It´s a bit more than a full month time now since 2023 edition of Boot Duesseldorf boat show closed the doors of the halls. And it is my sixth – and last – walkthrough of the boats I found interesting to take a look at. I chose to withhold this yacht for the last article on purpose: The Elan E6 performance cruiser wasn´t on my list initially and I skipped the Nautor´s Swan for this boat.
Within the bustling and colorfull hall 16 where all the big brands presented their ranges, traditionally the Elan display is a bit aside. Of course, the market leaders and players are dominating the show and a visitor should take the time to walk around and aside the main corridors: Surprises are waiting, just like this one. What a boat, I shall say!
One single stroke: A whole thematic world
Of all the yacht I´ve visited during the show, the Elan E6 struck me most, I must confess. Of course I know about the Slovenian brand that is known for making quite quick boats ranging from 34 to 47 feet and of course I was aware that the guys had their boats on display here. But somehow I never really took a look at these boats willingly – I should have!
The new Elan E6 is a masterpiece of design and should be a lesson for everyone trying to make a living with design. No matter if you like the design itself or not, the E6 demonstrates with bravado what design is all about. Walking down the ladder to enter the saloon, I instantly noticed that the designers (no other than the legendary Pininfarina design bureau) only needed one single stroke, one simple line, to define the world and “theme” of the whole boat.
This single line, a definitive angle and a certain style of execution, is repeatedly iterated and re-used to give shape to every form in the boat. One single line. Isn´t this fantastic? Where in other boats you can feel the desperation of the interior designers to forcefully come up with something new, fresh or stylish, it´s completely the opposite in the E6. Where in other boats a horrible mish-mash of shapes, forms, colors, fabrics and styles try to cover the inability of applying real art (or simply documents the budgetary rigor of the yards), it´s the complete opposite in the E6. And I simply loved it!
Center of the Yacht
Don´t get me wrong: I am not saying that this is something everyone should find beautiful. As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a very, very intimate and individual thing. Some won´t like the modern design, of course. What I am trying to emphasize here is that the E6 design is one fluent and coherent approach that works so great because it originates in one single theme, that is repeatedly used. Just like Mozart´s “Kleine Nachtmusik” with its recurring motives, always just a slightly changed.
Going down in the saloon of the Elan E6 opens up a pretty classic layout at first glance: A U-shaped settee around a large dining table facing a large 3- or 4-seater on port side. L-shaped galley on starboard and a day head (en-suite bathroom for the starboard aft cabin. But again, the “stroke” is apparent everywhere you look. Be it the table, the worktops, the form of the settee-cushions, the hull windows or roofing panels … a coherent thematic design.
The finishing quality of the woodwork appears great. Everything feels solid and rigid, no squeaking of the floor boards, there is always a kind of “heavy” quality to the things I touch, be it a door, a cupboard or the table. Less veneers, more massive wood. I love the modern, light-suffused and welcoming choice of colors, even though the floorboards had a rather dark tone. You feel at home, at sea and aloft at the same time.
This is a big boat and as such the saloon is meant to house a multitude of people. You can have easily four people sitting at the dinner table enjoying a full-sized meal. By folding up another tabletop the opposite settee becomes part of the game and two more adults can join the feast. Even more, with two portable stools or Poufs, two more adults can sit down: Eight persons and still no scramble.
But she is not just “nice”, there are some cool tricks. Take the nav station that is integrated to the starboard side wall. With one simple pull one part of the settee is turned into a chart table. Sitting facing forward of aft, the navigator or skipper can do their logbook entries or routing here. A clever use of the volume to combine a large, open reclining area with a practical workstation for the skipper.
Amenities on board
Speaking of working: The galley seems a bit small for a boat that size, more so if the poor ship´s cook has to prepare a meal for the above mentioned eight hungry crew members, but I guess this boat is mostly sailed by 2 to 4 people, 6 at most. The galley should be fine for preparing some meals, breakfast and snacks.
Fully equipped with a stove and oven, a large fridge and top-loader freezer/fridge, one may find enough stowage for cutlery and crockery. I missed a grab handle to hold onto or tie a belt for safe standing when the yacht is taking a wild ride in rough seas, but I am sure this could be equipped by the owners. The same practicality and beauty is found in the two heads.
Be it the forward owner´s bathroom or the day-head in the rear: Again, Pininfarina´s “stroke” is to be found here as well. Also, nice facings and decently sized appliances like the toilet, the show cabins or stowage show that the boat is not only good looking but made from people who know what sailing is about.
My heart always beats a little more faster when I realize that details are apparent which make living on and with the boat easier. Just like the grating in the shower cabin: It is a small detail but t makes utilizing the shower so much more comfortable. Imagine a cold morning being in there barefoot: Such a simple (but elaborate to make, hence expensive) part can enhance the shower sensation so much. This is where the big production boat brands have to save money, of course.
