About 20 years ago, I ran a sea trial on one of the first Ellings and remember being disappointed to see that on a six-berth yacht there was only one head. Elling has come a long way since those days. Although the new Elling E6 still has six berths, there are now three en suite heads—one for each double cabin. Ellings have also grown in size, with the latest yacht crossing the line at 65 feet, and are built to include all the luxury and much of the seaworthiness that you would associate with a yacht of this size.
Boat owners that are more showmen rather than seamen may not be instantly drawn to the E6, but real cruising boaters won’t be let down by her abilities. Here you find a beautiful marriage of traditional and modern, a well-proportioned style that will have persistent appeal and not date quickly. The Dutch always have had a sensible approach to yacht design, placing fashion some way down the list of priorities. There is a certain eau de pilot boat about the E6 at first glance and her lines and looks echo her extreme seaworthiness.
What a pity that the weather did not cooperate and allow a sea trial in rough conditions. Elling has endowed the E6 with transatlantic range and, much like its younger sibling E4, they have also made it self-righting in the event of a capsize. There should be few worries if you are out on a bluewater passage aboard an Elling. However, in order to avoid such a scenario, each E6 is equipped with Seakeeper gyro stabilization to reduce the rolling in open seas.
The fine entry at the waterline rises with a flare at the bow to deflect water, and a widening chine helps with the transition from the near vertical entry at the waterline to wider sections moving aft. Like Ellings of the past, the E6 employs a semi-displacement hull. Elling designs their yachts with a hook built into the hull at the stern to reduce the change of trim common to beamy displacement hulls. What this translates to is that as speed rises, the stern doesn’t squat down, thereby reducing wave-making drag. Spray, which also can be an unfortunate side-effect of displacement hulls, is kept under control by her chine and fine entry. The change in trim coming up onto the plane is minimal, with a small rise before she levels off at around 15 knots. At the top speed of 21 knots the E6 appears to be operating well within its capabilities and there is a wonderfully reassuring feel about the whole performance. I fell in love with how responsive this boat is underway and would jump at the chance to run her in rough seas.
One small criticism is that the wheel needs four turns lock-to-lock, which can seem like a long gap when maneuvering in tight marinas. To help aid captains in tight places, though, Elling has equipped the E6 with powerful bow and stern thrusters. You can place this large boat within inches when coming alongside and that is with a single engine.
The E6 has a low profile and low air draft, especially if you specify the optional mast-lowering system, which allows inland waterway transits. There are no large windows in the topsides as modern styling seems to dictate, just a row of oval ports and the rubbing strips are faced with stainless steel. I do worry about the anchor and its support at the bow, though. This overhangs by about 3 feet, which might help to keep the chain clear of the bow but could cost you in extra slip charges if they are based on maximum length.
At the stern, the stairs leading down to the swim platform are very exposed and have no hand rail, which seems odd because it could compromise the safety of crew descending to the platform to gain access to the machinery space on one side or the crew’s quarters opposite. Fortunately this wouldn’t be a difficult fix. Access to the garage and the 12-foot Williams Jet tender is via a central transom door. The slipway eases launching and retrieval.
For sitting out in the sun there is the choice between the cockpit aft and a small settee let into the forward part of the coachroof. Neither offers sun protection, but I am sure that at least some form of screening will be offered for the cockpit, or added on after the fact. After all this was the prototype E6 which had only been completed just five days before our sea trial.
Additional Elling Photos
The interior design focuses on the saloon, and what a wonderful job they have done. Large windows all round give a great view of the outside and, more important, there is a 360° view from the starboard-side helm. Here there are two sprung seats facing an impressive dash dominated by two large Raymarine displays with a mass of smaller displays on the lower dash. The array of switches is impressive, but my preference would have been to give priority to more important switches, such as the wipers and the windlass control, and have them on the bottom row in the array, closest to the captain.
Another possible problem with the helm is that there is no communication possible to anyone on the foredeck unless you have the center window in the windscreen open. Aft, the sliding window next to the entry door can be opened with electric power and there is a large sliding roof section that can be opened if you want fresh air or a view of the stars at night.
The L-shape settee opposite the helm is a great place for guests to lounge or chat. Additional seating located aft has a curved settee and table facing a deployable TV screen and two individual seats, one each side of the screen. A wine cooler in the after corner keeps the drinks ready at hand in the evenings for either the saloon or the cockpit.
Head belowdecks and you enter a world of high-gloss cherry panelling. The lower area is laid out in the same way as the saloon above, but the table is larger and more suitable for dining. The chef’s galley is close by in what is a wide passageway to the after cabin. Generous white worktops are on both sides inlaid with the electric cooktop and the sink. The oven is a hands-and-knees job below the cooktop and there is a large fridge/freezer and a dishwasher. The washer/dryer is also hidden away here.
Continue aft and you enter the secluded, private master cabin, which has excellent storage and a sensible head. Cherry dominates the decor and makes the master stateroom a bit dark during the day because the small portholes don’t provide a lot of natural light. The same applies to the other cabins.
The forward double is much the same as the one aft but the head has two doors and so also serves as the day head. The third cabin is alongside the engine compartment opposite the galley and has access from the saloon. Here, there are two bunks and a compact head and Elling offers this compartment as an office.
The whole yacht, especially the accommodations, is surprisingly quiet and vibration-free, considering that the living spaces are virtually wrapped around the central engine. Expensive sound proofing and a five blade propeller are the answer. Removing a panel in the inboard galley cabinets gives access to the engine room. This panel allows you to reach all the routine service points, but for anything more ambitious you need to lift the deck in the saloon where the engine space lines up with the sunroof allowing reasonably simple engine removal. A panel in the floor of the master cabin gives access to the shaft and stern gland.
Elling offers a long list of optional items to buyers, allowing each to develop the design to meet their personal requirements. For me, the acid test for noise is whether you can have a normal conversation in the seating areas of a yacht. For the E6 this is definitely the case and your drinks do not seem to get shaken. There is very little hull noise and Elling attributes this to the use of Kevlar in the hull’s construction. The company also claims that it will not get holed if you run aground. Together with the self-righting capability, Elling must think its clients like heading out in the worst conditions and the most dangerous waters around.
All in all, Elling has done a wonderful job with the design and build of the E6.