New is still the word that sells. In economically difficult times large boatbuilders still bet on continuous updates of their model lines in search of improvements.
Bavaria just finished a complete revamp, Beneteau introduced a new type of product with the convertible Oceanis 38, Jeanneau launched a performance boat and continued work on its Sun Odyssey line.
But what about Hanse? The new Hanse 345 came out a little while ago, providing a facelift for the 445 and now the Hanse 505, which is an update – albeit an ambitions one – of the 495. Hull and technical specifications remain the same, while the deck, part of the interior and details were modified or replaced by something new.
The yard says it offers the best cockpit in class – the truth of which is in the eye of the beholder.
The bench seats are 1.90m long, which is decent, as are the sitting and standing positions behind the wheels. The foot braces are individually adjustable while the sheets and halyards are led back to the winches that are right in front of the helmsperson who can handle main and jib. Thus, the boat is perfectly set up for singlehanding, which is also great for couples or family crews with small kids.
Another advantage is the space gained around the companionway that’s now used for hatches and small cubbies. The downside of leading the halyards aft is that the tails disappear into both lazarettes through slots. It works, but it also takes time to clear up the spaghetti factory, as it happens after hoisting the main on the two-spreader Seldén mast with shrouds that are attached to the outside of the hull. Plotter and sailing instruments are now installed in the two steering pedestals, which is not the most elegant solution, but certainly more practical than putting them at the aft end of the cockpit table.
The fun starts at 10 knots
Underway in Cannes, the Hanse proved a bit sluggish in less than 8 to 10 knots of breeze. About 4.5 knots of upwind speed can be coaxed from her in modest waves, hinting at the desirable feedback on the rudder. A wide hull with a displacement of 14 tons and only a self-tacking jib are not ideal in such conditions.
As the breeze shifts and increases slightly to 12 to 14 knots all of a sudden the speedo climbs to 7 knots. The weather helm is okay and with cracked sheets she scratches the 8-knot barrier, which is all good. It takes 1.75 rotations for the twin wheels to move the deep and well-gripping single rudder blade from stop to stop. That is direct enough to steer upwind while sitting down. With a diameter of one meter and a distance of 1.13 meters from the top of the wheel to the cockpit sole the ergonomics are right for a helmsperson of average height. The swim platform is lowered and hoisted manually, which is a simple and inconspicuous solution.
A nice option is the package of Lewmar’s electric Revo winches for trimming and easing the sheets by the push of a button. That’s comfortable and works well, provided there is enough load on the lines. The custom self-tailer can be a bit recalcitrant and demands exactly sized cordage.
It’s also apparent that the bridge deck is gone, which makes the access to the companionway easier (aided by the shallower angle of the steps). This was made possible by eliminating the large aft stateroom with island berth. This luxurious option was a novelty on the 495, but there wasn’t sufficient demand by the market.
Thousands of variations
Still, Hanse sticks with its shtick of the semi-individual appointment of the interior. There could be a sail locker in the bow, which is recommended considering the rather small storage capacity of the cockpit lockers. But there also could be a crew cabin. In the forward stateroom, the owner can choose between a cabin with plenty of stowage, legroom and access to shower and toilet, which are completely separated, or two single staterooms. In that case, shower and head have to be accessed through the hallway. In the midsection there are three options: A separate cabin with bunk beds, a supply closet for washer and workbench, or an additional shower. In any case, a designated lavatory with shower is across the hallway.
The actual saloon has a generous in-line pantry, a nav station with a forward-facing seat and a large L-shaped settee, and a console behind the twin seats. Aft there are two cabins with the one on the port side being a bit tighter because of the additional space in the saloon. The customer can choose from three different kinds of wood trim: mahogany, cherry and oak. The latter was used on the test boat but it was so light that it produced hardly any contrast to the cabin ceiling and the white surfaces. But that’s a matter of personal taste.
It will please everyone that the rails and edge veneers now are made from massive wood, which should add some longevity. Owners are also required to make their check marks for the flooring, i.e. classic stripes, maple or black wood. Given the many layouts, surfaces and materials, Hanse suggests there are more than 6,000 possible combinations.
A well thought-out boat for a fair price
Below deck the simple things in life, which might not even get noticed during a quick walkthrough at the boat show are especially pleasant. There are plenty of handholds and other spots to hold on to and the storage space was well used. There is a separate pocket for charts and the area above and behind the fridge swallows an espresso maker in a little medicine cabinet. The floorboards fit and space is properly allocated. The seacocks and components in the bilge are easy to reach and the ports in the coachroof can be opened. Skylights that are bending downwards on their forward edge and several hull windows admit plenty of daylight into the interior. The ceiling liner in the saloon is partially furnished with cloth to make for a cozier look and feel. These are nice details that help the boat appear pleasant and produce an all around successful package.
These beneficial steps prove that continuous development could be more helpful for the product and the customer than innovation for innovation’s sake.
The price also contributes to this positive impression, starting at $272,500 Euro. That’s a bit above the announced Bavaria Cruiser 51 that is offered at a base price of 256,900 Euro. This difference might be too small to sway purchase decisions one way or the other. The two largest German builders may follow behind world market leader Beneteau in second and third place but their style and brand values are much further apart. To go on a video tour of the boat with Duncan Kent see Hanse 505 Video: First Look.
Hanse 505: Specifications
Draft (standard/shoal): 2.38m/1.98m
Displacement: 14 tonnes
Ballast/share 4.0 tonnes
Mainsail: 67.5sq m
Self-tacking jib: 51.5sq m
Engine (Volvo Penta): 53 kW/72 hp
Design: Judel/Vrolijk & Co
CE Category: A (offshore)
Base price: €272,500
For a quick comparison against the new Hanses 505, we have featured numerous sailingt cruisers and cruiser-racer yachts over the last 12 months on www.boats.com. To help navigate through all the choices available try following the www.boats.com guide to Choosing the right family cruising boat or simply search all Hanse yachts for sale in the UK.
This story originally appeared in YACHT magazine, and is republished here by permission. Translated by Dieter Loibner.