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Review: Elling 49' "E4"

Discussion in 'General Trawler Discussion' started by YachtForums, Feb 25, 2014.

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  1. Elling 49' "E4"
    Roll, roll, roll your boat...

    Review by Judy Waldman​

    A luxury yacht for the 'high' seas? Of course, it’s built in Holland! If I were to tell you that this 49 foot yacht can cross oceans, cruise shallow waters, turn turtle, self-right, go fast and has a hull reinforced with not one but two layers of Kevlar, you would probably ask what I’ve been smoking? For the cannabis-free answer, read on...!
    Neptunus Yachts was founded in 1972 and was one of the first boat builders using GRP material for construction. More than two thousand Neptunus powerboats ranging in size from 40 – 80 feet were built in the 40 years since. Anton van de Bos, owner of Neptune Marine Shipbuilding and Elling’s founder, has a background that is an important factor in the development of the Elling in offering features not found in any other yacht lines. Anton has a Masters degree in mechanical engineering which led him to the rank of lieutenant in the engineering division during his service in the Dutch army.

    After military service, Anton worked for Akzo Nobel, a Dutch based multinational chemical company that is currently one of the largest paint companies in the world and includes the production of International Paint and Awlgrip. It was at Akzo’s fiber division that Anton began working on the application development of aramid fibre Twaron ® (Kevlar ®). Through visiting shipyards world-wide to find applications for this superfiber in the composite industry, Anton discovered Neptunus Yachts where he was asked to become director of the pleasure yacht division and eventually becoming a co-owner. In the late nineties the family owned business started to develop commercial boats, and a new division owned by Anton van de Bos initiated an innovative philosophy and a new production model under Neptune Marine Shipbuilding.

    As an aside, albeit significant, the commercial division, Neptune Marine Service, specializes in the construction, sale, and rental of marine dredging equipment. In a joint venture with Frank Mulder, a new branch was formed called Millenium Yachts where they built M/V The World Is Not Enough, a spectacular yacht with a power plant that has 20,000 hp divided over a 10,000 hp gas turbine and two 5,000hp diesels.

    Update March 29th, 2014: The Elling E4 Capsize Test is Live. Click Here!

