Has promised, some impressions about the Elan 380 test sail:
The boat was on Portoroz, Slovenia and was a private boat. The owner races the boat but as he is going for vacations, cruising with the family, had taken the racing sails out and had mounted inexpensive dracon sails (full batten anyway).
The cars on the mast are very good and I had no trouble in putting the sail up (by hand) from the cockpit. With those cars, the force needed is about the same on the Bavaria 36, maybe less.
The boat had a 40hp Volvo (Standard 29) engine and had a fast engine cruising speed : About 6.5K at 2000 rpm and easily over 7 if you put just a little bit more rpm (2150).
Unfortunately there was very little wind (5 to 8K) but we had no problem in sailing. Even with such a weak wind the boat can sail to 30º (apparent wind) and make between 5 and 6K. This with cheap sails and without using a geenaker (he had not one). Downwind we sailed at about 3.5, 4.5k, with just 3k of apparent wind showing on the wind instrument. The overall performance was very satisfactory, if not spectacular (as with the Opium 39). This boat can sail with very weak winds, especially if a geenaker is used, and make very good speed.
As I have said in a previous post, the owner gave me very interesting information on the performance of this boat compared with the new 350. With identical sails he says this boat is faster in all points of sail, including downwind. He says that while the 350 "comes out of the water" and starts planning at 9K, this one makes the same at 10K. He says this is an easy 8K sailing boat and that downwind it is easy to get double digit speeds.
The boat had German sheeting (standard) and uses the back winches for controlling the main and the front ones to the genoa. If I wanted (and I would want) they can put the control of the main in on the center of the boat (kind of set up for solo sailing) and I can use the back winches for the genoa, having all commands at hand (they have such a system as standard on the 34ft). But even with the standard set up, this one is a lot better than the one in the Opium 39 (that was designed for a tiller, not for a wheel).
For reefing, all lines (dyneema as standard) come to the cockpit. The boat comes with two automatic reefs and they can mount a third one, with two lines. The owner says that normally he puts the first reef with 20k of wind, which, considering the large sail area, shows that this is a stiff boat.
This boat had a draft of 2.35m, that is too much for my cruising needs, but the standard version has 2.05, that is just fine.
The boat seems to be very well balanced, the cockpit is very agreeable, with the right size for solo sailing and the only negative remark is the absence of a dedicated space for the liferaft. With this boat, for cruising extensively it is necessary to chose the 2 cabin version, to get a good storage space.
I know it already, but I could confirm again, that this boat has a very nice interior. Again it is better to have the 2 cabin, because it has a bigger front bed, not much, but 10cms can make a lot of difference for a big guy.
From the interior the only thing I dislike are the light switches, but I guess I can take them out and have them chromed (they are plastic, but they also look like cheap plastic
The boat as a small diesel and water tankage (110L and 250L) but they are happy to put more. After checking it seems easy to get 200L of diesel and 350L of water, and that for this kind of boat is good.
Overall it is a very nice boat and one that is going to stay on my short list. The Dealer has come expressly from Zagreb (the capital of Croatia) and made 250km for being present on this test sail. He brought his wife, a lovely girl, to serve as translator. They were both very nice people. If I chose an Elan I will buy from him. He does not know much about sailing (contrary to the boat owner that was a very good sailor) but I am quite sure I will get from him a boat the way I want it at a very good price (we talked about prices and he said to me that the first offer he had made to me was just that...a first offer
I end up paying beers to everybody and that was the end of a very pleasant morning. As I have said, all very nice people that I would have loved to meet, even if I had not the pleasure to sail the boat.
My soon also sailed the boat and even if he don't find any fun in sailing with less than 20k
, he loved the boat, specially the outside looks and the interior.
Some photos of the 380 and from the new 350. If someone is interested I can also post a photo of the new 44 (cruising line).