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Just Launched: Salona 33 and Elan 400

Cruising boat design has changed so much over the last decade that even boats targeted at family sailing now claim to be “performance” cruisers. Inevitably, though, boats still lean toward one end or the other of the performance/comfort spectrum, a balancing act that is well illustrated by a pair of new boats from two adjoining countries on the Adriatic Sea.

Cruising boat design has changed so much over the last decade that even boats targeted at family sailing now claim to be “performance” cruisers. Inevitably, though, boats still lean toward one end or the other of the performance/comfort spectrum, a balancing act that is well illustrated by a pair of new boats from two adjoining countries on the Adriatic Sea.

Built in Croatia, the J&J-designed Salona 33 benefits from some advanced thinking in boat construction. Not only are the hull and deck moldings vacuum-infused with vinylester resin, there are watertight composite bulkheads at the bow and stern, and a massive stainless steel interior grid to carry the keel and rig loads. The boat’s performance ratios suggest excellent speed potential, yet it is conservative in design, with no hull chines, a single rudder, a bulb keel with a choice of drafts, and an overlapping genoa.

Tiller steering is standard, but you can have twin wheels if you want. The two-cabin layout is practical and has all the amenities necessary for coastal cruising. Salona has new U.S. importers, and the first 33 to arrive here will be on display at the boat show in Annapolis this month.

There are no prizes for guessing where on the spectrum the Elan 400 falls. Designed by Briton Rob Humphreys and built in Slovenia, this new 40-footer is—to those with a go-fast mindset—a seriously good-looking boat.

Long and low, the 400 has striking styling that really makes it stand out. It is not a fat boat, but fine bow sections broaden amidships to a maximum beam of 12ft 7in that is carried all the way to the stern. The vacuum-infused hull sports a pair of prominent chines along with twin rudders and, yes, a T-keel. A tall fractional rig carries a non-overlapping jib equipped with barber haulers, and sails can be trimmed from the helm. A retracting sprit handles a masthead A-sail.

Racing crews will love working in the long, wide cockpit, and families will enjoy relaxing in it just as much. There’s a choice of three layouts, with some interesting user-friendly features like a flip-up nav table. It’s enough to make you wish the U.S. importers were more active.

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