|Engines||Cummins QSB6.7, 480 hp|
|Base Price||$779,284 (delivered to West Coast); $945,000 (as tested w/nearly all options)|
|Kevlar-reinforced hull, 400-gal. fuel tank, bow thruster, wine cellar, scratch-proof floors, 4-burner cooktop, double-door refrigerator/freezer, microwave, electric toilets, Corian countertops and much more.|
|Engines from various manufacturers from 190 hp to 480 hp, extra 100-gal. fuel tank, central heating, under-floor heat in deckhouse and much more.|
|Neptune Marine Shipbuilding, Netherlands; elling-yachting.com|
|West Coast Dealer|
|Heritage Yacht Sales; heritageyachts.com
Long Beach, Calif.; (866) 569-2248
Newport Beach, Calif.; (877) 389-2248
San Diego; (866) 396-7923
LA Harbor; (310) 549-2248
Posted: February 1, 2014 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
Safety first. Everything else first, too.It’s a humbling feeling to arrive for a sea trial and know there’s nothing you can do to the boat you are testing that will push it any further than it — or its brethren — has been pushed before. Such was the case as I approached the Elling E4 at the Heritage Yacht Sales docks in Long Beach, Calif. Not that we typically try to push a boat past its limits during sea trials, but it’s nice to know we might be able to make it sweat.
See, back in 2008, three Elling E4s left La Palma in the Canary Islands and arrived in St. Martin in the Caribbean 16 days later, so our excursion into the choppy Pacific Ocean wasn’t going to scare the E4. The boats carried an extra 250 gallons of fuel in barrels on the aft deck to complete the crossing, but they did it without incident and proved their mettle — and here I was going from hard left to hard right.
I had the privilege of putting the yacht through its paces with the director of Elling (and Neptune Marine Shipbuilding), Anton L. van den Bos, an enthusiastic spokesman, captain and tour guide. The helm features a Raymarine-filled dash, including a HybridTouch multifunction display, two ST60 displays, a VHF and an ST 8002 autopilot. Our test boat has the Cummins QSB6.7 with 480 hp. We ran the E4 at 7.5 knots, where it gets roughly 4 mpg and its range is about 1,500 n.m., and hit a top speed of 18.2 knots, where its range is roughly 300 n.m. while it burns 23.9 gph. In between, we burned 10.4 gph at 11 knots and 16.2 gph at 14.5 knots. At a 16-knot cruise speed, the E4’s range is roughly 400 n.m., and you can run the main tank empty, because the yacht has a 30 hp auxiliary engine with its own fuel tank and rudder that can run the vessel at 5.5 knots.
At full speed, hard-over turns were completed in a fun, tight, 1½-boat-length circle, and pulling the wheel hard in the other direction didn’t cause the yacht any undue stress. There was no shuddering or shaking, and the horizon line stayed level. Not that you would have cause for hard-over turns at full speed in many instances, but it’s nice to know the yacht is capable.
Owners Will Love
Time at sea is always more enjoyable when you feel safe, especially with the family, and the folks at Elling know this and have taken steps to address it. For openers, the E4 and its smaller sibling, the E3, are built to the CE Category A standard, meaning they are oceangoing-capable. The inside of the hull is reinforced with Kevlar, so any foreign body trying to punch through the hull should be stopped before causing a puncture. On the outside, a high stainless steel railing runs from the bow to the stern, to keep everyone aboard, even in high seas. The railing even comes across the back as far as the stern settee.
Van den Bos also pointed to the spare engine as a safety feature that should put owners’ minds at ease. The top-end speed of 18-plus knots with the main engine is a nice-to-have feature until weather or other circumstances dictate a quick exit, at which time it is a must-have attribute.
A laminate floor might not seem like something most owners would love, but the version in the E4 looks like a teak-and-holly sole, and it comes with the advantage of being scratch-proof and maintenance-free. It extends from the stairs to the salon and through the galley.
While the E4 is a proven ocean-crosser, its dayboat bona fides are difficult to ignore. Its raised cockpit — you board via the swim platform and climb five steps — has a transom settee with room for four and a second rear-facing settee against the wheelhouse bulkhead with room for two more. Another passenger or two can sit on a starboard bench that folds against the railing when not in use, and there’s still room for a deck chair or two.
Inside the wheelhouse is a four- or five-person dinette settee to port, opposite the captain’s chair — which is a trucker-type chair that absorbs shock and adjusts to the captain’s weight — and helm. With the door and aft window open, cockpit and wheelhouse denizens can be part of the same conversation for dayboating bliss.
Belowdecks, the salon provides another space for together time. Four people fit easily on the semicircular settee to starboard, complete with an elliptical wood table. Two chairs are across from the settee flanking the cabinet that houses the high-low TV. Two stools hide away and can be brought out to accommodate two more revelers. Cherry wood, high gloss on our test boat, graces the belowdecks spaces.
Owners have choices when it comes to equipping the yacht for sleeping. Full capacity is six people in three staterooms; reduced capacity is five people in two staterooms and an office/berth. The owner’s stateroom is a private retreat aft, under the wheelhouse and cockpit, with an en suite head. The queen berth can be situated against the aft bulkhead with the foot forward, or it can run athwartships, which moves the three-piece head from starboard to port. Forward is the second stateroom. Owners can choose to have two single beds in a V configuration or one double bed along one bulkhead, which leaves room for a bureau and a chair. The third stateroom can be equipped with two bunks, or it can be an office, the desk of which converts to a berth. A second head with a full standup shower stall serves the second and third staterooms and as the day head.
Former sailors are a target market for Elling, according to van den Bos. They appreciate the slow-speed efficiency of the E Series (and, while they might not admit it, the 18-knot potential) and the quiet operation, and in profile the superstructure even resembles a sailboat, though it’s atop a hull with much higher freeboard. Thankfully, belowdecks on an Elling isn’t as dark as on a sailboat, thanks to nine opening portholes, natural light from the overhanging windshield and a large hatch in the aft bulkhead of the master. The wheelhouse has windows all around, so even on overcast days it is well lit, and an electric opening sunroof in the hardtop brings air and light into the boat.
Elling went to great lengths to ensure the E4 serves as a solid multipurpose yacht. Since the builder is European and most of the early builds went to European clients, there is a feature U.S. buyers might not expect. The aft section of the hardtop — the section with the radar mast and any antennae — actually folds down to reduce the yacht’s clearance to less than 12 feet, which is something East Coast buyers might appreciate more than those on the West Coast.
A couple of other cruise-worthy features have to do with the floor. The soles in both heads are heated, for those chilly Southern California mornings or wintertime PNW cruising. Also, owners can choose to have the wheelhouse sole heated. Nice.
Even on a yacht that utilizes its space as well as the E4, storage for items such as wine can be in short supply. So the Elling designers did what had to be done: They created a wine cellar under the galley sole. Admit it, you’re happy about that.
Might Surprise You
The lack of a flybridge might make some people look at the E4 with a wary eye, but anyone worried about visibility would be surprised. Given the yacht’s high freeboard, the wheelhouse delivers a commanding view all around for the captain, with the immediate aft view being the only possible exception. But, you can add an optional rear-facing camera on the stern to complete your field of view. More of the safety-first attitude coming forward.
While some of the safety features of the Elling E4 may seem like overkill if you’re going to be cruising along the coast or through the inland waterways of the U.S. East Coast, you won’t be thinking that if you’re hundreds of miles away from the nearest landfall. In fact, you’ll probably be thinking, “Goed idée,” which is Dutch for “good idea” (according to Google, anyway).