Aeolus – a fast and beautiful racing yacht.

Aeolus 30 Square Metre, built in 1989, is a fine example of the legendary Knud H Reimers International racing design. A fast and beautiful boat, the classic lines of her composite hull combined with teak cabin coamings, cockpit and brightwork give a beautiful, traditional look.  Just what we love!


Her new owner came to the yard earlier this year to discuss some repair work, and initial plans were simply to replace areas of her deck. It soon became apparent that there was more work to be done. We removed the teak laid deck, repaired soft areas of her lightweight deck, and fitted a thin layer of plywood to replace the thickness of the teak. We then epoxy sheathed the whole of the deck and replaced all of the deck fittings.


Many hours of careful workmanship later and she is now back in fine racing condition. She recently competed in the 2018 Round the Island Race, coming 3rd in class, proving her pedigree on the race course.


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The well-known Elephant yard lives up to its name as a yard with a long memory

The turn off from the ambitiously named Land’s End Road (it’s a lane) into Elephant Boatyard is a portal to another world. A hairpin bend takes you down a short, steep hill into a yard that has attained, over the decades, near-legendary status among Solent sailors. It’s a rambling site that has grown organically since it was founded in 1951 by Mike Richardson, and its feet are firmly in the water, with the office and the Ferry Inn restaurant afloat on a disused ferry made fast to the land. Boatbuilding here goes back further than 1951 though; a lot further …

Masters in refit & restoration

Despite the recent freezing winter weather conditions, life here at the yard is anything but dull. Although we work across all different kinds of boats, from cruising to racing, wooden to GRP, our absolute passion is Classic Yachts. Traditional wooden craft, and bringing history back to life, are simply what we LOVE. Our in-house team of boat builders are knowledgable and highly skilled at traditional and new working methods and take an immense pride in giving an old boat new life. They are currently working flat out on a diverse number of projects, each with its own set of unique challenges. But most importantly, with amazing results!

Here’s just a few recent examples of what we’ve been up to:

Towards the end of 2017 we completed the build of a new 64ft mast out of sitka spruce for a 1963 Sparkman & Stevens 51ft yawl. We are now putting the final touches to a new boom for her. The coins inlaid into the base of her mast will bestow good luck for her and all who sail in her.


wood for mast 2   IMG_8280  Mast shot   Stepping the mas on the kings head

      Mast1    New Mast and crane


Carlotta is a recently restored Bristol Pilot Cutter, shipped to the yard directly from Canada.  She was built in 1899 and has a fascinating history of high profile owners and daring escapades – including World War II escapes, being hit by a hurricaine, and many more! We are undertaking some essential planking repairs as well as extensive rigging improvements.

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Sphex is an X boat that came to us in desperate need of some TLC.  After some work on her stem repair, she is now almost to the stage when we can crack on with her topsides

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John Dory is a 45ft Bermudan Sloop built in 1938 with a fine racing pedigree.  Owned by one of our longest standing customers (Ray has been coming here for more than 40 years) she is in our shed being re-decked.

JohnDory2           JohnDory3

And finally, the refurbishment of Sanjula’s interior is now complete. She is Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Farr 56ft who came in for a full internal refit. We have turned the forward cabin from a double bunk area into two twin cabins and a new head, and have also installed a watertight door.

         ”  The work is excellent. In fact, you would think Sanjula had been built with the modifications that the
Elephant Boatyard have now completed” 

       Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Autumn Newsletter 2017


The 6M class were well represented in July’s Panerai Classics Regatta in Cowes, with Thistle, Melita and St Kitts from the yard all taking part.  St Kitts, built by the Elephant and a past European champion, came 2nd, and Tom and his team in Thistle came 3rd after some exciting moments out on the water.  It really was champagne sailing at its best.

Cowes Week was a wild and blustery affair, with some very stretching sailing conditions. Premier Cru, our in-house 1720, performed well and managed to secure an impressive win on ‘Windy Wednesday’.

But the biggest highilight of the year so far for us has to be the Hamble Classics Regatta, hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in September. A total of 64 classic yachts took part in the event, split into 8 classes. Many of the beautiful boats looked after by the yard took part, including Ivy Green and Thalia, as well as Jonty Sherwill’s – the race organiser – Cockleshell. The end result was both a stunning spectacle and an exciting weekend of racing.  As official partner of the event, The Elephant Boatyard once again hosted a post-race Rum Party on the pontoons which went down a storm, providing many thirsty sailors with an afternoon sharpener before a well attended dinner at the club.

Classics 6


We are proud to be one of the few remaining boatyards on the South Coast to have a dedicated team of skilled boatbuilders with an unparalleled level of expertise in boatbuilding and repair. Matt and his team have undertaken a range of specialist projects this year on a number of beautiful sailing yachts, including:

  • Making a new mast for a 1963 Sparkman & Stevens 51ft yawl
  • Extensive repair work to the classic yacht Whisperer, a classic Holman 35.
  • Re-caulking the teak deck of Thalia, an 1888 classic gaff cutter.
  • Rigged / stepped the mast of Carlotta, a recently restored 1899 Bristol Pilot Cutter shipped to the yard directly from Canada.

