Elizabethan 30 Liz   Return to Elizabethan 30

Winner of the Used Boat of the Year December 2000

The Elizabethan 30 has all the advantages of the Contessa -it's fast, well mannered and extremely seaworthy. However, being two feet shorter and with less beam, the Elizabethan has even less accommodation. Having criticised the Contessa in this respect it may seem odd that this boat tops our list. But in terms of accommodation-value ratio it scores highly - there are few £12,000-£18,000 boats with appreciably more accommodation, while there are plenty of boats you could buy for the price of a Contessa that would offer a much more comfortable interior.

If you like the Elizabethan, but are concerned about interior space, you could always look for the (rare) Hummingbird 30. These have the same hull and rig, but a different deck moulding which gives more headroom and a larger coach roof - it's surprising how much difference this makes.

The Elizabethan was first choice for myself and for Martyn, and close to the top for Alison and Julian. But what about Simon Jinks who actually tested the boat for us? His response could not have been more positive - he was so impressed he bought one. It may have helped that Liz, our test boat (owned by her designer, (David Thomas), has been immaculately refitted and upgraded to a modern specification both above and below decks. Cynics might say that if you're going to do that you may as well spend more in the first place and buy a newer boat, but David only spent £2,000 or so (plus a lot of time of course) on upgrading Liz, so it's a realistic way of getting a smart boat with modern gear at a good price.

Like the Contessa, one of the biggest areas in which we praised the Elizabethan was its performance under sail. Our test took place in mid-winter in a Force 5 occasionally 6, when Liz proved to be fast, beautifully balanced and close-winded sailing close-hauled with one reef in the mainsail and five rolls in the headsail. David's excellent sails undoubtedly helped this – Liz has a state of art Sobstad Platium genoa and similar mainsail, which at the time of our test David was evaluating for Sobstad. But good sails don’t make a lousy boat sail well – they just put the icing on the cake when you’re sailing something top notch. Down below you get five berths in a compartment arrangement with quarter berth, chart table and galley by the main hatch and a snug saloon further forward. By dispensing with the fixed saloon table David has made this area surprisingly spacious – there’s more room to move around than the Contessa with the (fixed) table in place, despite the Elizabethan’s smaller interior. The heads compartment, the full width of the boat, separates the saloon from the two-berth forecabin  

Sailing Today Ratings :

Accommodation      ☼☼☼☼☼  4

Sailing Qualities       ☼☼☼☼☼  5

Value for money      ☼☼☼☼☼  5

Acknowledgement to Sailing Today  

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