Skip to main content

Doing it with Elan

European builders are showing renewed interest in the American marketplace. Three boats from Croatian builder Salona Yachts made their U.S. debut at February’s Strictly Sail show in Miami, and now Elan Yachts, from neighboring Slovenia, has announced a push into North America.

European builders are showing renewed interest in the American marketplace. Three boats from Croatian builder Salona Yachts made their U.S. debut at February’s Strictly Sail show in Miami, and now Elan Yachts, from neighboring Slovenia, has announced a push into North America. The new importer for the United States and Canada is the Great Lakes Marine Group, headquartered in Holland, Michigan.

Elan is perhaps better known here for its skis, but GLMG principal Rick Johnson intends to change that. On the boating side, Elan has a strong new line of performance cruisers as well as the Impression line of family-oriented cruising boats, all designed by Briton Rob Humphreys.

Johnson is expecting four boats to arrive in time for the Newport and Annapolis shows this fall: three sporty models in the Elan 320, 360 and 400, and one Impression 444 cruiser.

The three sporty boats share some common traits, aside from the stylish portlight treatments. Each has a bluff bow, a retracting carbon sprit, twin wheels, twin rudders, pronounced hull chines, a T-keel and a fractional rig with a high-aspect mainsail and a jib with minimal overlap. Each boat also packs a powerful masthead A-sail tailor-made for thrillseekers.

“Rob Humphreys has designed everything from Oyster yachts to Volvo 70 racers,” says Johnson. “He knows how to draw a fast, easily handled boat.” Video of the Elan 360’s predecessor, the Elan 350, on the plane at 17 knots accompanied by the hoots and hollers of her racing crew, certainly supports that assertion. Double-digit cruising speeds should be easily within the range of the two bigger boats.

Design is only one aspect of a boat’s performance, and Elan’s build process adds horsepower by cutting weight as far as possible. Laminates are vacuum-infused to ensure optimum resin-to-glass ratios, and composites are used in bulkheads. Belowdecks, the fit-out is obviously biased toward weight saving but accommodations are certainly comfortable enough to cruise between races.

So what’s the competition for these sleek new boats? X-Yachts, J/Boats, C&C, a couple of the new Salonas, the equivalent Firsts from Beneteau, the sportier Dufours, and the new Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600 that’s due here in the fall. This market sector is really hotting up…

Meanwhile, the Impression 444 looks a solid, competent cruiser that sits at a sweet spot in the marketplace, size-wise. The hull and appendages are more conservative than those of the performance line, and so is the rig, which, in tandem with the deck plan, is geared toward shorthanded husband-and-wife sailing. Her competitors are more numerous, as this is a well-stocked market segment.

You can learn more about the Elan range at elan-yachts.com.

Related

00-LEAD-210918_11HR_AZIMUT48HRS_AMO_00411

11th Hour Racing Team's Green Mission

“I’ll admit, it’s still hard to watch the boat leave the dock sometimes,” says former Volvo Ocean Race sailor Mark Towill. Since meeting during a Transpac campaign over 15 years ago, he and his teammate Charlie Enright have sailed thousands of miles together aboard two Volvo ...read more

D61_JKELAGOPIAN-3

Boat Review: Dufour 61

Dufour, long one of France’s most well-respected builders, has been producing sailboats in La Rochelle since the dawn of fiberglass boatbuilding. Having recently merged with another La Rochelle-based builder, Fountaine Pajot, Dufour has now joined other European mass-production ...read more

m138123_14_00_210609_TORE02_SE_2152_2504-2048x

The Ocean Race to be “Climate Positive”

The 2023 Ocean Race intends to be one of the world’s first climate positive sporting events, offsetting more greenhouse gasses than are produced. The two-fold effort means cutting emissions by 75 percent and investing in ocean projects that sequester carbon and restore ocean ...read more

01-LEAD-Ancients-3-2048x

Cruising Lake Superior

Almost anywhere a sailor drops the hook someone else has been there before. We are hardly ever the first. That remote Maine harbor without a soul in sight: there’s a lobster trap. The south coast of Newfoundland: the crumbling remains of a fisherman’s cabin lie hidden among the ...read more

01-LEAD-Tablet-Holder-4

Fabricating a Tablet Holder

During the pandemic, I was stuck aboard Guiding Light, a Lagoon 410, in St. Lucia for over a month. During that time, as I worked on the boat, I started by doing a spring cleaning in my spares locker and finding some parts and material that I forgot I had. As soon as I saw them, ...read more

00-LEAD-AdobeStock_486335954

A Catamaran for a New Era

Anacortes, Washington, is an unassuming sea-salty town near the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, and the Betts Boats yard is easy for a passerby to miss. But within Betts’ facilities, the dawn of an era in Pacific Northwest production boatbuilding could be breaking with the ...read more

X5_plus_slide-01

Boat Review: Xquisite X5 Plus

The Xquisite X5 Plus is a major update of the boat that SAIL awarded Best Large Multihull and Best Systems titles in 2017. The changes were not just cosmetic, but genuine improvements to an already fine boat, making it lighter, faster and less dependent on fuel. The builder’s ...read more

01-LEAD-AdobeStock_40632434

Cruising: Offshore Prep Talk

When I began preparing Minx, my 1987 Pearson 39-2, for extended Caribbean cruising, I had to balance my champagne wish list against my beer budget. Every buck spent on the boat before leaving would be one less frosty can of Carib down in the islands. On the other hand, I had to ...read more