The Hanse 445 is one of its German builder’s best-selling models with around 200 sold in the first two years of production. Given its popularity, why has it been given a ‘facelift’, to be re-launched with fanfare at the 2013 autumn boat shows? (You can watch some of the fanfare in our first look video of the Hanse 445.)
The answer is, that’s what Hanse does. The world’s third-biggest production boatbuilder launches at least one new model a year and does facelifts on a number of older ones. The rationale is that however successful a boat, sales drop off after the first couple of years. So as soon as a new model is launched, Hanse starts collecting feedback from owners. Meanwhile, the rate of change at Hanse is such that new models boast features that buyers interested in the older ones want on their boat too. So instead of letting a popular boat fade into obscurity, Hanse creates an improved version, making changes as a result of customer feedback and updating it to match the rest of the range.
The Hanse concept
Hanses are instantly recognisable by their ultra-modern styling. Another signature feature is a self-tacking jib that allows all models to be sailed singlehanded.
Certainly, Hanse dares to be different. The boats’ striking profiles attract younger, image-conscious owners as well as traditional yachting types. These are not AWBs (average white boats), aimed to please the majority at the expense of individuality.
Hanse emphasises that its boats are built to a high standard of strength and stiffness, laid up by hand, not a chopper gun in sight. Resins are epoxy based, and bulkheads are bonded in. All new models will sport a Selden rig as standard.
Below decks on the Hanse 445
Interiors are where Hanses differ most obviously from the competition. The designers started with a clean slate, and no requirement to create a ‘little ship’. You’ll find no cosy nooks, it’s all about space and clean lines. If it weren’t for the fact you enter the accommodation via a ladder you could almost think yourself in a modern apartment, furnished Scandinavian-style.
Several layout options are offered, all with two new, improved heads and with either three or four double cabins. Most buyers plump for the three-cabin version and its full-width owner’s suite with island bed and separate heads and shower compartments. Following customer feedback, the two aft doubles cabins are now larger and lighter than on the original 445, achieved by re-siting the generator, and adding windows in the deckhead.
In line with its appeal to individualistic owners, Hanse offers a vast number of permutations for the interior decoration. There’s more wood than on the 445’s first incarnation, which can be selected in one of many different finishes and complemented from a huge choice of different fabrics. No two boats need ever look the same: owners can let loose their creativity in a way not possible with most production builders.
On deck and performance
The 445 is already a proven performer: with its powerful roached mainsail and a number of sail and keel options, the new version promises sparkling performance whether sailed singlehanded or fully crewed.
To enable you to take advantage of the solo sailing offered by the standard self-tacking jib, the sheets and halyards are led aft to the helm, which has the added advantage of keeping the cockpit clear of ropes so guests can relax in comfort. Also standard is a fully-battened main that drops easily and neatly. There’s a useful sail locker in the bow for an optional genoa and spinnaker.
Striking deck features include a wide hydraulically operated swim/boarding platform, flush hatches, and new to this facelifted version, twin helm stations, each with its own chartplotter screen, much easier to look at than just one unit at knee height.
Equipment and options
There’s a long list of standard equipment in Hanse’s ‘On the Water’ price, including a full tank of diesel, anchor, chain, antifouling, warps, fenders, shore power, echo sounder and much more. Popular optional additions include a bow thruster and teak decks. Electronics are extra, and if you want to go the whole hog you can specify a joystick manoeuvring system for easy berthing, and the very latest in chartplotters and autopilots.
What the Hanse 445 does best
Hanses have great appeal to those new to boating, attracted by their contemporary styling and ease of handling. But this does not detract from the marque’s suitability to seasoned sailors: it’s very satisfying to sail singlehanded in a boat that’s reportedly fast and close-winded, and reassuring to know that the hull is hand built using high-quality materials. Old salts are finding the open, modern interiors refreshing. If you opt for laminate sails, a genoa, and deepest keel you have a rather powerful machine at your bidding.
Some people simply won’t like the Hanse’s style. If you like a cosy saloon with a large chart table and lots of small lockers, in which you feel snug both at anchor and when being tossed around in a seaway, you’ll prefer a more traditional yacht.
Not all owners are keen on the Saildrive engine-prop installation, though others prefer it to shaft-drive.
Hanse appears to be successful in continually ironing out niggles and adding improvements by attention to feedback and its system of ‘facelifting’.
There’s a good choice of boats similar in length and price to choose from in this popular section of the market, including the Beneteau Oceanis 45, Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469 (see Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469: Powerful Package), Bavaria 46 (see Bavaria Vision 46: A New Breed of Deck Saloon Cruiser) and Dufour 450. Many buyers of 45ft boats will be trading up in size and sticking to their current brand. Those who look around might be intrigued by the Hanse’s points of difference.
Hanse 445 specifications
Draft standard: 2.25m
Draft option: 1.82m
Sail area (main, self-tacking jib): 97sq m
Berths: 6 standard, 8 optional
Engine: Volvo Saildrive 53hp
Price (ex VAT at time of publication): £200,000