Doral Elegante 376 March 2007 Boat News, Review & Advice

22 мая 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Doral 32 Prestancia

Doral Elegante 376 (March 2007)

Geared for entertaining, Doral’s Elegante 376 also appeals as an overnighter. Simply, it’s an aptly-named vessel that won’t baulk at the prospect of a long time at sea

Someone at the Canadian headquarters of boatbuilder Doral must know that sportscruisers aren’t used as overnighters anywhere near as often as they are for entertaining. How else can you explain the amazingly accommodating uni-level cockpit with surrounding seats for more than a dozen and two outdoor tables on the Elegante 376? We’re talking lunch settings par excellence.

To which you need to consider the interior layout without the usual pre-made permanent berth in the bow, but continuous lounges tracing the saloon around another two tables. That’s four entertaining areas in total! Thus, should the weather turn turtle or you want more intimacy the whole gang can head below for fine dining on the aptly named Elegante. Needless to day, the good days are for dining on deck. There is a lot that distinguishes the Doral from other run-of-the-mill sportscruisers – things like the boarding platform, which is so big that it rates as a waterfront balcony; the European finish with stainless steel tread steps in the cockpit to designer fabrics inside; the hull, which is built to CE Category B (force eight seas) and NMMA standards.

Though it is yet another sportscruiser sporting Volvo Penta power – very much the engines of the moment – the Elegante was fitted with the latest freshwater-cooled Ocean Series 5.7 OSXi-XDP 320hp petrol motors with composite sterndrive legs and the NeutraSalt push-button flushing system. In fact, in most respects, this Doral had the latest of everything.

CONSTRUCTION

Beginning as a small-boat builder in the early 70s, Doral was soon owned by French yachting giant Jeanneau before Erwin Zecha bought the company in 1996. Since then, Doral has taken a different direction, blending European styling with a huge standard inventory that goes beyond what’s provided by most American yards. While the Canadian company still builds sportsboats and small performance craft, it’s the express cruisers such as this Elegante 376, which is really a 33-footer sans its huge boarding platform, and the sportyachts to 45ft that best represent the different Doral thinking.

Speaking of which, to the hull form…

The variable deadrise from 18 to 14 degrees at the transom hasn’t as much to do with producing a smooth ride as the fine forward sections and, moreover, the build quality. Doral uses the so-called CoreGuard system to produce a keel-to-gunwale, handlaid, balsa-cored composite boat, with what it calls Next Generation through-bolted hull and deck assembly.

The end result is a truly monocoque boat, backed by 10-year warranties on a hull and deck that doesn’t shake, rattle or roll. Being so wide aft, it does tend to porpoise with too much trim out, but with trim tabs and the latest Ocean Series composite sterndrive legs there’s plenty of scope to button it to the water.

Clearly, 316-grade stainless steel deck gear isn’t in short supply, but nor are the integral creature comforts and amenities. To power many of these amenities, the Elegante is bundled with a 6kW petrol-powered Kohler generator. The generator runs very smoothly, without the usual diesel-engine clatter. The dealer-fitted options such as the stainless steel anchor and mahogany foredeck sunpads add to the luxurious nature of this boat.

All Elegante 376s imported here feature the optional factory-fitted Elite package, which includes a windlass, cockpit fridge or icemaker, double cockpit tables, a marine stereo and CD player, foredeck sunpad cushions and an extended swim platform, which is where my deck tour began…

DECKED OUT

There’s room for four chairs and a table on the oversized boarding platform, which has a four-rung (one extra step than usual) deep-reach swim ladder, pop-up cleats for swinging fenders and tying off watertoys, and a Sunbrella cover to prevent weathering of the teak stripping when the platform is not in use.

The boat is big on storage, coming with twin aft boots including shorepower and marina connections, fender baskets big enough to carry dive tanks, and a neat hot/cold freshwater shower outlet. The snap-on hose can reach the windscreen and there’s another freshwater outlet in the bow, thereby letting you rinse the boat from the onboard supply.

The deck cleats are of a decent size on the Dorals. Unusually, stainless steel checkerplate tread steps lead to the sidedecks, which are almost 20cm wide. There’s also a walkthrough dash and opening windscreen (with dual wipers) that together provide unfettered bow-to-stern access.

A second lifestyle area, the foredeck is a beauty. It has five-star, mahogany-framed sunlounges that can recline to various positions – perfect for toasting the sunset or working on your tan. Of course, drinkholders are provided.

I also noted good security on deck by way of a high, one-piece bowrail with an intermediate wire, moulded toe rails, handrails and grabrails beside the sunlounges. There was a fair grade of non-skid and the whole deck was illuminated by eight LED droplights mounted on the bowrail. The recessed windlass helps save toes, while the sparkling stainless steel anchor is the cherry on the cake.

The fact that the targa arch can fold might come in handy when you need to slip under low bridges. Hydraulic activation is an option. The targa was also fitted with a remote spotlight. Though not a hardtop, the Sunbrella package, including camper covers, clears, mesh vents, a stainless steel frame and snap-in fittings, is a more permanent structure than some canopies I’ve seen.

COCKPIT LIVING

Boasting as many seats in its cockpit as a decent airplane – room for 12, I thought – the Doral isn’t cluttered. Because the outdoor seating, with port and starboard lounges, each with a table setting for four, traces the edges of the boat, there is a thoroughfare to the boarding platform, the interior, or through the dash to the bow.

The Doral’s upholstery is first rate and the high-backed lounges are supportive. Each lounge is traced by a thick stainless steel grabrail and there’s moulded storage under their bases that can double as an icebox. Drinkholders, all 11 of them, range in size from small to large, so sit where your drink fits.

