Aboard the new Impression 35: the maxi-ship with real cruise spaces

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photoPortorož – 9.99 meters. Vessel category. That is, no boat license and no registration to drive the newborn in the Slovenian shipyard’s Impression range, theElan Impression 354. But don’t be fooled by the not even ten meters in length, because once you step aboard you will feel like you are sailing on a boat of at least 35 or 36 feet, especially because of the spaces carved out below deck, perfect for cruising. That was my impression when I got on the boat to try out the new hull in the waters of Portorož in Slovenia: large spaces and a pleasant splash of color: the blaze orange double wheelhouse. The hull lines were drawn by now “in-house designer” Rob Humprheys, who is able to shape his racing pencil to draw lines that ensure good pace for cruising boats as well. The new Elan Impression 354 confirms this chameleonic ability of the British naval architect. The new concept of this boat can be summed up in two words: maxi-boat semi-deck, that is, a hull under ten meters with both exterior and interior spaces proper to larger boats, thanks to the deck saloon structure.

photo2THE DECK AND THE HULL
Access to the boat’s cockpit, on this model, is via a stern platform that closes at step level, but two other versions are also available, one without a swim platform and the other with a larger platform that goes to completely close the transom. Access aboard is easy thanks to the generous space between the two standard wheelhouses, leading to a cockpit that is also livable with the center table (supplied as an option) posed between two side benches capable of seating up to six people. Also in the stern we find the split backstay and two fixed L-shaped benches for the helmsman’s seat. The lockers in the cockpit, on the other hand, have a small capacity (but enough to accommodate the raft) to leave more space below deck for the aft cabins. The hull I tested was ready to start the charter season and for this equipped with bimini (consisting of two pieces) and spryhood: both structures, equipped with a stable and areodynamic structure, however, seemed slightly low for passage. An interesting solution, however, was found for the bimini whose support points on the hull are adjustable via a trolley. On deck there are four black flush-mounted hatches, two skylights and two large windows on the deckhouse. The rigging includes a mast with quartered spreaders, full batten mainsail, a high-overlap genoa (perhaps too much, because in sailing the genoa was a bit oversized), and a gennaker to be rigged on a reactive bowsprit. The sheet circuit is fixed on the deckhouse and, like the other rigging, sent back to the keypad located to the left of the entrance below deck, while the genoa sheets are sent back on two winches within reach of the helmsman. The standard version has an L-shaped keel that fishes 1.90 meters

THE INTERIOR.
What makes the difference below deck are undoubtedly the generous spaces created on two levels thanks to the deck saloon solution which allows for greater height, proper brightness, three large cabins and a bathroom to accommodate up to nine people thanks to the fold-down table in the center of the saloon that forms, together with the port broadside, a double bed and the starboard sofa that can be used as an additional berth ( a two-cabin version is also available with a bathroom equipped with a real shower stall and capable of accommodating up to seven people). A super-equipped L-shaped galley with a front-opening refrigerator is located in the saloon; the tilting chart table, on the other hand, is concealed in the center of the sofa on the starboard broadside.

IN NAVIGATION.
An ideal cruising boat is a hull that can forgive any crew mistakes, and the Elan Impression 354 succeeds well in this mission. At the helm, I notice how the boat, although it does not gain speed immediately, when it picks up the pace it maintains it in a stable and light handling manner. Sailing upwind in an apparent wind of 14 knots, the boat was traveling at an average of 4.2 knots, which under gusts became 6.5 at an angle, always apparent, of 30 degrees. Leaning to take her sideways, the speed was around 5.8 knots, and with a 120-degree angle, with white sails, no asymmetric, we kept a good pace at 4.8 knots. Returning toward the harbor by motor, I have a chance to test its performance: 5.3 knots at 1,500 rpm, 6.7 at 2,000 and 7.5 at 2,500 rpm.


TECHNICAL DATA SHEET.

Length. 9,99 m
Larg. 3,49 m
Pesc. 1,90 m
Sup. vel. 58.05 square meters
Engine: Volvo 30 hp Turbo

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