Sleeping in style
The owner´s cabin is the crown of the boat, just as it is a fact for every ship out there. Owners of an Elan E6 can look forward to a roomy, cozy, modern and stylish cabin in the bow. Hull windows open up the anchorage and invite natural light to enter the cabin. Colors and fabrics are well chosen to match perfectly. Light and shadow, dark and bright play a delightful game of contrast and harmony.
Again, the thematic “stroke” of Pininfarina plays the main role and defines the dynamic appearance of the boat. It is a very refreshing occasion to see a ship´s interior divert from the all-so common straight lines and modular manufacturing friends rectangular shapes. The same applies for the two aft cabins.
Of course they are much smaller but at least a slim window will make some natural light enter the cabin. Most of the bare Gelcoat surfaces are hidden beneath panels or wooden applications, the “line” is a constant companion here as well. The Elan E6 can be ordered with a fourth Pullman cabin in the front, by the way, but I suppose this won´t be an option outside the charter world. Even for charter, such a pretty ship is a bit of a waste, I´d say.
Pininfarina above, Humphreys below
Elan yachts are well known and appreciated for their sailing performance. I guess it´s in the DNA of Slovenian people who are crazy about sports and performance, I once heard that Slovenia is the country with the highest ratio of World Champions and Olympic winners per capita. No wonder that this boat is trimmed to performance. No less than Humphreys design bureau is responsible for the wetted surface and hull shape of this boat.
As a performance cruiser her outward appearance is edgy, low freeboard and aggressive lines. Again, “the stroke” is apparent. The E6 is 15.30 meters long and 4.49 meters wide. She carries 122 square meters of upwind sail area and has a 2.40 or 2.95 meter deep T-shaped performance keel with 29 per cent ballast. For comparison, the Beneteau Oceanis 51.1, which of course is a cruiser and does not have the same performance claims as the E6, you get a similar sized yacht that weighs around 2.5 tons more while carrying the same sails area.
The lines on deck are breathtaking. Compared to her GT-sister next to the E6, she looks much more aggressive and modern. Just like a space-ship belonging to an ant-like species … She is very flat and appears fast, a look she is most certainly able to undermine with sailing power and speed.
The Elan E6 comes with a keel-stepped mast, a detail I couldn´t thoroughly inspect as of course for the show no mast was apparent. All lines coming from the mast are running hidden to the cockpit. Her winch layout is pretty classic with two working/halyard winches to both sides of the entryway and four sheet winches on the coamings in the cockpit. In all my excitement for this boat I totally forgot to take a picture of the very cockpit, but you can believe me that four persons can sit there most comfortably on two cockpit tables which can be folded up to one large.
It´s in the details …
Apparently, Slovenians have a strong desire to incorporate Carbon parts. An upper brand like Elan, and especially a performance-trimmed boat like the E6, shouldn´t have any restraints in doing so. But again, there is no overuse of this material, whereas on other boats this fabric is often ridiculed.
I liked the finishing quality of the fixed bow sprit. The E6 will be sailed with Gennaker and Code 0 and as such a strong nice bowsprit is needed. The Genoa furling is sunk into the deck and integrated nicely into the carbon part. I don´t know how long the yard can supply their boats with natural Teak but the level of craftsmanship regarding the deck on this boat was awesome.
The helm stations which of course come with sporty Carbonautica-steering wheels offer a great view over the coach roof. Again, one must check the boat when the sprayhood is mounted, but judging from my impressions on the boat show, the helmsman shouldn´t have any problems in retaining an oversight of the sector in front of him.
The E6 comes with moderate aft chines. I liked the fact that the bathing platform is operated via lashing. Nice details is the helm-seat stowage. On a 50 footer dinghy garages are always a mess and as such I find it most consequent not to offer one on the E6.
What a boat!
Now, whether you like the design of the Elan E6 or not, you have to acknowledge that Pininfarina did a wonderful job here: A signature design that is clearly thought through and well proportioned. No overuse or overdosing of the theme, but a also demanding and provoking. I found it the best mixture of making a statement without looking like a complete idiotic design-victim. The E6 was the most surprising boat of the whole show for me.
And so I conclude my #boatshowduesseldorf series for this year. I hope my six walkthroughs have catched your imagination and maybe some inspiration. It was a great show, both from the view point of a boat dealer, that I am, and from the view of a boat connoisseur. We can certainly look forward to the 2024 edition in 11 months with hopefully much more brands exhibiting and much more boats shown, now that it is clear that Boot is back.
Connected articles of interest:
Rob and Tom Humphreys about the yacht of the future
Designing a 40 ft-cruiser, Marc Lombard interview
Inverted bows: Just a design trend?