Elan Marine is the modern incarnation of a Slovenian company that in 1949 began producing cold-molded wood rowboats and canoes. Today, it employs up-to-date resin-infusion technology to build a successful line of cruiser/racers designed by Rob Hum-phreys. Last year, Elan introduced its Impression series by Humphreys, emphasizing a tilt toward cruising.
Stylish in looks, the Impression 384 has a lozenge-shaped raised-saloon profile that sweeps aft, unbroken, into the cockpit coamings, which then taper to the deck behind the helm seat. In the cockpit's forward end, this creates deep, protected seats. Corner pulpits on the quarters are joined across the stern by lifelines that can be dropped for transom-platform access.
In 15 to 20 knots with puffs over 20 last October, the 384 hit 7 knots upwind and reached at nearly 8. We enjoyed the speed, but we needed to sail the boat on its feet to keep it in the groove. In the gusty conditions, we should've reduced sail sooner: In one large blast, the rudder stalled, and we rounded into a tack. Rolling up the main and headsail incrementally then restored reasonable balance.
Humphreys has subsequently consulted with Elan to eliminate an unintended gap between the rudder and hull to give the rudder increased power. Elan's U.S. rep, Ted Novakowski, has also re-led the traveler controls aft of the dodger for easier access.
Belowdecks, we found the boat's accommodations pleasing. The vertical stainless-steel grabrails on either side of the companionway provide solid support. The ladder is steep, though not awkwardly so, and its laminated-wood treads cant up at their ends to create positive footing when the boat is heeled. For access to the 40-horsepower diesel, the hinged ladder swings up easily. At its foot, a well-placed centerline counter unit provides a way station, and it also creates a shallow U in the compact galley, which is to port, offering the cook a place to brace one cheek while at work.
Opposite the galley on the two-stateroom boat we tested is a generous head compartment containing a large stall shower. A small nav desk forward of the head is within the conversation zone of the saloon, which situates the dinette to port and the settee to starboard. The saloon basks under 6-foot-10-inch headroom, with plenty of natural light entering through deadlights in the cabin sides and the overhead.
Aft of the galley is a stateroom with a queen-size quarter berth and adequate standing headroom and stowage. Forward of the saloon, the second stateroom has a full-size alongside berth as wide at the foot as at the head. Storage is provided by shelves along the hull, lockers forward of the berth, and a hanging locker aft. Small fiddles around work surfaces could be upgraded for distance cruising.
In sum, this layout is a very workable solution for two-couple cruising, and it has several neat details, such as blinds recessed into the cabin-trunk liner beneath the cat's-eye deadlights and the well-insulated, spring-supported lid on the top-loading fridge.
Jeremy McGeary is a Cruising World contributing editor.
ELAN IMPRESSION 384
LOA 37' 11" (11.56 m.)
LWL 32' 10" (10.01 m.)
Beam 12' 10" (3.91 m.)
Draft (deep/shoal) 5' 11"/4' 11" (1.80/1.50 m.)
Sail Area (100%) 634 sq. ft. (58.9 sq. m.)
Displacement 16,750 lb. (7,598 kg.)
Water 63 gal. (239 l.)
Fuel 48 gal. (182 l.)
Engine 40-hp. Volvo
Designer Rob Humphreys
Sailaway Price $225,262
Sound Yachts LLC