The portside lounge continues forward and morphs into an aft-facing lounge/daybed with ergonomically designed head support and armrest and storage. There’s a chart locker ahead of this. The amenities centre behind the helm seat includes a 12V fridge, sink with hot and cold water, and a single-burner Ceran cooktop.

Engine access is gained via a deck hatch or, at the press of a button, via double rams that raise two split sections of the cockpit sole. Stand on the boarding platform and you can jump down into what’s a massive servicing space. Cabling is attached to the boat every 30cm or so, and there are double clips on all hoses, colour coded seacocks and neat plumbing.

The Elegante has dedicated low-maintenance house and engine-start batteries, a quiet petrol Kohler generator, according to my ear, and a surfeit of room around the twin Volvo 5.7lt V8 blocks. I could easily perform visual checks of the coolant bottles, reach the oil dipsticks, but interestingly there were no secondary fuel filters, only primaries on the motors. I also noted the bottle for the NeutraSalt flush system.

The helm station is no less accommodating, with a double seat, thigh riser and shaped cushioning. The dash, with perforated soft-touch vinyl and mock timber trim, houses a lot of Faria gauges and switches, and has room to flush-mount a compact GPS chartplotter.

The wheel can tilt and there are Lenco trim tabs, remotes for the Clarion stereo and the spotlight, and an impressive switch panel for the windlass, engine hatch, lights, including the red driving light, the numerical depthsounder and so on. But there’s no bowthruster.

CONVERTIBLE ACCOMMODATION

Let’s turn back to the Elegante’s distinguishing features, such as the double dining areas below.

The door leading off the cockpit also includes a separate insect screen, while the interior is air conditioned, well ventilated, and bright, thanks to five opening ports, three hatches with privacy curtains, and skylights.

The main dinette fronts a four-person family lounge to port in the saloon, which with infill converts into an impromptu single bed, opposite the moulded galley marked by a small area of hardwearing mock timber flooring. There’s a decent 12/240V fridge, concealed (small) Tappan microwave, two-burner recessed stove with hinged Corian cover, and sink.

Storage is a highlight, ranging from a dedicated spice rack in the galley and a decent area for storing appliances, to surround lockers and under-seat holds, nooks alongside the stairs, and cedar-lined hanging spaces. There’s also underfloor storage and good access to the shower sump pump and holding tank.


If not via a pack of cards or a board game, entertainment comes by way of a small flat-screen television with a DVD player, plus a CD player with four concealed speakers below and another four in the cockpit. Joinery is all US cherry and there’s a choice of decor packages. The interior lights are trick Euro numbers.

The saloon lounge continues along the port side of the saloon to snake around the second dinette in the bow. Press a button and the table drops on a ram and you can add the infill – stowed in the aft cabin – to create a double. The cushions at the head of the bed fold up for more sleeping room and a privacy curtain is included. If there are just two of you aboard, you might leave the dinette assembled as a second lounge and gravitate to the aft cabin, where there’s a lock-up door and twin single berths that convert easily into a large double bed. There’s cabinetry at the bedhead, scope to fit a second TV, and portlights with curtains for crossflow ventilation.

There’s even a comfortable dresser lounge aft where you can pull on your clobber while examining the views through the portlight. And to help prevent stuffiness, there’s a large, vented aperture with a privacy shutter leading back into the saloon.

The head is another point of difference. There’s a lower-than-usual moulded vanity and sink to maximise floor space. With a wall-hung handheld shower rose and curtain and fold-up seat over the head itself, you get a real shower. The loo is a Vacuflush model and there’s an opening port and air-con for ventilation.

CRUISING BEAUTY

Doral Elegante

With a deep-blue hull, racy red bootline and raked targa arch, the Elegante is, in some ways, a busy boat to look at, but in other ways it’s a dashing sportscruiser. Turning the key on the twin Volvo V8s, I found the boat to be a dream to drive, although I always find the Volvo manual throttles clunky, especially when new. With the trim tabs down and the composite Ocean Series XDP drives trimmed in, the wide-beam-aft hull holds a pleasant low-speed cruise of 16 to 17kts at 3000rpm, but finds its sweet spot between 3500 and 3600rpm for a 23 to 26kt smooth cruise. It was nice and quiet, too.

Charging across the choppy harbour, the boat remained smooth and in control at 28.5kts at 4000rpm, all the way up to 32 to 33kts at 4500rpm. But at 4800rpm and its 36kt top speed, the boat was prone to launching itself.

With 640hp, the Elegante 376 had lots of poke, but an incredibly smooth ride that, to me, was the big difference on a day when I drove three sportcruisers back-to-back. Then there are all the aforesaid details to win over family and friends. Doral calls it ‘the art of luxury’. We call it pleasure boating.

HIGHS

Balsa-cored hull travels beautifully on the water

Terrific inventory surpasses its competition

Amazing attention to detail

Huge outdoor living areas with lots of seating

Trick amenities in cockpit including single-burner stove

Foredeck doubles as sundeck with the fold-up lounges

Big open-plan interior with double dinettes

A well-priced sportscruiser

LOWS

Non-skid could be more aggressive in some areas

Powder-coated windscreen frames don’t last like stainless steel ones

Lots of outdoor trim, upholstery, and stainless steel to maintain

Infill cushions for bow double bed are a pain to store below decks

No bowthruster and clunky (a Volvo thing) engine controls

Relatively new badge in a big sportscruiser market

DORAL ELEGANTE 376

Doral Elegante
Doral Elegante
Doral Elegante
Doral Elegante
Doral Elegante

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