Element 270

By Andy Adams

Element Yachts is a new Canadian boat builder; the Element 270 EXC is its first boat.

We say that because, there is quite an impressive pedigree behind this apparently new company. James Countouris founded it in the facility where he and his father have been producing custom yachts since the 1970s under the Contour Yachts name.

Countouris has gained an international reputation for outstanding boat building and fiberglass work. They win contracts from the military, as well as private industry, to build a wide range of products, but James’ heart is plainly in boats.

The Element 270 EXC was designed in-house at the facility in Erin, Ontario as well as the plug and all the tooling. Erin is a quaint little community, 45 minutes outside of Toronto; surprisingly, it isn’t on the water. What they do have is a very well equipped plant and some obviously very skilled labour.

Element 270 - solid fiberglass below the waterlineThe very first Element 270 EXC has been built, sea trialed and delivered to its new owner in Boston. Hulls number 2 and 3 were under construction when I visited the plant; I expect we will see solid demand for this boat in the future. James deserves a lot of credit for coming up with a design that it is both salty, yet traditional, and sleek yet contemporary. The classic deep vee hulls, pioneered by Raymond Hunt and Bertram in the early 60s, were clearly an inspiration for the running surface of this boat.

It’s a classic deep vee with 24° of deadrise, a gently rounded keel and 3 lift strakes per side. The Countouris’ reputation for tooling is evident in the hull shape. The boat is built in a two-piece mold, allowing molded in spray rails that run full-length and an inward curving, attractively shaped tumblehome at the stern that couldn’t be pulled out of a conventional one-piece mold. The two-piece mold also enables them to mold in a bow thruster tunnel as an original part of the boat’s construction.

Element 270 - HelmOther quality construction techniques include a standard Interprotect 2000 epoxy barrier coat over the vinyl ester gelcoat. For stiffness, the hull sides are balsa-cored but below the waterline, the boat is solid fiberglass composite. This is reinforced with a full box-section inner stringer system for strength and stiffness and that is solid fiberglass as well. The transom is foam-cored and radiused for strength and attractive lines.

Once the finished boat is buffed out, the midnight blue finish on the sides gives reflections that show how smooth and true the fiberglass work is.

The design is quite innovative as well.

The intention is to provide a yacht quality, smaller vessel that will appeal to the discriminating buyer who likes day tripping, fishing, or just cruising as a couple. An Element 270 EXC would also be an impressive tender for a really large yacht.

When James was designing the boat, he envisioned an owner who might trailer it behind a full size SUV for cruising adventures in places like Georgian Bay, the Thousand Islands, US East Coast harbours and Florida. It could even make the run across to Nassau.

Element 270 - Transom DoorIt is an express cruiser design with the emphasis on cockpit space; James insisted that everything on board would be sized for real people to use–no compromises. The forward cabin is surprisingly spacious and has an 84″ x 48″ memory foam berth. The cabin space is all the more impressive given that the boat has a full walk-around deck. The side decks are 10 inches wide making it very easy to go forward when mooring or anchoring out.

In the cabin, there is an enclosed head with a VacuFlush MSD, hot and cold running water and an opening porthole. You can really use this in comfort and, with the Flexiteek floor, it will be easy to maintain. Varnished cherry wood trim adds warmth to the cabin without requiring a lot of maintenance.

The cockpit is very open and the galley is positioned under the hardtop on the port side with a two-burner stove, refrigerator, sink and storage underneath–just where people want to eat or entertain anyway. On the opposite side is a bench seat with storage underneath; two more large seats are located at the stern flanking the engine box.

With a top speed of 42 mph, this offshore type deep vee can cover a lot of distance quickly. The economical and convenient size could take you to secluded islands and beaches that few other people will ever see.

The Element 270 is an impressive start on a line that is scheduled to expand with a sedan and other models in the future.


Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s September 2006 issue.

Displacement 5,900 lbs.
Length 27’ (without drive or swim platform)
Draft 2’
Beam 10’, 1”
Transom Deadrise 24º
Fuel Capacity 110 US gal.
Top Speed 41 mph (with 5.7 GXI Volvo 320hp)
Standard Drive Package Open Cooling, Alloy Drive, DP
Source: www.elementyachts.com

Photo Captions
Photo 1 – The Element 270; Salty, yet traditional. Sleek, yet contemporary.
Photo 2 – The Element 270 EXC is solid fiberglass below the waterline including all of the box section engine stringers that are laid in using Plexus adhesives.
Photo 3 – The design concept behind the Element 270 EXC is to address the needs of the cruising couple who are almost certain to spend most of the time above decks; the galley has been placed in the interior with refrigerator, two burner stove, sink and hot and cold pressure water, all underneath a hardtop supported by a welded aluminum tower with anodized finish.
Photo 4 – The transom door swings out on sturdy custom-made stainless steel hinges, giving excellent access to the cockpit from the swim platform, even for those who aren’t as nimble as they once were.

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We met with Neptunus Managing Director Jan Willem De Jong this past fall to take the new Neptunus 650F out in Lake Ontario. 

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A perfect sunset off St. John with St. Thomas views for backdrop.

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