A Tour­ing MA­CHINE

Built in the Alps for life at sea, ELAN’S GT5 was de­signed from the keel up to cruise in com­fort.

Cruising World - - Boats & Gear - BY MARK PILLS­BURY

As far as test sails stack up, a ride on Elan Yachts’ new GT5 late one sunny morn­ing this past spring proved mem­o­rable. First and fore­most, of course, was the boat. The GT5 — GT stands for Grand Turismo — is the first in a new Rob Humphreys-de­signed range that melds the Slove­nian builder’s race-tested per­for­mance hulls with all the crea­ture com­forts and space that a deck-sa­loon cruis­ing lay­out can af­ford.

With twin wheels and rud­ders, and a sporty T-shaped keel that car­ries the weight where you need it most — down deep — the boat han­dled like a sports car on moun­tain roads. We started the day in rel­a­tively calm con­di­tions. Still, in about 7 knots of breeze, we sailed up­wind at 5 knots, and gained another cou­ple on the speedo as the wind built to about 12 knots.

The venue for our sail was re­mark­able as well. On star­board tack, Croatia lay dead ahead; com­ing about to port, we could have eas­ily reached Tri­este, Italy, in time for a late lunch. Though Slove­ni­ans claim 26 or so miles of twist­ing coast­line, ei­ther neigh­bor is just a short but lovely straight­line sail away.

Speak­ing of moun­tain roads, we be­gan our day with a tour of Elan’s sprawling yard, nes­tled tight against the snow-cov­ered Alps in the small ru­ral town of Be­gunje na Goren­jskem (see “From Moun­tains to the Sea, page 90). From there, we jumped in a car and drove a cou­ple of hours to the Adri­atic coast and Ma­rina Por­toroz, where the GT5 sat stern-to at the end of a busy dock, one of sev­eral lo­cated in­side an im­pres­sive stone break­wa­ter.

Our host, Matic Kle­menc, mar­ket­ing man­ager for Elan Yachts, nim­bly leapt across the cou­ple of feet of open wa­ter be­tween quay and tran­som to lower (thank­fully) the boat’s teak-cov­ered swim plat­form so a col­league and I could eas­ily step aboard. Our path led us be­tween twin wheels aft, where all the sail­han­dling takes place, and for­ward

into the main por­tion of the cock­pit, where drop-leaf ta­bles to ei­ther side kept the cen­ter­line free and open.

As Kle­menc got the boat ready for de­par­ture, I took a tour be­low.

The four flat com­pan­ion­way steps lacked non­skid but were not steep and were eas­ily ne­go­ti­ated when headed be­low. Once there, the height of the cabin house that at first blush had looked slightly out of scale from afar, pro­vided an im­pres­sive amount of liv­ing space, a trade-off I’m will­ing to ac­cept.

The boat’s nat­u­ral teak wood­work and white ceil­ing gleamed in the light that poured in though the deck sa­loon’s tinted ports. They pro­vide a 180-de­gree view for­ward and to the sides.

The 43-foot-3-inch GT5 shares a hull mold (thanks to a bolt-on ex­ten­sion) with Elan’s 39-foot-2-inch S5 and E5 mod­els, both per­for­mance­ori­ented sail­boats. Th­ese hulls fea­ture a plumb bow, fine en­try and beam that flares amid­ships and is car­ried aft on pro­nounced hard chines that de­liver sta­bil­ity and in­te­rior vol­ume. To make the most of the space be­low, the team at Humphreys Yacht De­sign in­verted the tra­di­tional sa­loon lay­out to po­si­tion the gal­ley for­ward against the main bulk­head. The re­sult is en­ter­tain­ing and liv­ing space that takes full ad­van­tage of the boat’s 12-foot-8-inch beam.

