Boat Review of Hanse 415 Cruiser

The Hanse 415 is superficially like a lot of new production cruising boats in the 40-foot range. It has a plumb bow, generous beam carried well aft, a comfortable cockpit, dual helms and a walk-through transom leading to a drop-down swim step. Like many new cruising boats today, it’s also designed to be fast and easy to handle. But as I found out during a test sail on Narragansett Bay last fall, not all 40-foot “performance cruisers” are created equal.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The Hanse 415 is superficially like a lot of new production cruising boats in the 40-foot range. It has a plumb bow, generous beam carried well aft, a comfortable cockpit, dual helms and a walk-through transom leading to a drop-down swim step. Like many new cruising boats today, it’s also designed to be fast and easy to handle. But as I found out during a test sail on Narragansett Bay last fall, not all 40-foot “performance cruisers” are created equal.

 Hanse 415

Hanse 415

Construction

The Hanse 415’s hull is built of solid fiberglass below the waterline, cored with end-grain balsa above the waterline and reinforced with a solid fiberglass grid. The outer skin is isophthalic gelcoat, and both vinylester resin (to deter blistering) and polyester resin are used in the laminate. The deck is also balsa-cored with a vinylester outer layer. 

Bulkheads are laminated to the hull to increase stiffness. A 6ft 11in T-shaped cast iron fin and bulb come standard, but a shallower 5ft 8in L-keel with a cast iron fin and lead bulb is also available. Wire shrouds and a split backstay support the double-spreader, deck-stepped aluminum mast. The rudder is a large semi-balanced spade on an alloy stock.

On Deck 

One of the reasons I feel the 415 stands out in an otherwise crowded field is its looks. I love the clean lines and proportions of this boat, which hit a sweet spot between modern and maybe even slightly edgy, without being too radical. 

 The accommodations include many clever details

The accommodations include many clever details

Then there are more quantifiable reasons. These include the visibility from the dual helms, the easily accessible walk-through stern and the wide seats in the cockpit.

I was especially impressed with the teak-topped cockpit table. It was stylish, sturdy and formed a good mounting point for a chartplotter that pivots so the screen can be seen easily from either helm station. You may think an easy-to-read chartplotter would be a given on a modern performance-cruiser, but it’s not. I’ve sailed far too many boats aboard which I had to crane my neck to see my performance data not to appreciate it when a builder does it right.

Another feature I liked was the lack of cabintop winches. Instead, all lines from the mast are led under the deck to banks of stoppers near a pair of primary winches mounted on the cockpit coaming near the helms, right where you want them. Again, engineering away the cabintop winches may seem like a small thing, but it’s not. The unbroken line of the low slung cabintop is yet another small improvement over the status quo (both in functionality and aesthetics) that helps set this boat apart.

Going forward, I did find the cabintop handholds to be a little short. But I liked the wide side decks with low bulwarks to help keep the crew on board, the flush-mounted deck hatches and the good-sized anchor locker.

Of course, with all lines leading back to the cockpit and an ultra-slick Antal mainsail luff track that lets the sail slide effortlessly into a stack-pack on the boom, you only really need to go forward when its time to push the anchor windlass button or grab a mooring ball.

Accommodations

The theme of small things making a big impact is reiterated belowdecks, starting with the companionway steps. Unlike some companionways, which have steep, ladder-like stairs, the 415’s companionway steps are built on a shallow angle that make them super easy to descend. I also appreciated the extra wide companionway opening and the oversized clear plastic companionway hatch that contributes to the open and airy feel in the saloon. 

While the layout of the accommodations plan is pretty standard—decent stowage, U-shaped settee, good-sized galley with microwave, etc.—the distinction is, again, in the details. From the lights that can be dimmed and shades that be can pulled shut with a remote control unit to a stylish basin (more than just a sink) in the head, dedicated wine storage area under the sole, and a nav table that can be dropped down to provide more saloon seating (or a decent sea berth), a lot of thought has gone into optimizing every aspect of this boat’s interior living space.

Like many 40-footers, the Hanse 415 is available with two or three cabins, but Hanse stands out among production builders in that it offers myriad other interior choices as well. Do you want one head or two? A large sail locker and a smaller galley? There is also an almost limitless list of interior fabric colors and wood finishes from which to choose. 

