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Bluesmoods 10-13-2004 01:48 PM

New Hunter & Elan Designs
 
I just returned from Annapolis and wanted to receive some information on the New Henderson Designed Hunter Yachts.

I was very impressed. I used to be a Catalina Fan. It seems that Hunter really steped up to the plate with the design and construction of the 33, 36,38 and 41. I would have never known they were Hunters. It just does not seem like the same boat.

Any Owners out there??

I was also very impressed with the boats built by Elan. I had never heard of them. They seem to be a better built boat than a C&C type of boat for about the same money. I would love to hear comments on these boats as well.

Thanks

awayocean 10-14-2004 05:22 PM

New Hunter & Elan Designs
 
we have hunter 33 in our charter fleet-great boat,fast,big cockpit.Beter boat then beneteau 32.

leemalis 10-18-2004 01:41 PM

New Hunter & Elan Designs
 
I sailed the Elan 43, 1998, for a couple of years in Croatia and never had a problem. I don''t like taking any mediterranean cruisers out in rough seas though. Serious pounding when the weather gets rough and not enough bulk heads or structural support, but that can be said of all that class of sailboat. The Elan is fast too. I''m not a racer, but when cruising we were always faster than anyone else.

Lee

WHOOSH 10-19-2004 01:04 PM

New Hunter & Elan Designs
 
Tran:

I think we''re going to see an increasing selection of Eastern European-built boats in the balance of this decade. The EU''s inclusion of countries like Slovenia (where the Elans are built) has multiple effects, including funding subsidies & grants, suddenly expanded markets absent tariff barriers and, perhaps most importantly, it suddenly invites "old" EU countries to subcontract their work to "new" EU countries where labor rates are far, far lower, factory costing rates also very low, and yet where the skills resident in the countries are relatively good.

Here''s an interesting example: A broker in Ramsgate, Kent in Britain was the first importer (within the UK) of Sportina,a Polish builder of fiberglass sailboats. The factory is little more than a Hazmat zone, just getting to it via rental car from the nearest airport is worthy of a Survival episode on TV, and there is virtually no understanding of warranty support at the factory level. (That''s in the dealer''s hands, exclusively, as the factory sees it. Did we use aged resin and build a boat that''s totally compromised? Errr...stonewall the dealer & owner! What the builder has yet to understand is that the EU''s product quality standards will hold him accountable). Still, for the most part they produce acceptable products at a very competitive price point, they''r eager to expand their business, and the British dealer is delivering boats all over Britain because of perceived value. This is going to happen more and more in Europe, and to the extent that European trends grow beyond Europe, we''re going to see it here.

One interesting side note: Where did the Ramsgate dealer learn of Sportina? It turns out that one of the Beneteau models (a 9-10 meter model) has been built by Sportina for several years now and only ''branded'' with some finishing work at the Beneteau factory after being trucked in from Poland. How''d you like to buy THAT Beneteau, thinking you were enjoying all that production efficiency and ''brand name'' quality...

Jack

Jeff_H 10-20-2004 03:37 AM

New Hunter & Elan Designs
 
As you note,I think that there is a nig improvement in the current line of new Hunters. They have really seem to have improved hull forms and foil shapes since Glenn Henderson came aboard. They have added the use of kevlar (in high load and collision prone areas) and vinylester resin to the laminate, both excellent materials. I understand that they have decreased the amount of non-directional materials and increased the amount of oriented fiber material. All very good.

My criticism of these boats still comes down to basic items. While both Hunter and Catalina and Beneteau on their series boats use them, I still do not like glued in bulkheads. They are strong enough for normal sailing conditions but the small contact area really reduces the long term and high load strength. I don''t like the rolled out deck joints. These are inexpensive to build, but are much more vulnerable to damage, have way higher loadings and again have a much smaller contact area than an inward facing flange hull to deck joint. While I like fractional rigs for ease of handling and their inherent greater wind speed ranges with fewer sails, the backstayless B&R rig does not make sense to me as you cannot flatten the headstay tension on a high wind or depower the mainsail as easily.

My other gripe with the Hunters (as well as Catalinas) is that their interiors are clearly planned around a cruising style with short hops and nights spent at the dock or the anchor. These boats lack seaberths or even berths that can be converted so that a person can safely sleep underway. Galleys also seem to be laid out in a way and with features such as front opening refidgerators, that are hard to use under way. I understand that this reflects the way that a large percentage of the population use their boats, but it makes the possibility of longer passages or night passages much less likely.

I basically like the newer Elans. I only heard of these boats perhaps 5 or 6 years ago and had only seen one perhaps 3 years ago. I have really been very impressed with the build quality and engineering on these boats. I am also a big fan of Rob Humphries who designed these boats. The newer designs look like they would be excellent all around boats in a wide range of conditions. The newer boats are also using very high quality materials and sophisticated construction techniques. I saw no real negatives. Price wise I thought that they offered a lot of boat for the money although the recent relationship of the Euro v Dollar seems to cut some of that advantage.

You comment that you think that Elan are a higher quality boat than a C&C. I ma a little skeptical on that score. While there are a number of things about the design, layouts and execution of the new C&C''s that do not appeal to me, I really think that their hulls and decks are amounst the best constructed on the market these days using top notch materials and seemingly a high level of quality control.

I would also suggest that depending on your goals for the boat and its size, that you take a look at Hanse. I have been generally impressed with Hanse as well although in many ways I like the Elan a little bit better mostly on detail and taste issues.

Respectfully,
Jeff

WHOOSH 10-20-2004 06:30 AM

New Hunter & Elan Designs
 
Jeff''s comments spur me to add one more: If I were buying from a builder in a non-sailing country (e.g. Slovenia sells almost 100% of its sailboat production outside the country), and especially if I were buying from a builder who''s country has not been part of the EU and the EU''s product quality regs until recently (10 new members were only added this May), I''d be especially focused on underlying ''build quality'' issues.

Quality control has just not enjoyed much of a role in manufacturing in the former Eastern Bloc countries and is only slowly emerging as part of the production-related culture there. And factories always benefit from direct feedback from nearby customers who speak the same language and to whom the builder inevitably feels a bit more responsible. Hanse, Vilm, Elan and a growing number of other builders reside in regions where 21st century manufacturing and product quality standards are not inherent. It doesn''t mean their boats will lack quality...but it would mean to me I should be especially vigilant when considering a purchase.

Jack

Bluesmoods 10-20-2004 08:51 AM

New Hunter & Elan Designs
 
I agree with the posts above that C&C is a respectable high quality boat. What I have heard from new owners at my marina is that the company, Fairport Yachts just can''t manage to get its act together. Problems with the factory translates into incredible problems with commissioning and factory service after the sale. I don''t want to put up with what these guys did nor should I have to for a price boat such as a C&C.

Include me in as also really being impressed with the new Hunter line!

After my inspection of the Elan 40 at Annapolis, I prefer it to the C&C 121 and have decided to go in that direction. Not only is the fit and finish nicer, but the price point is very attractive for what appears to be a very fine high quality performance cruiser.

I have researched the manufacturing specs (www.elan-marine.com) and spoken with factory representatives. I have a very high confidence level that this boat over the next 5- 10 years, will take away market share from the USA "C&C type" of boat builders here in the USA as Jeff suggested.

-Jack M.


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