  2. Van de Bos’ progressive philosophy included six years of development in addition to gathering concept demands from thousands of boating enthusiasts worldwide. Never before had more time nor money gone into the development of a one model motorboat, one to fit the demands of the most experienced yachtsmen. The first Elling had its debut at the Dusseldorf show in 1998. The Elling E 4 was introduced in 2006. Elling concentrates on its two models, the E3 and E4 with the only difference being the E4 is elongated by an extra 1.15 meters. This focus allows striving for production perfection keeping new boat bugs nil to minimal and for economical manufacturing assuring lower pricing. Over 250 Ellings have been sold with 74 E4s currently cruising Europe, Asia, and the Americas with production at 20-30 personalized yachts per year.
  3. The Elling E4 is a multi-purpose yacht that packages a “one boat fits all” list of capabilities. With CE Category A certification, this ocean going cruiser confirmed its sea-keeping competence when in 2008, fresh from the yard, 3 Ellings crossed the Atlantic ocean in 16 days from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean’s St. Marten, the Dutch side of course. The Frank Mulder and Ken Freivokh design based on North Sea lifeboats is rated to withstand Beaufort scale 8 (winds up to 46mph with seas to 25 feet), but this diverse cruiser with an air draught of 12 feet, skeg protected prop, and draft of 4 feet, is also ideal for the Great Loop, Bahamian cruising, Caribbean, New England or of course the canals of Europe.
  4. With safety as the number one priority in the Elling’s development, the E4 has a maximum speed of 18 knots which allows for outrunning storms or beating the sunset into harbor. Yet for those leisurely cruises or those with a sailboat fuel consumption mindset, the E4 has a cruise speed of 7.5 knots nipping a mere 2 gallons per hour. Not too fast, not too slow? There’s even a moderate cruise speed of 12.5 knots consuming 12 gallons per hour. The sea trial on M/V Neptune, a 2012 Elling E4 home ported in Fort Lauderdale, took place with the owner aboard along with Captain Sarah Lowell. It was one of those glorious Florida days with sunshine, warm gentle breezes and perfect for taking this boat for a cruise, um, I mean sea trial. We glided away from the dock at the owner’s house shortly after noon opting to disregard the thrusters; however, wending our way through a narrow canal with megayachts berthed on both sides and outgoing current, the tap of the thrusters gave added insurance to not damaging the big boys. We have 2 full Kevlar skins. They don’t!
  5. The no wake zone from the dock to Port Everglades allowed us to mosey along at displacement speed sure and steady until outside where we could open her up, run, and play. With only 2-3 foot seas we were chasing wakes and rooster tails for action so we created our own test field. Three turns of the wheel lock to lock. At wide open throttle, a hardover either to port or starboard and she would do her 360 in a little more than her own boat length -- and without a discernable heel. From WOT to neutral to stop took about 20 seconds. With her round bottom and long keel, M/V Neptune handled anything we could either find or throw at her at all speed and rpms. Even loaded with passerelle, twin sat domes, and monster jetski on the swim platform, we still clocked 1.5gph at 1600rpms and 7.5 knots. We maxed out at just under 17 knots at 3400 rpms registering 21 gph. Tracking was straight with and without autopilot and she stayed dead on heading either way. I found this soft riding little ship to have great visibility, be very responsive, easily maneuverable, and fun to drive. So much fun that 2 hours offshore flew by before we had to scramble back to dock – speed up to slow down, best of both worlds.
  6. Wide side decks and 32” to just shy of 3 feet 316 stainless steel surround-deck rails offer safety on the foredeck for line handling or when not remotely operating the Muir windlass from the helm. Ease of movement around one-level decks is important in big seas.
  7. A large integrated lounge pad on the foredeck offers comfortable sunbathing underway. Forward of the sunlounge is some genuine back seat thinking. A pneumatic lift assist raises the backrest for a rumble seat! Great for holiday boat parades! Note: cushions not shown.
  8. The sturdy pass-through window is set within the quick-drop mast. With the push of a button, the electrically operated hinged mast hunkers down from 15 feet to 12 feet eliminating the need for idling at bascule bridges or re-routing to avoid the fixed ones.
  9. The integral to the hull full beam swim platform is accessed from the aft deck by way of a stainless steel hinged gate. There is a securing mechanism for closing, but a holding open option needs improvement. The 25 square foot platform is plenty ample for a 9 foot dinghy. A convenient safety feature is the individual lights per step on the gently sloping stairs to the swim platform. The master stateroom window aft offers good viewing and ventilation when the dinghy is docked alongside or trailed aft, but it also serves an escape route for someone looking for a fast exit from the bedroom, for whatever reason, or per Ocean A rated requirement.
  10. The pilothouse presents itself as an upper salon where the captain and family/guests can wine and dine in a comfortable informal setting, whether in the air-conditioned/heated wheelhouse or under the stars or sunshine in top-down weather. Headroom in the pilothouse is 6’6” except when in convertible mode, “the sky is the limit.”
  11. I was a bit overdressed for the sea trial…ok, Carl chose the babe shot, not me! Visibility is excellent from the wheelhouse, whether for the helmsman or the backseat drivers on the raised dais. The safety glass windows are tested to resist pressure of waves up to 10 meters high. The area does function well for the outdoorsy feeling of looking out at the waterscapes at anchor or watching the dock and marina action. It’s a great spot to see and be seen since no doubt the Elling attracts the admirable stares from the dockwalkers.
