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Zaphira - 18m Elite is the latest addition to the Lloyd Stevenson marquee fleet

by Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders 27 Dec 2023 23:11 NZDT
Zaphira - 18m Elite - Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders © Bryce Taylor.

Another stunning 18m Elite mid-pilothouse motor yacht has joined the Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders family of high-quality custom boats.

Zaphira is an Arabic name meaning successful and triumphant; it is used as a girl’s name to represent a beautiful, strong woman… and she is every bit that.

Launched in June 2023, Zaphira is the latest iteration of the ever-popular Elite Mid Pilothouse motor yacht. From the drawing board of Bill Upfold at Elite Marine Design and constructed by Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders, she incorporates all the best design features that Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders and Elite Marine Design have developed over 26 years of working together; Zaphira is a tour de force and a stunning showcase of the skills and experience of the team at Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders.

The owner's previous motor yacht was a 16m Elite built by Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders. After four years, the client decided a larger boat was required. Being very happy with the quality of the build, the Mid Pilothouse design and the service and support they had received, building a new 18m Elite Mid Pilothouse with Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders was an easy choice.

One of the most striking features of Zaphira is the colour of her topsides. The owners chose Aurora Gold, and what an inspired choice it was - changing from an almost metallic silver to a dazzling gold depending on the light and contrasting very nicely with the white and grey superstructure. Zaphira looks glamorous from every angle.

The interior decor is sophisticated, elegant and understated, with the dark-stained oak cabinetry complementing the oak flooring in the galley, dinette and heads.

Entering the boat from the swim platform and through the twin sliding transom pocket doors, the first space you encounter is the generously proportioned cockpit, with protection from the elements provided by the extended tender storage deck above.

The cockpit contains an L-shaped dinette with seating for five or six, a BBQ, a freshwater sink, two large storage lazarettes under the sole and the exterior pilothouse access stairs. (The pilothouse is also accessible from internal stairs off the saloon). Glazed panels on either side of the cockpit provide excellent weather and splash protection without interrupting the view.

When open, the transom pocket doors effectively make for an open transom, providing plenty of room for all water activities. And when closed, you have peace of mind knowing that anyone in the cockpit is safe and secure, especially while underway.

Opposite the dining area is the guest cabin with dual-use ensuite/day head. Further forward is the sizable U-shaped galley. Well appointed, the main features here are an induction cooktop, domestic-sized fridge/freezer, full height double door pantry, solid surface countertops, natural oak cabinetry and planked solid oak floor.

Moving inside, you encounter the U-shaped dining area and the innovative, large, electronically actuated retractable window in the aft bulkhead, ostensibly creating a single space from the dining area to the cockpit.

Stepping up from the galley into the main saloon, this light and airy carpeted space lends itself to entertaining or relaxing in equal measure. The large windows allow unobstructed views, even when seated – a trademark of Elite designs.

And, as with all their custom-built boats, Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders are always open and willing to explore any unique features owners request and will include, if feasible; a perfect example of this is push-button actuated footrests built into the saloon seating (as shown in the video) - just the thing for relaxing with a refreshing beverage after a hard day of luxury boating.

From the saloon, you have two options: take the internal stairs up to the pilothouse or go forward and down to the owner’s cabin, with its walk-around double berth and a generous semi-ensuite master head to port. Beautifully finished, the head has a glass-fronted shower, timber vanity top and a square, surface-mounted, metallic glazed hand basin — the same finishes as found in the aft guest/day head.

When occupying this forward space, the experienced boater will immediately notice a common feature of other boats is totally absent – chine slap. The silent chine is an Elite design feature; when at rest, no chine flat enters the water - eliminating chine slap entirely, yet a dry soft ride is retained when underway.

Starboard of the semi-ensuite is a twin bunk cabin; you will find the engine room access door, through which is immaculately finished, as is standard from Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders, engine room housing the twin MAN i6 800 hp engines. Zaphira has a top speed of just under 30 knots and cruises at around 22-23 knots. The engine room is large and well laid out, with ample space for servicing and maintenance of all equipment.

Back to the saloon and up the stairs to the pilothouse, you find yourself not only at the helm station but in a second, carpeted lounging space.

Unlike traditional styled flybridge boats, Elite mid pilothouses have plenty of comfortable sofa-style seating, so the skipper does not need to be isolated from the action. In fact, with the three-panel stacking sliding exterior doors opening up to give seamless access to the pilothouse aft deck - also with built-in seating – the pilothouse is where most owners spend their time when underway or just relaxing at anchor enjoying the views. Refreshments are always close at hand courtesy of the Isotherm drawer fridge in the base of the helm station seat.

The helm station consists of three Furuno multi-functional displays, engine controls with Twin Disc EJS joystick for docking or close-quarter manoeuvring, C-Zone electronic switching and a Zipwake automatic trim tab system. A second joystick is found on the port side of the pilothouse aft deck, further aiding with docking and manoeuvring. Sitting in the pilothouse when underway, the ride is quiet and smooth; Zaphira’s owners opted to enclose the pilothouse deck with clear, removable covers, making this an all-year-around outdoor space.

Finished to Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders' usual very high standard, Zaphira is built for absolute comfort. The no-compromises approach to her build means the new owners have exactly the boat they wanted.

Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders will be displaying Zaphira at the Auckland Boat Show, March 14 -17, 2024. If you would like to view this spectacular boat or would like more information about her, please get in touch with

International enquiries are also welcome. Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders are very experienced with building boats in New Zealand and shipping them to our internationally based clients. Or, if you have a design you would like us to cost or one of our other boats has caught your eye, please don’t hesitate to contact Robert to learn more.

Specifications - Zaphira - 18m Elite mid pilothouse motor yacht by Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders

  • LOA: 18m
  • Beam: 5.4m
  • Draft: 1.2m
  • Displacement: 28,000kg
  • Engines: 2 x MAN i6 800hp/ Twin disc MGX 5096a
  • Drive: Shaft
  • Fuel capacity: 4400lt plus 1600lt delivery tanks
  • Water capacity: 900lt
  • Holding tank: 2x 150lt
  • Top speed: 29.5 kt (fully laden)
  • Cruising speed: up to 25 knots

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