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post #1 of 10 Old 11-19-2005 Thread Starter
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Elan

the Elans look like a very solid, well equipped boat for the money- any opinions?
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-20-2005
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Elans are built in a country without any siginficant level of recreational boating culture (Slovenia) and have received a real commerical boost in popularity due to the country''s 2004 membership in the EU (making their boats absent import taxes inside the EU) and their low labor rates. As a British broker explained to me, Eastern European builders these days will acquire modern materials and attempt to build to similar standards as those followed by W European and N American builders - which is why the build practices and equipment seem so comparable. However, the devil''s in the details. E Euro companies often lack a ''quality culture'' similar to what we''re accustomed to, and believe their job is done when the boat is trucked off to one of their brokers. (This is a general observation and may/may not be valid at a given point in time for a given builder; nevertheless, I think it''s a generally valid observation). The British broker told me some real horror stories about lack of factory support after one firm in Poland (who builds for Beneteau as well as under their own name) used out of date (tho'' brand name) GRP components. The hull in the new boat lacked structural integrity but the builder didn''t think this was his problem...AND due to a prior Communist culture where everyone supposedly ''owns'' business decisions, getting the factory to authorize a repair was all but impossible

Consequently, my advice would be to view a purchase of one of these boats a bit differently, putting a much larger emphasis on the written warranty offered by the broker, since that may be the only source of problem resolution. (IOW I would use an attorney to review and perhaps modify the purchase agreement). This is if buying new, of course; if buying used, proceed as tho'' the builder is no longer in business as follow-up, factory-direct support is probably also an unknown concept in practice.

Jack
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-20-2005
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My first hand impression of Elan is that they are a modern, first rate boat builder, producing an above average product of exceptional value. They are a division of the same company that produces skis and snowboards, the quality of which nobody questions. They’ve been in the sailboat business for at least 20 years, though little known in the American market as are many smaller European boat builders. The company underwent significant reorganization around year 2000 and re-vamped their entire product line with assistance of Rob Humphries, the highly regarded British yacht designer. I visited the factory just outside of Lubljana, Slovenia, before finalizing my decision to purchase a previously owned 2002 E-40. This is a modern EU nation, justly proud of their rapid advancements. They treated me as a prospective new boat customer, though they knew I was interested in an older boat. The production manager walked us through the entire plant and we were very impressed with the modern facility. Their output is a fraction of the big name boat builders and therefore their attention to detail and ability to respond to customer special requests is substantially enhanced. I found this to be true even after my used boat purchase when I contacted the production manager to inquire about contacts for installation of aftermarket equipment and he offered the services of their own in-house technician. Like the old Avis commercials, they seem to try a little harder.

Needless to say, I am pleased with my vessel. I initially decided upon the Elan because the boat design matched my criteria to a tee and the interior accommodations displayed a level of finish somewhat better than standard, in my view. After seeing how the boats were constructed, I was convinced. Now, in reasonable comfort, we easily sail past almost all others our size… cruising the Med.

Phil
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-21-2005 Thread Starter
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Jack,
A little suprised you mention all that since some of the Elans have won Boat of the Year I believe. Also, some of their models have had excellent write ups in some of the major sailing magazines over the last few years. Elan sounds more interesting especially since they are a leading manufacturer of snow skis and have been around for decades. Also someone else mentioned that the boatbuilding quality in that part of the world is truly excellent- and Elan is not a new comer to building boats.
Anyone else with opinions? Would be appreciated.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-23-2005
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Please consider my post to be more directed to eastern EU countries exporting yachts generally and less directed specifically to Elan; I''m just trying to alert readers to issues we don''t typically consider when buying most brands. Still, general issues of the Eastern European mindset re: running a factory, lack of quality culture, and the ramping up of a workforce competent in building complex systems (vs. snow skis) are all issues I''d want to have thought thru carefully, even if buying from Elan.

I would also be wary of any builder who builds exclusively for export and lacks a local customer base. E.g. Imagine Catalina or Hunter building solely for sale in Europe; would they have been as directly influenced by customer feedback when the customers are more remote, or savvy about the needs of N American sailors? Probably not. (Now to shoot myself in my very own foot: Swan built boats for decades exclusively for export and that hardly kept them from building good boats. I spoke to a Finn this year who had to buy his Swan in San Diego and ship it back; simply no inventory in his own country. But perhaps this is one exception that proves the rule...)

Let''s keep in mind that BOTY awards are meaningless when it comes to warranty support assessment and and to some degree this is true re: build quality, as well. In fairness to the evaluators, there is only so much you can cover/see/get your hands around in the course of an afternoon sail...and especially so if the weather has turned sour when the demo has been arranged.

Jack
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-23-2005
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Elan

Elans are great boats, comparable with Dehlers.

They are designed by Rob Humphrey, one of the best naval architects known for the seawordiness of his boats (Elans have a better AVS than similar boats of other companies).

Rob Humphrey designs also the Oysters and Southerlies and their "design processes are continually honed by our involvement in some high-profile race campaigns, among them the America’s Cup, Open 60s and now Volvo 70s"

http://www.humphreysdesign.com/Pages/about_us.html
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-23-2005 Thread Starter
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Elan

Thanks PCP.
Sounds like ELAN is a good step above the Beneteau and Jeanneau class.
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-02-2006
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Elan

As an owner of the 434 and a previous owner of Beneteau,a Hunter,and a Cal, I can attest to the quality of the Elan''s. I did signficant research on this boat before purchasing and the end product has far exceeded my expectations. The architecture, structural build (vacuum bagged, divncycell cored, multiaxial glass) and sailing characteristics are significantly better than most boats built anywhere in the world today. The boats are Germanischer Lloyd certified. The value here is a result of modern building techniques and a reduced cost of labor...sound familiar? (remember those so called junky japanese cars :-) )
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-02-2006
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Please explain:

I can attest to the quality of the Elan''s.
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-02-2006
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Attest to means ....To bear witness; give testimony. In other words, he is stating that the Elan is a very high quaility sailing vessel.
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