Once the term “mid-size cruiser” was used to describe boats from 30 to 35 feet, but many of today’s popular “mid-size” boats are larger. The new 43-foot Hanse 430 is performance oriented, as might be expected; it was designed by Judel/Vrolik, designer of Alinghi’s America’s Cup boats. As I found during my test sail in Miami, the 430e (epoxy) is a quick cruiser rather than a racer.
Hanse offers buyers of the 430 a choice between polyester resin (standard) and epoxy resin (optional). My test boat had the advantages of epoxy; the lighter weight, greater strength, and imperviousness to osmotic blistering convince some buyers to go with the optional 430e version. Both versions are built of hand-laid glass with coring above the waterline and in the deck. The epoxy version is built of post-cured prepreg cloth with a Core-cell foam core in the hull; the standard polyester version is cored with end-grain balsa.
Deck and Cockpit
The sailplan features what is essentially a masthead rig (though Hanse describes it as a “nine-tenths” fractional rig) with a self-tacking jib. The single jibsheet leads to a traveler track, then up the mast and down again before running aft to the cockpit. This long routing yields a better sheet lead. As an aging lightweight, I appreciated the ample Lewmar 46 winches on the cabintop, one of which was electric—a worthwhile option on a boat with this much mainsail. The wide cockpit accommodates skippers and crews of various sizes with varying seating preferences. It’s easy to move around anywhere on the deck, thanks to low coamings, secure footing, and covered lines leading from the mast to the cockpit. The open transom makes loading and unloading people and parcels to a dock or dinghy simple.
The Hanse 430 has a distinctly modern interior, especially with the optional cherry finish. The standard mahogany interior with white bulkheads does give a nod to the past, but nobody will mistake the accommodation space for a Herreshoff design. Cabinetry is flush-surfaced and precisely fitted, and the grabrails outboard of the seats blend so neatly into the decor that the skipper may need to point them out to guests. While this boat is unquestionably strong and seaworthy enough to cross oceans, the interior makes it clear that its main mission is stylish cruising. Note that voyaging will call for leecloths on the bunks, higher countertop fiddles, and positive latches on the cabin sole. Hanse lets buyers choose among berth configurations (standard V-berth or offset Pullman berth, with or without a pilotberth) for both the forward and aft cabins; another choice is between one or two cabins aft.
In the open ocean off Miami in 12 to 14 knots of wind, our test boat—which had the optional shoal-draft keel (5 feet, 11 inches versus 7 feet, 3 inches)—clicked off a steady 7-plus knots with an easy motion through light chop. The boat tacked effortlessly through 80 degrees as the self-tending jib eliminated any need to pull lines. The helm felt secure, with no hint of stalling when we heeled in the puffs. Bearing off, boatspeed climbed to better than 8 knots, and I enjoyed the same excellent directional stability and easy control. The dual wheels and good cockpit design gave me several comfy places to sit both to windward and to leeward. It was a fine sail in these typical East Coast conditions, and the 430e was fast, stable, and responsive.
Running the engine at 2,200 RPM produced 7.3 knots of boatspeed with minimal noise in the main cabin. Our test boat had a retractable bow thruster, which made maneuvering around docks absurdly simple. The boat also made whiplash turns within one boatlength and stopped and backed straight, with excellent control, even in a crosswind.
Headroom: Saloon, 6’5”; aft cabin, 6’2”; forward cabin, 6’2” ; Bunks:
Price: $369,900 (standard sailaway, FOB Baltimore, MD) includes sails, major electronics (chartplotter, speed, wind, depth), and ground tackle
Builder: Hanse Yachts, Greifwald, Germany; www.hanseyachts.com
U.S. importer: Hanse Yachts USA, Annapolis, MD; 410-626-1493
LOA: 43’7” ; LWL: 39’4” ; Beam: 13’9”
Draft: (std/opt) 5’11”/7’3”
Displacement: (approx.) 22,958 lbs
Ballast: (approx.) 7,064 lbs
Sail Area: (main and jib): 1,098 sq ft
Power: 40-hp Yanmar with saildrive
Tankage Fuel/water/waste: 58/84/14 gal
Electrical: 220 aH (house) plus 80 aH (engine)
Displacement-Length ratio: 169
Sail Area-Displacement ratio: 20.3
Ballast-Displacement ratio: 31%
Certification: CE Category A (Ocean)
- Smooth, speedy performance
- Positive, easy control under power or sail
- Simple tacking due to the self-tending job
- Clean, simple interior design with clever details
- Light, strong quality construction
- Needs a step or two on mast to reach boom more easily
- Full cockpit enclosure makes access to aft end of boom difficult
- Will require small modifications for extended offshore sailing
There are many vessels to choose from in this size range, but the Hanse 430 stands out for its modern looks, good performance, and cruising comfort. It's an excellent example of what a modern family cruiser should be.