The Slovenian Elan yard has been building boats for nearly seven decades. At first they were small no-frills fishing boats and dinghies, but today the company offers three distinctive lines of sailboats, including the luxurious Impression deck saloon yachts. The first model of the Impression line was introduced back in 2004 and these Rob Humphreys designs have been a success story for Elan, both with owners and charter businesses.
During our test of the Elan 50, the top model, it soon became evident why. There is plenty of space on deck and below. In addition to the two generous staterooms with en-suite heads and showers, there was a bunk cabin for kids or guests. Up forward there is a huge anchor locker, which also could be used as access point for a skipper's cabin. A teak deck with dark and flush mounted skylights added a nice visual touch.
And of course Elan didn't skimp on comfort options, like the large fold-down swim platform on the stern. Or the cockpit fridge that pulls out from underneath the seats on port. Or the wine rack and the electric stove vent in the forward galley that is built in athwartships to save space in the salon which was furnished with bright veneer and dark flooring. Skylights, and windows in the hull and cabin top ensure plenty of natural light is admitted to the living space.
The boat showed how well 14.5 tons of displacement can move through the water, managing a touch better than 7 knots close hauled and 8,5 knots at 90 degrees apparent wind angle in 18 knots of true windspeed. Like on the GT 50, the twin rudders are a big asset for keeping the boat under control when the breeze is up, which came in nicely for our test sail. But what really mattered in the cruising context was that the Impression 50 was easy to operate competently by a crew of two. A self-tacking jib, roller furling main, nicely organized trim lines and halyards and power winches kept things simple. However, the full-sized bimini, a great source of protection against sun and rain, lacked the windows on top to check the sail trim from the helm. Elan is aware of it and promised to add this inexpensive, but useful feature.
Powered by a Volvo Penta 75-hp diesel engine and a Saildrive, the Impression 50 got up to approximately 8.3 knots of top speed with 2,800 rpm and cruised at 6.6 knots with 2000 rpm. These numbers promise efficient travel under engine, which is, let's face it, what cruising boats are destined to do when it's too light, too rough or when the crew simply doesn't feel like yanking out the sails.
The Elan Impression 50 might not be the latest design on the market, but for more than a decade now it has proven how well the concept of the deck salon resonates with customers who see sailing a as convivial and relaxing endeavor. If you like this style of boat but want it in a smaller package, there are three other Impression models of 35, 40 and 45 feet to choose from.
Elan Impression 50 specifications
Hull length: 14.83m
Displacement (Light) 14.5 tonnes
Ballast: 4.5 tonnes
Sail area: Main: 55.94sq m
Genoa: 59.55sq m
Engine: 55 HP/75 HP Volvo Penta diesel
Water: 605 litres
Fuel: 295 litres
Design: Rob Humphreys