SAIL's Best Boats 2017: Elan E4

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Elan E4: Best Monohull Cruising Boat 30 to 40ft

Elan E4

Best Monohull Cruising Boat 30 to 40ft

A product of the same veteran Slovenian company renowned for its skis, the Elan E4 is one of those rare boats that really can do it all—a performance-cruiser that sails like a witch and yet is truly comfortable belowdecks for when you want to relax back at the dock or on the hook. In addition to the basic, go-fast pedigree of the E4’s Rob Humphreys-designed hull, features such as a wide and powerful transom, a generous main traveler on the cabin sole, twin rudders, a deep T-keel and a retractable bowsprit all speak to her performance potential. Similarly, well-executed modern but still salty joinery work belowdecks, generous sea berths in the saloon and refreshingly abundant handholds all speak to the thought that went into her accommodations. What really sets this boat apart, though, are the details—such as chafing guards outboard of the mooring cleats; a cleverly conceived and executed belowdeck tack line arrangement; a transom seat that can not only be removed for racing, but doubles as a gangplank for Med mooring; and—our favorite—a collapsible cockpit table that stows away beneath the cabin sole in seconds when not in use. Combined with the boat’s overall good design, such features simply make the E4 a joy to sail. As for the boat’s performance, in light air, the E4 is nimble and confident when going through stays, and in the heavy stuff, she goes like a rocket. The twin helms offer fingertip control, and the boat’s twin rudders ensure you don’t have to worry about rounding up in the puffs—a nice feature to have aboard any sailboat, whether on passage or on a racecourse.

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