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Elan 360.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

It has always surprised me that there's not more of Elan's performance-cruisers in our waters, as there are increasingly in Europe. Having raced them in regattas and sail tested others I have found these quality-built and often lively boats handle both sides of the performance-cruiser equation well. However the good news is that new Australian dealer, US Yachts in Sydney, is making a concerted effort to bring more Elan yachts down here from their Slovenian yard in eastern Europe.

Top of their list, according to Ed Penn who visited the yard and sailed the boat, is the new Elan 360. This Rob Humphreys designed, open-transomed 35-footer comes with all the most modern features--twin rudders to track the beamy hard chined hull and a bowsprit to fly big asymmetries--while below, a deep T-keel ensures good stability.

As an evolution of the Elan 350, which won European boat of the year in 2011, the new 360 comes with plenty of proven ideas, such as a relatively lightweight hull but with enough ballast for windward work. There's even two versions with the 'S' model a useful six percent lighter than the standard GRP boat and both variants are built using foam-cored infusion to ensure the best integrity of build.

Good design points include outboard twin helms with Harken winches close at hand and a main track set far aft to maximise twist on the mainsail. Angled bench seating is intended to give crew comfort when heeled. Running rigging is low stretch Dyneema and is led back to the cockpit. The sail plan has a fully battened 3DL mainsail and 107% furling jib on the keel stepped alloy rig, which features a pulley adjustable backstay and there's also barber haulers to tuck in the headsail up front. In cruising mode, there's a foldable cockpit table, a drop-down swim platform and large main hatch for easy entry to the saloon.

The saloon is dominated by the keel stepped rig that is set further back in the boat than usually seen, so as to balance the centre of effort under sail, while conventional bench seats lie both sides. An L-shaped galley is to port with a double GRP sink, deep fridge and twin burner stove with oven. Storage around the galley looks good with deep cabinets. A wooden handrail that wraps around the galley sinks provides a secure handhold when moving forward and importantly all surfaces are rounded. The only niggles look to be the rather small portlights and the glass splashback in the galley but on the plus side LED lighting is used.

Accommodation can be either two or three cabins. A wide V-berth houses a large sail locker underneath and the angled deck hatch gives forward vision. Headroom at 6'2" is good but my initial information shows the absence of cabinetry here. The aft cabins benefit from having good volume and transom mounted portlights. Initial sailing reports say the Elan 360 is a stiff boat in a breeze, like its predecessors, while the twin helms nicely control the lively hull, so I look forward to sailing one in the coming year.

www.usyachts.com.au
MODEL Elan 360
DESIGNER Rob Humphreys
LOA 10,60 m (34'9")
BEAM 3.50 metres
DRAFT 2.35 metres /
 shallow 2.15 metres
DISPLACEMENT 5,350 kg
BALLAST 1,385 kg / 1,300 kg
ENGINE 30HP saildrive
WATER 175 litres
FUEL 75 litres
SAIL AREA Mainsail 35.91 [m.sup.2],
 Genoa 29.68 [m.sup.2],
 Asymmetric 110 [m.sup.2]
PRICE $239,000 ($323,000
 for S model)
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Title Annotation:CRUISER RACERS
Publication:Offshore Yachting
Date:Apr 1, 2014
Words:593
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