier designer and the co-owner they enhanced an undoubted feeling of both tranquillity and elegance.

Gauged chromatic variety  meets the discerning eye as it takes in lighter and darker shades of handcrafted woodwork placed without ever causing excessive contrast, followed by polished steel elements and ad hoc lighting which enhances relaxation throughout every area. The space chosen to house each piece of furniture, is fruit of  careful study that has contributed into ensuring an uncompromised degree of comfort in the owners’ suite which is situated in the stern and in each of the three guest cabins as well.

One is a twin while the other two are double each one of them sports its own private bathroom. The crew quarters are situated in the bow area and with space for a lounge and crew mess room, which translates into staff’s quality living standards on board. The yacht’s convivial areas are also well distributed and large to ensure adequate privacy to guests and owners alike.

The electronics and navigation aids installed are the most modern on the market, with data and alarm control systems and displays in each of the two external command /control stations  as well as on the bridge deck as can be expected on a state of the art ship such as this. Dictated by reasons of space we have to limit our text to that which has so far been described even when the meeting with Zefira’s owners was so stimulating  we were prompted  to go further.

Since both of them  described Zefira as being a point of arrival but of departure too, we wish them to continue their research work in the yachting field and to offer us, who knows what other input and ideas in the future. For further information please contact: Angelo Colombo

For further information Ocean View Parade, Private Bag 2014; New Plymouth, New Zealand +647699380

LOA: 49.70 m – LWL: 44.56 m – Beam: 9.95 m – Draught: 4.90 m – light displacement: 322 t – engines: 1×1,400 HP Caterpillar C32 ACERT – top speed under power: 16 knots – under sail: 18 knots – fuel tank capacity: 35,000 litres – range at cruising speed: 3,800 nm – consumption at cruise speed: 110 litres/hr – class: Lloyds + 100 1 SSC Yacht Mono G6 MCA London LY2 – yacht in line with The International Convention for the prevention of pollution from ships (1973) and 1978 Protocol including all subsequent amendments (MARPOL).