Join Date: Feb 2006
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OK. I am back from sailing now. I was a skipper on Elan Impression 434 (week May 12 to 19) and than on a Beneteau Oceanis 423 (week May 26 to June 2). I sailed both boats in same sailing area and also with similar sailing conditions, so can really compare them.
1) Elan: We had a four cabin version, but still: It is a big boat inside. Much bigger than an Oceanis 423. The floor is raised a bit in the saloon, so the bilge is deep enough to accommodate most tanks and have large storage areas below floorboards.
The construction and the structure of the inner hull looks much bigger than on an Oceanis, but I did not measure the thickness of those structures.
I also like the lighter color of the woods.
Sailing: Elan points better and is a faster boat in climbing against the wind, but was a very slow boat going downwind. Both boats have relatively flat bottom, so in big waves both slam hard when they climb a wave and jump on another wave from above. The movement seamed a bit softer on an Oceanis. Elan was faster on most point of sail (except downwind) and also faster under motor. But: Elan I had was brand new - so smooth, and the Bene was 2 years old and had some creatures living on the outside. Sails were classic in both boats and I had no spi.
Now the finish: I notices a few flops on the Elan. We had a brand new boat registered in May, delivered to location in Croatia and we were the first clients:
1) Handle on the cabin top was not tight on one side and was moving a little - jut needed the screws to be tightened.
2) There was some water entering the cabin - the support rod for standing rigging going through cabin top had a seal dislocated on one side (also easy fix).
3) Inner panels covering the celling (decorative) are not screwed or glued, but attached with some sort of Velcro tape and some did not hold well after a heavy beating for 5 hours in 30 knots of wind and short waves. after a firm press they were OK and did hold good.
I am not sure it this is normal for a new boat, but those little defects are hard to notice before the boat is in use.
Both boats took heavy winds (for Adriatic) of 30 to 35 knots (gusts to 40) very well and were very dry boats. Elan was faster, (but Beneteau had optional shallow draft) we could easy sail at 7 knots average (SOG on GPS) for hours. Also the engine noise was lower on the Elan - I had to look at the instruments to determine if the motor was running or not.
I would compare the 434 more with Oceanis 473 than 423 in many ways.
So, this Elan is a nice, fast boat, easy to handle, dry and very comfortable on flat water. I liked it.