Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hanse 415 Review

The new Hanse 415 has just recently been unveiled in Europe and will soon arrive in the USA. It is an all-new design by the firm of Judel-Vrolijk, which has a long string of successful racing yachts, as well as a number of production cruising yachts to its credit. The 415 follows the decidedly Teutonic styling of the other yachts in the Hanse lineup and I think there will be many who really like it, while others may find it a bit too quadrilateral. I fall into the second category.

Hanse 415

With its 13'-8" beam and 20,000 LB displacement, the Hanse 415 has a big, buxom hull with a plumb bow and nearly vertical transom. It’s a beamy boat and that beam is carried well aft. In fact, it’s nearly as wide at the transom as it is at the Bmax point. This hullform is becoming more common in cruising yachts and I think it makes for a very fast hull, but could be a handful to steer in quartering seas. Of course it provides a great deal of interior volume and that is probably an acceptable trade-off. The firm bilges, high freeboard and nearly flat sheer add to the visual bulk of the hull, but those factors also contribute to interior volume. Again, it’s a matter of balancing performance, accommodations and aesthetics. 

The keel and rudder of the Hanse 415 are deep and efficient foils and the torpedo shaped bulb is massive. I question the wisdom of such a keel on a cruising yacht. Snagging longlines, kelp and other underwater obstacles is not uncommon in many cruising grounds. More than once we sailed over or around them while cruising in Mexico and I would recommend not having such a keel if you’re headed south. Fortunately Hanse offers a more practical shape in their shoal keel.  I must say the bow thruster will be handy for the shorthanded crew when you’re trying to shoehorn your new 415 into a tight berth.

Notice the retractable bow thruster.

The profile view of the 415 shows a nicely proportioned cabin trunk.  The ports in the topsides provide light and a nice view from the salon, but there is no disguising the high freeboard. Notice the split bow pulpit, traditionalists may object but it is much more practical than the old style pulpits.

The sailplan of the 415 is excellent for cruising, especially if the main carries full battens and a ‘stackpack’ system as shown in the drawing, although I prefer the battens to be parallel to the boom so they fall perfectly into the pack when dousing or reefing the main. On the other hand, I’m not so fond of the bridle system in lieu of a real traveler. You can tweak this system to drive hard upwind, but a traveler is easier to manage.  I struggle with the idea of mid-boom sheeting. It’s not efficient, it requires lots of muscle, and it puts enormous loads on the boom and cabin top. On the other hand, it allows for a full dodger-bimini arrangement, which is very desirable in the tropics.

All of my recent designs have outboard chainplates, which limits the headsails to about 105%.  The Hanse 415 also incorporates this feature. The working jib on this boat actually sheets to a traveler just forward of the mast so it can be self tacking. I like that, as long as there is enough horsepower there to make the boat go in 5-8 knots of wind. Fortunately, the sailplan also shows a slightly larger headsail that sheets to tracks mounted on the cabin top. Self tacking is cool, but I prefer pulling in a bit of jib sheet on a slightly larger jib.

Hanse 415 carries its beam well aft. 

Judel and Vrolijk did a nice job with the cockpit. The very wide beam aft allows for spaciousness and sailing efficiency. Twin wheels mean that the helmsman can sit well outboard and drive the boat like Cayard while the rest of the crew relaxes in comfort behind the dodger. The cockpit seats are nearly long enough for a snooze and the cockpit table is big enough to manage all the refreshments the cruising crew might desire. Alas, the coamings, which appear to be broad and comfortable, are not. Someone down at Hanse, or possibly in the JV office thought it would be a good idea to lead the halyards and lifts right over the coamings to a gang of rope clutches at the back end of them. This was done ostensibly to make working the vessel more efficient for a shorthanded crew. Unfortunately this is a mistake. People sit on coamings. They put their drinks on them. They stand on them and use them for all manner of other purposes. If Hanse absolutely has to have those lines led aft to the back end of the coamings, why not put a cover over them?  As they are now, they are worse than useless.

Inconvenient cockpit coamings, but a nice back porch

The rest of the deck plan is fairly well thought out. There is a good-sized anchor locker with what appears to be a stout bow roller up forward. Again, I am amused that Hanse thoughtfully provided covers over the halyards and lifts on the cabin top, but not on the coamings. I wonder what they were thinking.

Let’s go below. Hanse offers a plethora of alternatives in the accommodations plan and I studied them all and chose the one I like best. It incorporates a large forward cabin with plenty of room to maneuver and storage space. The berth is pushed so far forward that it is quite narrow at the pointy end. I’d prefer to have it another 6 inches aft. This would allow for a larger anchor well and a more spacious berth at the cost of some closet space.

One of many possible accommodations plans.

The main cabin offers a spacious dinette to starboard and settee/desk to port. This apparently doubles as the nav station as well. I’m not fond of this arrangement. I think any yacht this size should have a dedicated nav station. It should have a good size chart table, plenty of space for navigation and communications equipment, and a comfortable seat. I also prefer it to be near the companionway.

Spacious Galley

The galley is spacious, with lots of counter and storage space. For a crew of two or three a single sink might be adequate, but I would prefer a double sink. Like the rest of this boat, the galley appears to be well finished with satin-varnished wood and faux granite counters. But the sharp corners and square lines remind me more of an apartment that a sailboat. This squared-off theme is carried throughout the boat and, while it’s clean-lined and simple to build, it seems a bit cold and uninteresting to me.

Designer appointments in the head.

I really like the large cargo hold aft of the galley. It is accessible from there and I presume from the cockpit too. It appears to have a small workbench and  space for sails, spares and other gear. This kind of space is very valuable on a cruising yacht.

The head is spacious and includes a separate shower stall. I like the location near the companionway, and that shower will make for a convenient wet-locker at sea. The apartment house theme is evident here, with the designer washbasin and lack of fiddles on the rather large counter.

Aft of the head, the large quarter-cabin incorporates what looks like a king-size berth and plenty of storage space. Notice the companionway steps. The engine lives under and behind them. It looks like access to the engine compartment is excellent. This is another thing that is very desirable on a cruising yacht. Easy access to filters and pumps is vital because you very often find yourself having to service them while underway, and it’s annoying at least, and possibly dangerous when the only real access to the engine involves moving the companionway steps.

I like this boat and think that with a few modifications it could be a comfortable cruising yacht. While the interior styling doesn’t work for me, for those who prefer a more cosmopolitan living environment, it could be just the ticket.

1 comment:

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