Copyright 2024 - Woods Designs, 16 King St, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL11 2AT UK
  • production Strider 24

  • plywood Romany 34

  • lightweight 14ft Zeta mainhull

  • Strike 15 trimaran at speed

  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

  • 10ft 2 sheet ply Duo dinghy

  • 24ft Strider sailing fast

  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

Provisional Specification
LOA 7.6m
BOA 5m
Sail Area:
Mainsail 27sqm Jib 14.5sqm
Mast length 11m
Empty weight 850kgs
Displacement to WL 1350kgs
Draft 300mm
(1300 boards down, 900 for LAR keels)
2 single berths in each hull:
Fwd 900 wide, aft 800 wide
Headroom 1.85m



The 8m Elf has had several reincarnations as different builders developed the boat. The original Mk1 was a 25ft boat built in Germany. Only a few were made, but some sailed long distances, see owners comments below and video here

The Mk2 was also an open deck boat and was built, very heavily in solid glass, in S Africa and was extended to 26ft. It also became a well proven design, again see owners comments below

Then in the 1990's a few were built in the UK. We added a removable cuddy cabin, even so it was still transportable,though not really trailable.

Now the Elf has another new lease of life. Updated, with a modern, lighter laminate and rig. Once again it is an open deck design and available with daggerboards or LAR keels. The transom has been shortened to allow for the simpler transom mounted rudders. Although it is a big boat it is still trailable, each hull is under 1.2m wide. The aluminium crossbeams are fitted with metal straps as on Strider to allow for complete disassembly. The first hulls have now been made for a UK buyer, see photo above and launching below

Initially just hulls and decks will be available allowing owners to fit out their own boats. Later complete boats will be available. Hulls are built using pvc foam and biaxial glass.

For more details please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Woods Designs

The drawings below show the open deck Mk2 version, the new one is similar but the hatches are now at the back of the cabin, not at the side. There is a lot of room in the hulls, especially compared to the Strider and Sango. The woman in the photo below is 1.7m tall



Owners Comments

“At the end of March 2007 I sailed single handed, as always, the 900 miles back from the Canaries to Almeria in Southern Spain. On the last day, after three and a half days at sea, a storm of wind of a steady force 8 with gusts to F10 caught me and my Elf catamaran. The Woods Design made 5 to 7 knots without sails and I also used a car tire to slow down somewhat, and to keep control.”

“Two Elves set off for Langebaan the weekend before Christmas and en route, stopped off at Dassen Island to catch, cook and eat crayfish, that are in ample abundance. The trip was a total distance of about 115 nm. The average speed attained during this trip was 12 knots.

We moored the two boats at the Langebaan Yacht Club and returned on the 26th December for the start of the West Coast Cruise. Sixty-eight yachts took part and the start was at 7am on the 27th December with the wind at about 6 - 8 knots. Both the boats had 4 adults on board plus stores and provisions for the same for 5 days. I estimate that we had 800kg loading per boat.

After a slow start the wind slowly picked up to 25/30 knots on the beam. We upped the kites and hauled in boats like there was no tomorrow. We kept the kite up when it started gusting 35 knots and, believe me, if there was a dinghy on board, old Pete would have gone home. Swells were running at about 4 metres, wind gusting 36 knots, boat speed 18 knots, creaking, groaning and flexing and overtaking monohulls like it was a demolition derby. We arrived at the first stop-over in 11th and 12th position over the line.

The Elf was the talk of the cruise. We were even blamed for causing a severe broach on a 43' Mono-hull. The skipper said, “We were humping along at 10 knots when one of the crew on board said to me, 'Look at the little spinnakers bearing down on us'. Within minutes you guys were alongside, then disappeared forward, drinking out of glasses while we were walking on the windows - I just lost my concentration and we ended up in a horrendous broach.” Another had just launched his IMS Racer and could not believe what we did to him. He said that it felt like he had put his brakes on.

Reckless decided on day two to beach in Lamberts Bay. The race to Elands Bay and Port Owen started at 6 am with Reckless left high and dry on the beach. Etienne managed to get off at 1500 hrs that afternoon and in winds pushing 40/50 knots decide to beat for Port Owen @ 70 nm. I was not aboard naturally, but they said they were beating @ 12 knots 35 degree apparent wind, swells 5 metres. They arrived in Port Owen at 23.55 hrs that night to a very angry reception from me, for their radio had packed up and they had notified no-one as to where, when or how they were going. Etienne's remarks were, “I'm tired, the boat didn't fall apart and we're home,” and promptly retired for the night. “

“Fred took the Elf 26 out for a sail recently in fairly rough conditions. The average wind speed was 28 knots, gusting to 35 knots. The planned route was from Willik Marina, past Groot Eiland to the power lines. This distance is normally covered in 2 ½ hours by a keel boat sailing with good winds. Fred left the marina and some 16 minutes later had passed Groot Eiland and a further 36 minutes saw them at the power lines.

Fred commented that at no time did the boat feel unstable, if anything it appeared quite unexciting until you looked over the stern and saw the water thrown up to resemble a huge rooster's tail. An estimate of the speed was an average of 15 knots and possible close to 20 knots on occasions. This was achieved using the full main and standard jib. The boat was sailed on a reach most of the time and occasionally running down wind.

Fred praised the boat's performance saying it was superbly stable and immediately inspired confidence. This praise from an experienced skipper confirms several other reports of the vessel's seaworthiness for safe, fun, family cruising.”

“Just back in England from Sark, Herm and Guernsey in our Elf. Still loving her versatility, like drying out on the beach and anchoring in 1m.”

“I was thinking about an asymmetric spinnaker, easier to handle with two small boys aboard! We fully intend to enjoy her, we are teachers, we have two boys 6 and 2. We're looking to spend the six week summer break along the Brittany / Normandy coast.”

“I bought one of your 26ft Elf cat designed boats built in South Africa. I sail it in Tanzania and I really enjoy the boat. It was modified by raising the boom and fitting a solid Bimini which reduced the sail area and increased the weight. So the boat is slow in light winds but great in any thing above 12 knots and I have never had to reef the main.”

"We averaged between 8-10 knots on a broad reach in 15-18 knots of wind and a 1.5m (5ft) swell. 12 guests and 2 crew - 14 adults on board! Everyone was mega impressed."