  12. The helm station appears to be compact but the full array of electronics has everything needed to cross an ocean. The captain can enjoy sitting with the guests in the pilothouse or having his own space while occupants are below decks in the formal salon. The E4 offers 3 seating/eating areas, all with nearby inclusion of the helmsperson. The teak and holly laminate soles are low maintenance and scratch-proof and include heating elements to keep the toesies warm in colder climes
  13. Easy to read, easy to reach buttons, switches, and knobs make for one-touch navigation. Standard electronics include the Raymarine suite of plotter/radar/gps display, 48 mile radar, autopilot with remote, depth/speed panels, rudder indicator, AIS, and VHF. The semi-customization of Elling Yachts allows for the clients to select their preferred electronics. M/V Neptune’s owner added a KVH 3 TracPhone and M3 TracVision.
  14. The Savas leather truck-driver helmseat is fully adjustable and with the weight of the captain dialed in, the air-assist spring cushioning diminishes wave action fatigue potential. A pretty comfy perch for the long hauls.
  15. The goal of creating high stability was important for the CE Category A rating but was also a critical element for the comfort of the passengers aboard. The semi-displacement hull was designed to effectuate the safety goal by having a lower center of gravity and lessening the height of the superstructure. Although the Elling has high appeal to the sailboat crowd crossing over to the dark side, many powerboaters like the feel of flybridge cruising. The easy opening sunroof typically seen on express cruisers offers the practical compromise. The watertight pilothouse offers plenty of light without the sunroof retracted by way of double glazed windows with opening windows forward center and aft.
  16. With the turn of a button, the pneumatic seal is released and a second turn electrically slides the sunroof forward. This flybridge alternative succeeds in delighting the helmsman and guests with fresh air, sunshine, and the outdoor boating feel without the impediments of stair climbing, cumbersome bimini top, nor the weight and height of an upper deck and its supplemental gear.
  17. Entry into the lower salon is a change in atmospherics more than the 4 step ingress presents. Not only does the ambiance transition from informal to formal, but the interior purview is one of spaciousness further heightened by the 6’3” headroom. Elegance abounds with the finely crafted woodwork combined with the old-world feel of a sailboat. The high gloss cherry veneers with ultra-varnished trim offer a richness that is intensified by the capaciousness. Exceptional cabinetry and quality workmanship display the Dutch pedigree. A large curved settee with ergonomically designed seating to starboard offers full dining at the beautifully lacquered table. The two tucked-under cushioned stools bring the seating count to dinner for eight. Two large upholstered barrel chairs are to port flanking the flat screen retractable TV and entertainment system. Stowage is supplied by surrounding cabinets, underneath seating, and humongous holds beneath sole hatches. Opening portlights and dimmable lighting allow for personalized ambience. Forward portside hidden behind an elegant curved door is a large day/guest head with full height standup glass enclosed shower. This formal salon serves as a private entertainment area, a seclusion from window peepers when marina docked. The practical and easy to maneuver below deck puts the Elegance in Elling.
  18. Continuing with the sailboat layout motif, the galley is on the port side amidships, aft of the salon and one step down. This layout is commonly seen on sailboats but is beautifully executed on this mostly same level living quarters. With safety as an underscore, the galley can be easily navigated in high seas with the chef being securely surrounded by waist high counters and easy edges and fiddles to grab for steadying. The 6 foot 3 inch headroom helps to diminish the claustrophobic feel similar sailboat galleys would present. The appliances are on the outboard side including the Siemens 4 zone ceramic cooktop stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, and microwave/convection oven. Easy to reach cabinets hold a surprising quantity of staples. Opening ports allow for fresh air ventilation with a long storage shelf beneath that calls for spice bottle stowage or perhaps even potted fresh herbs. Plenty of workspace on the Corian countertops, especially on the inboard side. The only thing lacking in the galley is sufficient cold storage space for long range passagemaking; one might consider substituting the dishwasher for an additional freezer or utilizing the allocated space for a second refrigerator in the pilothouse or in the aft deck seating.
  19. The inboard side of the galley offers the washer/dryer, cabinets, large pantry, and Corian countertop workspace. And it encases the engine room. In the heaven forbid event of needing to remove an engine, just break the caulk seal, lift off the countertop and cabinets and haul up the engine through the removable settee in the pilothouse. Not that this has ever been done, but it’s the beat Murphy plan of thinking ahead. The brilliance of the engine in this location is that it keeps it at the lowest amidships and centerline point of the vessel. The large panel easily lifts off with the twist of four screws giving full access to the outboard side of the engine. There are 3 additional panels easily removed for full-round engine and equipment access.
  20. The charm and gracefulness is carried through to the master cabin. The centerline queen bed is quite comfy being supported with an elasticized slat system of mattress supports. Access to the water tank and stern thruster (with its designated battery and charger) is via a hinged bedbase. A floor hatch gives fast and easy access to the Aquamet shaft and seals. One of the handy-dandy removable panels for engine access is forward.
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