Boats

Hanse 400e

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Hanse Yachts's stylish 40-foot 400e (the "e" stands for the epoxy resin used in the hull) is the first in the Judel/Vrolijk–designed line the German builder is billing as "crossover boats." It's already made a splash at U.S. boat shows with its clean hull lines and innovative styling belowdecks. I took one out for a test drive off Marblehead, Massachusetts, to see if "crossover boat" is just a different way of saying "performance cruiser"—and to see just how well it crosses over.

CONSTRUCTION
The hull is built of hand-laid fiberglass, closed-cell foam core, and epoxy resin for stiffness and osmosis protection. Bulkheads are tabbed into the hull and the deck. Solid-fiberglass stringers provide hull stiffness. The deck is cored fiberglass. A cast-iron keel foil is secured to the hull with oversized stainless-steel bolts and supports a lead bulb.

DECK AND COCKPIT
The 400e carries considerable beam aft, resulting in a big, wide cockpit and generous interior space for the aft cabins—and the proportions are right. While the topsides may be slightly taller than those of other cruising boats in this size range, the extra freeboard doesn't take away from the overall look of the boat (and should help the helmsman stay dry in heavier weather). The helm station is comfortable, sight lines are excellent, and I was happy to see (and use) teak-topped wedges adjacent to the helm that provide excellent footing when the boat is heeled. I found sturdy mooring cleats, two large cockpit lockers, and a deep anchor locker with a recessed windlass—but only a single anchor roller. Over all, the cockpit and deck arrangements should be comfortable on a passage and also work well on the racecourse.

ACCOMMODATIONS
As expected, higher topsides translate into more space belowdecks. The 400e's accommodation plan makes good use of the volume, particularly in the forward cabin, where headroom is excellent and there's enough room to move around outside the bunk. With excellent stowage and ventilation from a large opening deck hatch, there's no question that this is the cabin for the owner.
The three-cabin, one-head accommodations plan on our test boat is standard, but one of Hanse's selling points is the multitude of interior arrangements available without moving bulkheads or paying custom prices. Buyers select from layout choices for each area of the boat during the ordering process. The saloon and galley space are comfortable and functional, rather than flashy. The saloon settee has a straight, long seat (perfect for wedging into a sea berth) opposite two bucket seats with a table in between. Putty is used to fill in some gaps in the joinery, but it isn't excessive. The aft cabins are small (but not tiny), and the single head has a big shower stall.

UNDER SAIL
It was a perfect day for a sail: a steady 8-to-10-knot breeze, flat seas, and sunny skies. We flew the standard North Sails dacron sails that come with the boat and had no problem hitting speeds in the 6-knot range. We tacked through 80 degrees upwind, and maximum speed was 6.9 knots in the puffs. The helm was balanced and easy to keep in the groove. All Hanses are rigged with self-tacking jibs, so tacking was a one man job. This is a great setup for cruising and can be enhanced with a larger genoa for light-air days on the racecourse. On a not-so-deep deep reach in the light air, speed stayed close enough to 6 knots to let us postpone starting the engine until we approached the moorings.

UNDER POWER
We easily made 8 knots under power, and the boat maneuvered nicely through the crowded harbor and stopped quickly when we nosed up to the mooring pennant. Good engine-room insulation kept noise from the 39-horsepower Yanmar to a pleasantly quiet level.

VITAL STATISTICS
HEADROOM: Saloon 6'4", aft cabin(s) 5'10", forward cabin 6'4" » BUNKS: Aft double(s) 6'×5'10", forward double 6'8"×6'4" » SETTEES: 6'4"×1'6", COCKPIT SEATS: 6'5"×18"

SPECIFICATIONS
Price: $203,000 (base including sails, FOB Annapolis, MD); about $250,000 (FOB Marblehead, MA) as tested, including electronics, freight, and commissioning.
Builder: Hanse Yachts www.hanseyachts.com
Designer: Judel/Vrolijk
LOA: 39'4" » LWL: 35'5"
Beam: 13'3" » Draft: (std/opt) 6'6"/5'5"
Displacement: 17,417 lbs (epoxy)
Ballast: 6,426 lbs
Sail Area: 952 sq ft (main and jib)
Power: 39-hp Yanmar
Tankage Fuel/Water/Waste: 37/80/14 gal
Electrical: (1) 70-aH, (1) 100-aH
Displacement-Length ratio: 174
Sail Area-Displacement ratio: 22
Ballast-Displacement ratio: 36%

OUR TAKE
PROs:

  • Sailing performance
  • Epoxy construction
  • Interior space
CONs:
  • Shallow bilge
  • Caulked woodwork joints
  • Single bow roller

    CONCLUSION: I liked the way the boat handles under sail, its comfortable accommodation plan, and the fact that it's a big 40-footer. The choices of accommodation details sets it apart from other boats at this price point, and it's a well-proportioned, easy-handling, good-looking boat. If crossover means racing potential and comfortable accommodations, it crosses over well.

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