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Haul-out season is almost upon us, so please do advise us of your winter layup requirements, including any additional work required, as soon as possible.

The earlier we receive your request the more likely we will be able to meet your specific date requirements, subject to tides etc. Those boats who have booked additonal work in early will be prioritised, as the yard is always very busy at the beginning of the year.

Please contact the office on 02380 403 268 if you need a winter layup form.

Nigella in the cradle hoist after renovation

Meet the team

We are proud to be one of the few remaining boatyards on the South Coast to have a dedicated team of skilled craftsmen with an unparalleled level of expertise in boat-building and repair.

Headed up by Matt Richardson, the team has a passion for sailing – both racing and cruising – which gives us an in-depth understanding of our client’s precise requirements.

With some notable wooden yachts built at the yard, plus hi-tech racers and numerous extensive refits of important yachts, our team have a comprehensive knowledge of both traditional boat-building techniques and high-tech composites.

Whether it’s a classic wooden racing yacht or an elegant gentleman’s launch, our customers are involved at every stage of the process to ensure we create a bespoke boat which truly suits their needs.


Elephant Boatyard, Bursledon. 21st June 2017.Elephant Boatyard, Bursledon. 21st June 2017.Elephant Boatyard, Bursledon. 21st June 2017.Elephant Boatyard, Bursledon. 21st June 2017.Elephant Boatyard, Bursledon. 21st June 2017.

Ian Roman photography

Some great photos of the Elephant Boatyard nestled into the banks of the River Hamble. Thanks to Ian Roman for some brilliant shots taken a few days ago, these ones done using a drone. Look out for more to follow.

Elephant Boatyard, Bursledon. 21st June 2017.

Elephant Boatyard, Bursledon. 21st June 2017.

Elephant Boatyard, Bursledon. 21st June 2017.


Spirit of Tradition cruising / racing yachts designed by Stephen Jones

We have a long-standing tradition of building high quality wood/epoxy racing and cruising yachts (up to over 70 feet). We therefore have great pleasure in presenting two Stephen Jones designed Spirit of Tradition cruiser / racers, the 43ft and 46ft Traditional Sloop.

These yachts are aimed at being able to race competitively in classic regattas both here and abroad and the designs can be tailored to individual specifications and requirements. The designs are intended for timber construction in modern epoxy techniques, and share a similar long ended profile and traditional deckhouse type.

Further details and drawings of the interior layouts are available upon request – please do contact us if you require any additional information. See our ‘New Builds’ section on the website for more Stephen Jones designs.


43ft                    46ft

 1. 43 ft sloop. A smaller version of the 46′ with traditional counter style and softer bow profile. Tiller steered.

2. 46ft sloop.  Long ended modern metre boat style with retroussé transom and softly knuckled bow profile. Interior features twin aft wide singles plus forward facing nav. station, galley and mid/aft enclosed heads/basin . A traditional linear saloon precedes a forward double berth. Standing headroom is achieved in galley, heads and nav. area with very generous sitting headroom in saloon. Tiller steering is in a long cockpit with deep backed seating.

“Winter Warmer Deals” for winter berthing at the Elephant Boatyard

We still have some spaces for winter berthing (December – end March) on our sheltered pontoon berths in Bursledon Pool, subject to availability.  All berths have electricity and water, and our yard can take on any refit requirements to enable you to get a head start for the 2017 season.

  • Walk-on access to all moorings
  • Lift out facilities – travel hoist and slipways
  • Facilities for lifting out masts and checking rigging
  • Experienced workforce
  • Fantastic restaurant located on site (The Ferry)
  • Near local chandleries

Please contact us for details on mooring fees & our competitive haul-out rates.

Tel:             02380 403268


Address:     Lands End Road, Old Bursledon, SO31 8DN

Elephant Boatyard supports inaugural Hamble Classics Regatta 2016

The Elephant Boatyard Pontoon Party Rum Bar

The Elephant Boatyard Pontoon Party Rum Bar

The Elephant Boatyard supported the inaugural Hamble Classics Regatta at the Royal Southern Yacht Club in September with a ‘Pontoon Party’ serving Dark & Stormies to thirsty sailors as they returned from a day on the water.  We couldn’t fill their glasses quickly enough!


Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week 2016

Our anticipation is building as the Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week starts today – the largest Classic regatta event in the UK. It is sure to be a week of exhilarating racing on the Solent, with many different classes of traditional yachts taking part. But it is the 6M class that hold a special place in our hearts. These beautiful boats are one of the most elegant and exciting international racing classes. Here at the Elephant, not only do we race them but we also lovingly restore them. We have a long history of building, refitting and renovating these beautiful craft and would definitely go as far as saying that they’re one of our specialisms. The Elephant Boatyard is the UK home to a number of 6M yachts, several of which we have built (Georgia, St Kitts) or restored (Thistle, Nancy).

Tom is fanatical about racing 6 Metres and will be out at Cowes Classics week as well as the Panerai British Classic Week in Cowes (16-23 July) and the Hamble Classics Regatta at the Royal Southern Yacht Club (24-25 September).  So if you happen to be out on the Solent, keep an eye out for Tom and his crew as they cut a dash through the water.