The ship
and its history

A unique ship born from an impossible dream

Unique in many ways

Apart from being a one-of-a-kind ship, Atyla is different for many reasons:

From the way it was built and its peculiar history to the fact that it always remained owned by the same family and the innovative project happening currently.

Basic specifications

    • Hull and rigging made of wood (Iroko, Oak, Scots pine…)
    • 31m long, 7m wide, 3m deep, 25m high
    • 9 sails (two of them black), a total surface of more than 400m2
    • Safety, navigational and medical equipment for oceanic trips
    • Qualified and experienced professional crew
    • 4 group cabins with a total capacity of 24 people for oceanic trips
    • 5 bathrooms (3 of them with shower)
    • Electric heating and hot water
    • Fresh drinking water on the taps
    • Fully equipped kitchen
    • Electric plugs throughout the ship (220V, European type)
    • 4 group cabins with a total capacity of 24 people for oceanic trips
    • 5 bathrooms (3 of them with shower)
    • Electric heating and hot water
    • Fresh, drinkable water on the taps
    • Fully equipped kitchen
    • Electric plugs throughout the cabins (220V, European type)
    • Deck capacity of 80 people for events & day trips
    • Deck lighting
    • Outdoors sound system with microphones
    • Awnings to cover in case of rain
    • Bar with a chest fridge

    Latest renovations and improvements

    New engine installed in 2016
    Foretopmast and yards renovated and improved in 2017
    New sails purchased in 2017
    Diesel tanks renovated and improved in 2017
    New bunks and lockers added in 2018
    Electric installation, wiring, control pannel and systems renovated in 2018
    Kitchen completely renovated in 2019
    Maintopmast renovated in 2019
    Deck completely recaulked in 2019-20
    Freshwater tanks renovated in 2020

    The story of a dream

    1970s

    The Idea

    Esteban Vicente Jiménez (Soria, Spain, 1953) was a professional canoeist with an ambitious dream: Building a big wooden ship robust enough to sail around world.

    Despite the lack of money and living 250 km away from the nearest coast, in 1979 Esteban began to design Atyla following traditional shipwright standards. A few months and hundreds of sketches later, his original design received approval from the naval architect PhD. Franciso Lasa Etxarri.

    1980s

    Construction & Launching

    Esteban gathered a group of friends and volunteers to start building the vessel in the small town of Vinuesa (Soria). They started carving the interior pieces using wood from surrounding forests.

    In 1982 the wooden pieces were brought to the coastal town of Lekeitio (Vizcaya), where they were going to build the hull and assemble everything together.

     By 1983, Esteban and his friends already had a plan for the ship: Circumnavigating the world following the Magellan-Elcano route and then, after the trip, using the vessel as a training ship. The idea was so impressive that in 1984 he received the Honourable Mention of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise.

    Atyla was finally launched on May 15, 1984. The entire town of Lekeitio participated and media from all around the country talked about it.

    Unfortunately, right after the launching, the sponsor of the circumnavigation pulled out, and this plan never became a reality. Esteban and his friends had to find a new plan and a source of funding.

    In 1986 they set sail for the Caribbean to raise money by renting out the ship for tourist sailing trips. But the odds were against the troop and the ship was completely looted before crossing the Atlantic.

    1990s

    The Canary Islands

    Whilst moored in Lanzarote (Canary Islands) recovering from the robbery, the crew realised the potential for tourism in that area. They ended up staying in the port of Playa Blanca for 19 years leading a successful day-sailing-trip business.

    1990s

    The Canary Islands

    Whilst moored in Lanzarote (Canary Islands) recovering from the robbery, the crew realised the potential for tourism in that area. They ended up staying in the port of Playa Blanca for 19 years leading a successful day-sailing-trip business.

    2000s

    Representing Cantabria

    In 2005 the Government of Cantabria hired Atyla to represent the region. She was brought to Santander, where for six years she was used for all kinds of activities (sail training, day trips with schoolchildren and environmental awareness trips).

    Once the contract with the Government of Cantabria ended, Esteban was almost 60 years old, and his nephew Rodrigo de la Serna Vicente (Madrid, 1989) decided to take over the Atyla to keep her sailing. In June 2013 they both moved the ship to the Mediterranean Sea.

    At the end of that summer, Atyla took part in the Mediterranean Tall Ships Regatta 2013 organized by Sail Training International (STI). That event reminded young Captain Rodrigo of his uncle’s goal 30 years before and he decided to dedicate the ship to training activities.

    2000s

    Representing Cantabria

    In 2005 the Government of Cantabria hired Atyla to represent the region. She was brought to Santander, where for six years she was used for all kinds of activities (sail training, day trips with scholars and environmental awareness trips).

    Once the contract with the Government of Cantabria ended, Esteban was almost 60 years old, and his nephew Rodrigo de la Serna Vicente (Madrid, 1989) decided to take over the Atyla to keep her sailing. In June 2013 they both moved the ship to the Mediterranean Sea.

    At the end of that summer, Atyla took part in the Mediterranean Tall Ships Regatta 2013 organized by Sail Training International (STI). That event reminded young Captain Rodrigo of his uncle’s goal 30 years before and he decided to dedicate the ship to training activities.

    Present Day

    International adventures

    In 2014, Atyla started offering adventure sailing trips where anyone could participate in the tasks on board.

    Since then, the ship does every year an average of 22 trips, sailing 8500 nautical miles in 8 different countries and welcoming hundreds of participants from all around the world.

    In 2016, Rodrigo started creating the charity “Atyla Ship Foundation”.

    In 2017 Atyla crossed the Atlantic for the first time and visited 5 maritime festivals in Bermuda, USA & Canada.

    Every year, the ship participates in an average of 9 maritime festivals, is seen by more than 1 million people and welcomes on board more than 50,000 visitors.

    In these festivals, Atyla has been the ship, worldwide, that has won the “award to the most international crew” most often in the last years.

    We are sure that one day we’ll finally complete Esteban’s dream, and we’ll circumnavigate the earth promoting life skills and sharing our passion for adventure.