No matter how you configure the boat, the master cabin will be forward, with plenty of headroom, ventilation and stowage. (On the down side, the berth there gets pretty narrow around the toes forward.) Guest cabins can be either medium sized or small, but in either case they’ll still have the essentials—including double berths, stowage and room to get dressed—that you’d expect from a guest cabin aft.

  This is a boat designed to make you feel good out on the water

This is a boat designed to make you feel good out on the water

Under Sail

I hit the weather jackpot during my test sail, which spanned several hours. As we raced to beat an approaching weather system, the wind built from a steady 10 knots to a fresh 18-20, gusting to 25. The seas got up as well as we nosed out into open water at the mouth of the bay, but the motion remained comfortable. Boat speeds hit solid 8s on a reach and were in the 7-8 knot range when sailing hard on the breeze.

Upwind we were a little over canvassed in the gusts. While the helm became a bit heavy on occasion, the boat never felt out of control, and I never worried about rounding up. Coming about was a breeze, thanks to the boat’s well-designed self-tacking jib. There’s no need to grind winches or worry about the lazy sheet running free aboard the Hanse 415: just put the helm over and go.

In sum: the boat was fast, maneuverable and forgiving in a breeze, and comfortable and easy to sail. What more could you ask for in a performance cruiser?

Under Power

No surprises here. The test boat’s 38hp Volvo saildrive diesel moved the boat effectively in both forward and reverse, while the same big semi-balanced spade rudder that made sailing so easy, also made for good maneuverability going to and from the dock. 

 Hanse 415 Specifications

Hanse 415 Specifications

For all Hanse boat reviews, click here.

Hanse 455Hanse 575Hanse 345Hanse 445Hanse 355Hanse 385,

Hanse VAR 37, Hanse 495

Related

01-LEAD-IMG20210409160620-copy

Cruising: La Soufrière Volcano Eruption

This past spring my family and I were at anchor aboard our 50ft steel-hulled cutter, Atea, off Bequia, a small island five miles south of St. Vincent in the Southern Antilles. Bequia’s large, protected bay is lined by a collection of beach bars, restaurants and hotels, and is a ...read more

01-LEAD-GMR_ISLA_0415-1

Electric Multihulls

Witnessing the proliferation of Tesla automobiles you would have no doubt that the revolution in electromobility is well underway. Turn your gaze to the cruising world, though, and you might well wonder what went wrong. Where are all the electric boats? And as for electric ...read more

Lee-Cloths-Lee-Boards-and-single-bunks-on-ISBJORN_by-Andy-Schell_Trans-Atlantic-2019

The Perfect Offshore Boat: Part 2

November, 2009: Mia and I were sailing our 1966 Allied Seabreeze yawl, Arcturus, on our first-ever offshore passage together, a short hop from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida. Our second night out, the brisk northwesterly wind shut down, but the sea state ...read more

210727_JR_SE_Tokyo20_186871368

Tune in for Olympic Sailing

Today marks the start of 470 and NARCA 17 racing on Enoshima Bay, and racing in the other seven fleets is already underway. A few of the American sailors are already off to an impressive start, with Maggie Shea and Stephanie Roble currently in second place in the 49er FX, Luke ...read more

Happy-Cat

Boat Review: Happy Cat Hurricane

I’m not sure what I expected from my daysail on the Happy Cat Hurricane. One thing I do know is that the day didn’t go as planned. The SAIL staff was invited by Alex Caslow from Redbeard Sailing to Gunpowder State Park on Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore. We were to test several ...read more

210722_PM_Tokyo20_4910_5979-2048x

Olympic Sailing Guide

The Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo Games is finally here. From July 24 to August 4, sailors from across the world will be gathering on six courses on Enoshima Bay to race for gold. Ten classes will take part in the event: RS:X (men), RS:X (women), Laser Full Rig, Laser Radial, ...read more

01-LEAD-TobagoCaysHorseshoeColors

Chartering: Voltage is King

For some time now, both in the pages of this magazine and with individual charterers, I’ve talked about how important it is to pay close attention during a charter checkout. The idea is to listen “between the lines,” as it were, to be sure you aren’t missing any hidden red flags ...read more

AC75-No.-1

ETNZ May Abandon New Zealand

Remember when the Kiwis were the young, underfunded upstarts of the America’s Cup world, with right on their side as they took on the Big Bad Americans? Remember the withering criticism leveled at Larry Ellison when, in the wake of “The Comeback” on San Francisco Bay, arguably ...read more