The GT5’S in­te­rior comes in four lay­outs, with two or three cab­ins and one or two heads. The boat we sailed was, I thought, quite func­tional for a cou­ple with oc­ca­sional guests. In the vis­i­tors cabin, to port and aft of the com­pan­ion­way, a sprawling berth stretched in­board, over the en­gine com­part­ment. To star­board of the stairs was the sole head and shower, with ac­cess to an enor­mous locker un­der the star­board cock­pit set­tee. In the V-berth, the own­ers ac­com­mo­da­tions in­cluded a queen-size cen­ter­line berth with set­tees aft and to ei­ther side, fol­lowed by a pair of large hang­ing lock­ers.

A third guest cabin could re­place the stor­age locker aft, and own­ers could give up the port locker and set­tee for­ward if they de­sired a pri­vate en suite head and shower.

Just aft of the main bulk­head sat the gal­ley, where a cook could whip up meals and still be in on the ac­tion. There was a two-burner gim­baled Eno stove and oven to port, and nearby, with the flip of a switch, a mi­crowave oven rose from an open­ing in the coun­ter­top. A large sin­gle sink and refrigeration was to star­board.

Mov­ing aft, the din­ing ta­ble with a fold­ing leaf and L-shaped set­tee oc­cu­pied the port side of the sa­loon; a shorter set­tee with a nav sta­tion at its for­ward end sat op­po­site. With the ta­ble’s leaf folded closed, its sup­port amid­ships pro­vided an ex­cel­lent and rugged hand­hold — a nice touch. For re­lax­ing, or to ac­com­mo­date guests, the ta­ble dropped to create another large berth. Nu­mer­ous over­head hatches and side ports opened to let the breeze blow through.

More loung­ing space was avail­able top­side thanks to leaves on both cock­pit ta­bles that drop and open to turn the ad­ja­cent benches into sun beds. The cock­pit it­self was laid out with a short­handed crew in mind. Sail con­trol

lines — sheets for the 107 per­cent genoa and con­ven­tional main in­cluded — were led un­der the deck to a pair of winches at each wheel (for the record, the helms were silky smooth thanks to Jefa steer­ing). I found it easy to move from side to side and tack the boat my­self. Though the cock­pit coam­ings were tall, pro­vid­ing good back sup­port, they were easy to step over when go­ing for­ward.

A be­lowdecks furler kept the pointy end clean of clut­ter, and its drum ap­peared to be eas­ily reach­able in the deep an­chor locker. The boat we tested came with an op­tional com­bi­na­tion an­chor roller and com­pos­ite bowsprit for off-the-wind sails. The boat also car­ried a wind­lass, all items that most cruisers would want. Other pos­si­ble op­tions of in­ter­est to long-range sailors in­clude in­creased tank­age for wa­ter (from 66 to 140 gal­lons); fuel (50 to 124 gal­lons); and choice of en­gines: ei­ther a 40-horse­power Volvo or 45-horse­power Yan­mar are stan­dard, with up­grades to 50 and 57 horse­power, re­spec­tively. The boat I sailed had the 50-horse­power Volvo.

Elan in­fuses all of its hulls us­ing mul­ti­di­rec­tional fiber­glass, closed-cell foam core and vinylester resin. The GT5’S main bulk­head was also in­fused and lam­i­nated in place, as was the com­pos­ite grid that car­ries rig, keel and en­gine loads.

All-in-all, I thought the GT5 de­liv­ered a lot of lit­tle lux­u­ries for a boat that, rel­a­tively well equipped, you could sail away for about $350,000 here in the States (base price, de­liv­ered to the U.S., is $294,774). With the com­pany ac­tively build­ing out its North Amer­i­can dealer net­work, and con­sid­er­ing its many years of col­lab­o­ra­tion with Rob Humphreys, the new flag­ship from Elan is cer­tainly worth a look if you’re in the mar­ket for a cruis­ing boat that prom­ises some get-up-and-go.

A lighted stor­age area for glasses was a nice touch in the gal­ley. Large deck-sa­loon ports pro­vided ex­cel­lent vis­i­bil­ity be­low, as did ports in the hull for when seated.

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