© James Robinson Taylor

Portfolio / Racing & Cruising Schooners / ELENA

A big class racing schooner from 1909


55 m


29.6 m


8.14 m


5.20 m

sail area

1800 m²


215 ton

lead keel

115 ton

sail number



Nathanael G. Herreshoff


Herreshoff MFG, Bristol

Following our Atlantic project, Steve Mclaren, Captain of Elena, approach Absolute with a simple and straight forward brief: design and build the most fantastic set of bronze fittings to equip the new Elena, keeping authenticity and be most consistent with N.G. Herreshoff fittings developed and use for his famous big class schooner.

What a pleasure it was for Absolute to research all the original period drawings and from there develop or simply adjust the forms for Elena’s new set of bronze fittings!

© James Robinson Taylor

© James Robinson Taylor

We knew Steve Mclaren wanted to drive her hard and take her everywhere, so the making of the fittings followed a strict planning combined with a careful selection of bronze alloys to be used.

From mast and boom fittings, mast round and side pin rails, deck cleats, stanchions, boom travelers, deck nunscapes and eyes to all sort of interior ceiling lamps, skylight openers, hatch hinges, decorative plates were developed by us and the end result was again a tremendous collection of bronze fittings that, once again, have already proved in their design, construction and efficiency.

We proudly invite you to learn and read more about our dedicated collection of hardware for racing and cruising yachts.


© 2009 Absolute, ELENA

© 2009 Absolute

© 2009 Absolute, ELENA

Taking the words of Steve Mclaren, Captain of ELENA


(…) Elena is my passion! I was determined to get the yacht built, so I found two partners and chose the boat from the original Herreshoff plans at the MIT museum in the USA. We developed it to the design stage, and then the build began at a yard in Spain. It was amazing to see the yacht take shape. I was the project manager and team leader, so every day I was dealing with new questions. The launch was fantastic, and on sea trial she was everything we expected and more. She’s now in her seventh successful season as a charter and racing yacht. Wherever we go, everyone who passes by slows down to photograph her, and that’s the best sensation – seeing that people love the yacht. The attention she gets speaks for itself. The crew feel the same way, and that passion is experienced by everyone who comes on board (…)

© James Robinson Taylor

© James Robinson Taylor

A fascinating story about ELENA


In 1910, Morton Plant commissioned Elena to be designed by American naval architect Nathanael Herreshoff, the “Wizard of Bristol”, who was famed for designing sailing yachts for America’s elite. Plant gave a wonderful design brief: build me a schooner that can win!

Herreshoff gave Elena a slightly deeper keel than preceding designs of that time, lowering her centre of ballast, which improved her windward ability. Fresh out of the shed, Elena won most of her early races against the cream of the American schooner fleet. Seventeen years later came her crowning glory – victory in the 1928 Trans- Atlantic Race.

Despite the lavish furnishings and the luxurious interior, one thing is for certain, schooner Elena was built to win. With a cruising speed of 13 knots and a specially designed keel to improve windward ability, she provides a thrilling experience for the 30+ experienced racing team that help sail her to victory!

© James Robinson Taylor

Following the early successes of the original Elena, a team headed by Steve Maclaren set about the task of hand building this important part of racing history. Every aspect of this modern day replica was carefully planned, to ensure the build remained true to original designs.

Skilled boat builders utilised the same materials used nearly a century ago, few changes were made to the original plans, despite huge advances in technology over the years. Interestingly, during the rebuild, the original rigging plan was put through rigorous testing using a specially designed computer program, which simulated a range of wind and weather conditions. In all eventualities, it was found that the original sail plan outperformed modern day counterparts, both in terms of strength and lightness, highlighting the ingenuity of engineering at the time.

© James Robinson Taylor

Great care and attention to detail has been paid to every aspect of the yachts interior, to ensure the living quarters remain sympathetic to the original design. Through meticulous planning and careful study of hand drawn plans and historic images, the team have seamlessly combined classic design with all of the modern facilities that discerning guests expect during charter.

The elegant staterooms have been adorned with mahogany panelling and opulent furnishings. Ornamental details present in the original plans have been painstakingly recreated, as an added nod to the bygone era.

The expansive deck has been fashioned using high quality teak, providing the perfect place for visitors and crew to relax and unwind.

After following the designs of the original ELENA so meticulously, there is no doubt that she truly is one of the most remarkable big class yachts. Her unforgettable blend of beauty and sheer speed ensure that she will turn heads wherever she goes.

© James Robinson Taylor