Right from the start, Luke Durman and Tom Barry-Cotter, the founders of Elandra Yachts, had a very specific vision for their brand: "We recognised a niche in the local market for a dedicated sports boat manufacturer that offered a product that was the best of British and European styling and fit-out, but with all the performance attributes of an Australian-built boat," explained Durman.
The design and layout of the Elandra 53 is a collaboration of ideas and thoughts between Durman, Barry-Cotter, and Kiwi designer, Grant Senior. The result was designed and built in a small factory on the Gold Coast, over a two-year period.
"We wanted a name that is quintessentially Australian," said Durman. "Elandra stood out and its general translation from the indigenous language as 'home by the sea' has a beautiful connection with our vision.
"We also needed to celebrate the trans-Tasman make-up of our team. Senior and Bill Cranston both hail from the Land of the Long White Cloud and they are vital to the development of Elandra, so the logo incorporates a subtle New Zealand Maori fish scale pattern."
Certain aspects of the new craft give the brand points of difference over many of its competitors. For example, there's the 10-year hull warranty, four-year limited warranty on workmanship, a level of customisation normally seen only with high-cost custom boat builders and, more especially, a revolutionary Kevlar-reinforced hull design that delivers impressive performance and fuel economy.
Hull designer Senior says he has come up with a design for maximum efficiency that incorporates a fine entry, with a convex-shape, variable deadrise running to the transom, and a wide beam of 5.25m that runs parallel chines from forward of the centreline to the transom. Double reverse chines help lift the boat out of the hole under acceleration and deflect spray at speed.
"The convex shape and width at the transom help with stability and mean we can carry the weight of engine options, jet tenders, watermakers and other equipment around the stern area without affecting performance," explained Senior. It is especially efficient in the 20-25 knot (37-46km/h) range.
Power for the first boat is provided by a pair of MAN R6-800 six-cylinder, 800hp turbo-diesel engines.
"This package sets the boat up for exceptional performance all the way from 18 to 30 knots (33 to 56km/h)," said Senior, adding that the Elandra is as high as 16 per cent more fuel-efficient than rival boats of the same size.
During my sea trials off the Gold Coast in reasonably confused 2m short seas and inside on the calmer waters of the Broadwater, the Elandra 53 performed outstandingly and achieving 30 knots (56km/h) was not an issue. Top speed is a tad over 35 knots (65km/h) at 2350rpm, with an optimum cruise range of 1500-1700rpm at 21-23 knots (39-43km/h).
The big boat loved the following sea and I found I was running at 30 knots coming back into the seaway. Punching into the swells, I still managed to maintain a comfortable 20 knots. ItÂ achieved plane with ease at 12 knots (22km/h).
Being something of a bespoke builder, Elandra Yachts is offering a variety of layout options for the 53. Boat number one has been created with a traditional open plan feel but, according to Durman, there is virtually no limit to layout options.
With a beam of 5.25m, the Elandra 53 is one of the beamiest in its class and the benefit is obvious inside. It also incorporates the extra real estate for the walkaround side decks, without compromising internal spaces.
Her styling is sleek, contemporary and elegant. A wraparound curved glass windscreen complements the panoramic hull side windows that bathe the master stateroom in natural light. Elliptical windows forward provide natural light for the VIP guest stateroom.
"We have embraced the single-level entertainment concept, from our exceptionally spacious cockpit through glass bi-fold doors to the convertible saloon lounge/dinette and galley," said Durman.
Stepping onboard, the teak-covered swimplatform includes an electric lift centre section and a concealed swimladder on the port side.
The garage is designed for a 2.8m jet tender and includes a comprehensive launch and retrieval system, while the cockpit is an expansive area designed for entertaining.
A forward-facing lounge across the transom is serviced by a teak table that can convert from dining to a coffee table to an extended sunpad.
Hatches in the cockpit floor conceal large lazarettes and a third hatch forward leads down to the engine room.
The extremely spacious engine room is encased in Rockwell insulation for noise supression. I found the boat to be very quiet when running at high speed on the Broadwater.
An outdoor galley console on the starboard side includes an electric barbecue and teppanyaki grill, a sink with mixer tap, with an icemaker and storage locker below. There is even more storage in the cockpit, with lockers on either side of the aft cockpit coaming and another locker built into the forward port-side pillars.
The secure teak-covered side decks lead forward, where a sunbed awaits on the foredeck.
The 35kg stainless steel anchor is controlled by a heavy-duty Maxwell windlass and an anchor locker, with twin hatches containing 80m of chain and another 100m of rode.
Back in the cockpit, darkened glass tri-fold doors slide open to reveal the indoor-outdoor design of the boat, with the single-level design flowing almost seamlessly from the cockpit to the saloon.
The large saloon is divided by two steps into lower and upper levels. The lower saloon includes the galley and dinette, while the upper area accommodates yet another L-shaped lounge and the helm. The skipper and guests can enjoy the journey together in comfort and style, with panoramic views through the wide windscreen and side windows.
The entire area is bathed in natural light from panoramic wraparound windows as well as an integrated custom-made Webasto Series 80 panoramic electric sunroof.
With the saloon doors opened, the fully equipped L-shaped galley on the starboard side is completely exposed to the entertainer cockpit.
The dinette is furnished with an L-shaped lounge in Ultraleather and a timber dinette table on an up-down pedestal.
All cabinetry in the galley - and throughout the boat - is in American walnut, while wall and headliners are vinyl fabric.
The L-shaped lounge on the port side affords great visibility through the large side and forward windows. The helm is set on the starboard side, with a large opening window and twin 360-degree adjustable Stidd helm chairs. Both the skipper and companion seats face a sports steering wheel and the leather dashboard, with a full complement of controls, including joystick, thruster and engine controls as well as a suite of navigation aids.
A central companionway leads forward and down to the accommodation suite, comprising three cabins and two bathrooms. Forward, the guest stateroom is surprisingly spacious, with a queen double bed set at a 45-degree angle. Two elliptical windows in the hull and a hatch in the ceiling provide ample natural light.
A twin-bunk cabin on the starboard side also contains the optional clothes washer and separate dryer. These two cabins share the guest bathroom, with its separate shower stall, electric toilet and vanity.
Amidships, the full-beam master includes a queen double bed, a day bed/lounge on the starboard side, a cavernous studio wardrobe with full-length mirror and an integral en suite on the port side with twin-tap vanity basin, private toilet and private shower.
The Elandra 53 unquestionably ticks all the boxes, from the fit-out and finish to the hull design and efficiency and will appeal to the discerning boat owner who knows what they want. It would be hard to find a production monohull of this size anywhere that could match it for performance and efficiency, which, when coupled to styling and overall presentation, makes the Elandra 53 a very special Australian-built boat.
The builders don't have plans to mass produce the Elandra - rather, they plan to remain a boutique brand with every boat customised to the owner's requirements.
Look for a considerably larger Elandra in the future and possibly also a sports flybridge.
SPECIFICATIONS: ELANDRA 53
Displacement (loaded): 23,600kgs (approx.)
Max speed: 35 knots (65km/h)
Fuel capacity: 3000lt
Water capacity: 1000lt
Engines: 2 x MAN R6-800hp
Base price: $1,797,000
Price as tested: $1,867,128
For more information, contact Luke Durman, 0414 276 765 or firstname.lastname@example.org.