Elan in motion

Refined and forgiving, Elan’s new flagship the Elan GT6 has harnessed the power of Porsche design to better enjoy the cruising experience.

Written by Sails Editor Scott Alle

19 December 2022


There’s a strange anomaly when it comes to testing sailing yachts. More often than not when the day rolls around the breeze is less than optimal.

I therefore stepped aboard the Elan GT6 at Darling Harbour with a higher than usual degree of anticipation as a solid 15 kts of southerly to south-easterly breeze registered on the dial. I’d also being looking forward to hoisting sail (via the push button Harken cockpit winches), on Elan’s stylish new flagship since its release in July 2020.

By the end of the day, including a mile or two offshore in that particularly unwelcoming slab-sided swell the Tasman generates off Sydney Heads, I wasn’t dis-appointed.

The Elan GT6 makes an immediate positive dockside impression. This is a big boat – over 15 metres (49-feet 8-inches), high freeboard with a beam of nearly 4.5 metres and weighing in at 14 tonnes, but it all looks and feels in proportion.


An expansive flush foredeck of synthetic teak extends from the fixed carbon-fibre bowsprit to the distinctive wraparound coach house windows. The deck saloon configuration creates enormous internal volume though doesn’t detract from the GT6’s lines.

The cockpit is one of the better ergonomic arrangements I’ve seen. Like a lot of new production designs all lines lead back to just forward of the helm but in the case of the Elan GT6 there are inspection hatches over each turning block so any tangles or repairs are easy to access.

The genoa sheets run to conventional tracks on the side decks that have added protection of a raised toe-rail.

With the mainsheet track on the coach roof the cockpit becomes an enticing dedicated lounging/relaxation space separated from the sailing area, complete with nicely finished twin teak veneer tables that can fold out to one large table comfortably seating eight.

On this boat the owner sensibly opted for a grill and fridge in each of helm seats. When you are tucked away at a secluded beach or anchorage you then have a swish outdoor galley quickly set-up and accessed by lowering the generous swim platform.

According to the marketing blurbs just about every production cruiser these days can be “easily handled short-handed or by a couple”. On boats above 50 feet, however, this is definitely questionable, depending on the experience of the couple in question.

For the purposes of this outing Ed Penn, the General Manager of Performance Cruising Yachts, the dealer for Elan Yachts in Australia, and I were the couple as it was.

Fortunately, Ed is a very competent sailor who put a tuck quickly in the One Sails triradial main via the single line reefing system. We unfurled the jib and in 16 to 18 knots of typical phasing Sydney Harbour breeze and at a true wind angle of 60 degrees the boat smoothly accelerated to just over nine knots, the Humphreys designed hull displaying impeccable manners.

The helm was light for a boat of its size and the deep twin rudders ensured the GT6 tracked well, resisting my efforts to press it and force a round-up.

That feeling of security was only reinforced when we poked out the Heads and into the Tasman. Anyone who ventures out here regularly knows a couple of peaky two-metre waves at an awkward angle can signal an unpleasant re-arranging of the crockery downstairs.

But Elan’s  vacuum-infused hull with all bulkheads and the keel grid fully glassed into the hull didn’t yield a single squeak or creak. That hull integrity is backed-up in the deck which is cored with closed-cell foam set up in a polyester laminate with a vinylester skin outside to resist osmosis. It all adds up to a stiff boat that is more than capable of extended blue water passage-making and cruising.

While it doesn’t feel underpowered I would expand the GT6’s sail wardrobe to include the factory options of an asymetric gennaker with integrated furling system and a Code 0 to improve performance in light airs. In the 10 to 20 knots we were out in the factory supplied jib and main were well-suited to the rig.

On the way back to the dock I took over the pit duties, the main dropped swiftly back in the boom bag guided by lazy jacks, while the jib came in easily on its Furlex belowdeck roller-furler. The 75hp Volvo Penta engine (an upgrade from the standard 60hp), was notably quiet and fuss free.

The breeze, which had powered us up the Harbour was now blowing us off our fairly tight berth but Ed adroitly manoeuvred us in using the bowthruster. The German made Nauti Sattler bimini that we had earlier folded down to get a better view forward, was now re-erected in a under a minute – something that I’ve seen take a lot longer on other boats. In all the two of us managed to wrangle the Elan GT6 in decent breeze and offshore then back to the dock without a single issue. A big tick I would suggest for its short-handed credentials.

The GT6’s appealing exterior aesthetics, with a subtle emphasis on fluid lines and curvature is the outcome of a collaboration with Studio F.A. Porsche, the iconic auto brand’s Austrian design affiliate.

There are more stylistic cues in the GT6’s interior, the light oak trim with its horizontal matching grain, smooth inner mouldings, while spotlights and indirect lighting creates a warm, elegant ambience.

I especially like the convertible nav table solution; pull the backrest over and the whole seat flips over to become the chart table, without any cushions needing to be rearranged.

The galley offers other clever design features. A coffee machine or microwave emerges out of the galley bench, while the layout itself across the beam of the boat or athwartships means it’s located in the most stable part of the hull, minimising roll. The appliances, a three-burner stove, an Isotherm fridge and freezer, and additional fridge-freezer are all high quality. There’s an abundance of storage for substantial periods away from port.

There’s also some impressive engineering in the SiMarine touchscreen display, which sits within a brushed aluminium switchboard and provides intuitive monitoring of all the yacht’s main systems, including programmable presets.

One perceived shortcoming in the saloon is the lack of handholds, possibly due to its chief appeal to Med buyers. Ed says this is easily addressed by installation by the factory or during the commissioning process.

The GT6 comes as a standard two-cabin version but this boat was the optional three cabin two-head version. Either way the master cabin in the bow benefits from an ample 1.82-metre headroom with a semi walk-around island double berth, ensuite head and separate shower space. The twin aft cabins had plenty of head clearance and the option in port one of being able to sleep transversely, a bonus for the tropics when you want to utilise any cross-ventilation.

The Elan GT6 occupies its own niche in the market, offering an extra level of refinement and distinctive design that is seamlessly integrated into the entire boat, ensuring you enjoy not only where you are going but how you get there.

Priced from AU$878,000, which includes all transport, taxes and commissioning.



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