Launched in late 2010, the Hanse 355 sports a T-keel that makes her stiff, stable and impressively quick. There are a number of interior choices available that allow you to customize the layout, with either two or three cabins and numerous upholstery options.
The boat’s powerful high-aspect rig is easily controlled and reefing is all done from the cockpit, so there is no need to go up on deck when the going gets rough.
The 355 benefits from a number of improvements over the older 350, including a separate shower stall, better saloon storage, improved ventilation and a larger chart table.
The 355 has a low, sleek cabintop, low freeboard, plumb ends, long waterline, shallow underwater sections and a generous beam–all of which make her both look and feel thoroughly modern. She is a quick boat designed to be easily handled by a small crew and has a single wheel and a more enclosed cockpit than her larger sister, the 375. A shoal-draft keel is an option.
As with all Hanses today, the hull is heavily reinforced and incorporates a complex framework of foam stringers and floor beams for strength and stiffness. Topsides and deck are balsa-cored. Vinylester resins are employed for their strength, lightness and water-resistance.
The boat has a 7/8ths fractional Z-Spars rig with swept-back spreaders, a split backstay with mechanical adjuster and discontinuous standing rigging leading to single chainplates right out on the topsides.
The boat’s standard teak inlaid cockpit is a sensible width, and there are two returns aft with lockers that make it feel more secure than the wide-open cockpit of the 375. The aft seating provides space for gas lockers as well. Access to the transom platform is easy enough, but the lack of a permanently attached boarding ladder will be worrisome should you fall overboard while alone on the boat. A transom shower is standard, but hot water is optional.
The 355 isn’t quite as beamy as her larger sister and looks sleeker all around. The side decks are a little narrow due to the wide cabintop, but are easy to negotiate thanks to the outboard chainplates. There are also solid alloy toerails, a double lifeline with gates on either side and four sturdy cleats for dock lines.
The boat has an uncluttered foredeck with a deep anchor well that has room to house a windlass. The bow roller is sturdy, but is noticeably offset and might not be ideal when the chain snatches in a choppy anchorage.
Thanks partly to its white painted bulkheads, the Hanse 355 is bright and cheery below. The large opening portlights provide plenty of natural light and ventilation and the Ohio Cherry wood finish contrasts nicely with the plain white bulkheads.
Two different layouts are available, with one or two aft cabins, the former having a separate shower stall and a deep cockpit locker in place of the second cabin.
The staterooms are surprisingly spacious. The aft cabins have 6ft 1in of headroom in the dressing area and a reasonably sized clothes locker.
The forward cabin is larger, with more floor space, a larger hanging locker, a big hatch and overhead shelves on each side. Our test boat had the single aft cabin and the larger heads, which is what I’d choose for cruising. The separate shower stall is a real bonus and gives you somewhere to hang wet foul weather gear without interfering with the use of the heads. There is also an access door to the full-depth cockpit locker through the shower in this model.
In the saloon, the settees are good and straight, but a little short for anyone much over 6ft. The single drop-leaf table is designed to slide fore and aft—presumably to assist people when sitting—but I found it annoying and unnecessary, especially after cutting my finger on the mechanism when trying to lock it! There is an abundance of lockers and bins for stowage. The 355 has refreshingly sturdy handrails as well. Batteries, fuses, bus bars and other electrical components are neatly organized beneath the port settee.
The boat has a reasonable galley for a European 35-footer, with plenty of stowage and a deep fridge, but the standard stove has only two burners and no grill. A portlight above should let any fumes straight out.
Our test boat had the optional full-batten mainsail, a lazyjack system and the standard self-tacking 95 percent jib. In-mast furling and a genoa are options. We hoisted full sail in 7-8 knots of wind and were soon slipping along silently at a relaxing 3.7 knots on a close reach. Hard on the wind, the 355 slowed a little in the light air, but still managed to sail about 35 degrees off the apparent wind at a speed of 3.2 knots. She tacked through about 80 degrees with remarkable speed considering the conditions. In fact, in just 8 knots of true wind we pirouetted a full 360 degrees without stalling.
On a beam reach we managed our best speed of the day—4.5 knots in roughly 8-10 knots of breeze. Downwind under working sails, she understandably struggled to make more than 3 knots.
On all points of sail, the steering was light and positive. The wheel is large enough to allow you to steer sitting outboard on the flat coamings, but not so big that it blocks you going forward to adjust the mainsheet on the coachroof. A cockpit-mounted mainsheet is an option.
A deep spade rudder and short-chord keel with a bulb make turning the 355 in her own length simple and effortless. The boat walks to starboard a little when put hard astern, but in general she’s easy to maneuver inside a marina. The 30hp Volvo engine was smooth and quiet, and we cruised easily at 6 knots at 2,200 rpm and hit a top speed of about 7.2 knots in flat water.
This new Hanse is a good-looking family cruiser that is also capable of solid sailing performance. She’s genuinely easy to handle under sail, and she boasts comfortable, bright and airy accommodations for up to six people.
• Flush hatches and clear decks
• Excellent sailing performance
• Easy to handle, self-tacking headsail
• No fixed boarding ladder
• Slippery edges to cabin top
• Aft-facing chart table
BUILDER Hanse Yachts AG, Greifswald, Germany, hanseyachts.com
U.S. DISTRIBUTORHanse Yachts USA, Rowley, MA, 978-903-0380
For all Hanse boat reviews, click here.
Hanse VAR 37, Hanse 495
Photos by Nico Krauss/Hanse Yachts