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:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

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

01b-Over-Loch-Scavig

Cruising Across the North Sea

Conventional wisdom says sleeping in the V-berth while offshore is a bad idea. It can be like a diabolical amusement ride that tosses a sailor to and fro, inducing stomach-churning weightlessness. And yet, here I am, nestled in the tilted corner created by my berth and the ...read more

GG17-SAONA47-DX0796

Boat Review: Fountaine Pajot Saona 47

Here’s a riddle: What is less than 50ft long, has two hulls, three big cabins and four decks? Answer: The Fountaine Pajot Saona 47. In fact, it may even be five levels if you count the large engine rooms. This boat is a “space craft” in every sense of the word.DESIGN & ...read more

RichardBennettMIDNIGHT-RAMBLER3249x202

Storm Sails: Do you Need Them?

Many sailors embarking on ocean passages will take along the obligatory storm jib and trysail, with the vague idea that they may come in handy. Few sailors, however, have a real understanding of how and when to set them.It doesn’t help matters when we hear from seasoned sailors ...read more

IntheWater(1)

Boaters University Unveils Rescue Course

Boaters University has just announced its latest online course, Safety & Rescue at Sea, taught by Mario Vittone, whose name you might recognize from the pages of our sister publication, Soundings Magazine and his Lifelines blog.Mario Vittone is a retired U.S. Coast Guard rescue ...read more

IMG_20170920_132819

How to: Installing New Electronics

I had been sailing my Tayana 42, Eclipse, for a few years without any installed electronics on board. I’d gone pretty far up and down the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts with paper charts, the Navionics app on my Android phone, a hand-bearing compass and the ship’s compass. ...read more

02-Douglas-Adkins---Coriolis---Orcas-Island-KevinLightPhoto

A Phoenix-like Concordia

Cutting a fine wake on the cobalt-blue waters of West Sound on Orcas Island, Coriolis sparkles like a diamond. Her lovely silhouette is offset by emerald forests that frame the ocean, within spitting distance of the border with Canada. Seen up close, this Concordia yawl is a ...read more

IMG_1051

The Latest Boat Trends from Dusseldorf

The world’s biggest boat and watersports show, held in Düsseldorf on the banks of Germany’s Rhine River each January, is the place to scope out emerging trends in the boat design and building.What would be the new trends for 2018 and beyond? Hint—sophisticated electronics figure ...read more