PxPixel
Sailing the Hanse 445 Performance Cruiser - Sail Magazine

Sailing the Hanse 445 Performance Cruiser

Author:
Publish date:
Hanse445main

There is something about a traditional boat that just feels right. How can you go wrong with a narrow hull, long overhangs and low topsides? By contrast, creating a thoroughly modern design that captures this same feeling can be a challenge, which is one reason why the new Hanse 445 is so impressive.

This is a boat that violates nearly every traditional aesthetic value you can think of: it’s beamy, it’s got a lot of freeboard, and it’s all angles. Yet somehow, the Judel/Vrolijk design office has managed to blend these elements into a yacht that looks powerful and is uniquely elegant. Better still, they’ve also managed to create a boat that’s a heck of a lot of fun.

[brightcove videoid="3986504640001" playerid="4343385270001" height="355" width="600"]

CONSTRUCTION
A product of Hanse’s large modern production facility in Germany, the 445’s hull is solid hand-laid fiberglass throughout, with a vinylester skin to prevent blistering. The deck laminate has a balsa core. A fiberglass “strongback” framework is bonded to the hull to help carry keel and rig loads, and the boat’s main bulkhead is securely laminated to the hull and deck to provide additional structural integrity.

Two keels are available, a 7ft 4in deep fin and a 5ft 8in shoal keel, both in a “T” configuration with a long torpedo-like ballast bulb at the bottom . The fractional double-spreader rig, with a tapered aluminum mast, can fly a masthead spinnaker. A slab-reefed, fully battened main with lazyjacks is standard, as is a 106 percent self-tacking blade jib.

ON DECK
Both the deck and cockpit layout are well designed and functional. The twin wheels provide a wide-open lane to the boat’s drop-down swim platform and also allow you to get well outboard when steering.

Thanks to the low cabintrunk, sight lines forward are excellent. Access to the bow is via wide side decks with excellent molded antiskid and low bulwarks. Halyards and control lines are not just led aft, but run directly to the boat’s twin helms. Combined with the 445’s self-tacking jib, the Lewmar 48 AST sheet winches (electric aboard our test boat) and a well-positioned battery of rope clutches make shorthanding the boat simplicity itself.

Aft of each wheel is a flip-up seat, and the drop-down swim platform includes both a beefy Schaefer tackle and a gas strut to make raising and lowering it a breeze, despite its large size. The large folding-leaf table has a hefty stainless steel framework with handrails to hang onto when the boat is on its ear, and four pairs of beefy retractable mooring cleats help preserve the boat’s no-nonsense lines when they are not in use.

ACCOMMODATIONS
Belowdecks there’s a tremendous amount of space for a 44-footer, and the fairly conventional layout makes the most of it. Our test boat, a battleship-gray beauty named Happy Chaos, was outfitted with twin cabins aft and a single stateroom forward with an ensuite head and shower. You can also specify twin staterooms in the bow, thanks to Hanse’s “Individual Cabin Concept” approach, whereby the boat is divided into three sections with different layout options that can be mixed and matched at will. Hanse offers a plethora of different woods, fabrics and trim colors to suit a wide range of tastes.

The saloon is enormous and features a sleek Euro-chic aesthetic that belies its practicality. A closer inspection, for example, reveals a number of strategically situated stainless steel handholds, while the L-shaped galley includes plenty of worktop space and lots of stowage. Happy Chaos’s owner, Toronto sailor Sean O’Brien, told me he’d bought the boat the previous spring and spent the summer cruising with his family. It’s not often that I get to test a boat that’s fully provisioned for a family of five, but this one had plenty of room for tucking away everything from fenders to a menagerie of stuffed animals. The O’Brien family has clearly been very comfortable aboard their new cruiser.

UNDER SAIL
We had picture-perfect conditions out on Lake Ontario—10-12 knots of breeze, with bright sunshine and a slight chop—and the 445 made the most of what the weather gods had to offer.

Beating into the chilly southerly breeze coming off the open lake, our speed over ground topped 7 knots in 12 knots of true wind speed, at an apparent wind angle of around 40 degrees.

Coming about was smooth and easy, thanks to the self-tacking jib. Although Happy Chaos is equipped with a shoal keel, the boat stood up well to the puffs, and the helm felt light to the touch. Falling off to reach back through the entrance at the east end of the harbor, the boat responded crisply and maintained good speed as we dodged the traffic headed out onto the open lake. The 445’s motion in the chop felt smooth and easy, both when driving and relaxing belowdecks. Hanses are known for their performance, and the 445 is clearly carrying on that tradition.

UNDER POWER
Despite the boat’s high topsides and attendant windage, there were no surprises while maneuvering at slow speed in close quarters. The 445
responded predictably and remained under complete control. Our test boat had a bow thruster, but it wasn’t really necessary. Hanse has also designated the 445 as one of the models on which it is offering its new SMS joystick maneuvering system. I don’t see the point, but if you absolutely dread docking, feel free to make the extra investment.

CONCLUSION

The Hanse 445 is one of those boats that was a joy to sail and review. It’s not often you find a design that combines a unique new look with practicality, comfort and performance under sail, but Hanse has done just that with this boat. I envy Sean and his family for their great new ride.

For all Hanse boat reviews, click here.

Hanse 455Hanse 575Hanse 345Hanse 355Hanse 385,

Hanse VAR 37, Hanse 495

U.S. DISTRIBUTOR Hanse Yachts USA, 978-903-0380

Images courtesy of Hanse Yachts

Related

Josie-helm-2

Chartering the U.S. and Spanish Virgins

Flying into Tortola in the British Virgin Islands one December morning, three months after Hurricane Irma, I felt like a war correspondent dispatched to the battlefront rather than a sailing magazine writer on an assignment to go cruising.As my LIAT plane descended toward Beef ...read more

Crew-North-27M004

Weather Gear for Inshore Sailing

Just because you’re not planning on braving the Southern Ocean this summer doesn’t mean that you won’t have some dicey days out on the water. If you haven’t got the right gear, a little rain or humidity can make things miserable. As with all safety equipment, “it’s always better ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

3DiNordac_webheader

3Di NORDAC: One Year In

One year ago this month, North Sails launched a cruising revolution with the introduction of 3Di NORDAC. The product promised to deliver a better cruising experience for a market that had not seen true product innovation in over 60 years. Today we’re celebrating the team that ...read more

HB96k_EP

Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP

What SUP?Dinghies and kayaks are all very well, but there’s nothing like a stand-up paddleboard for exploring interesting new shorelines while giving you a good workout. Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP makes a fine addition to your boat’s armory of anchorage toys, either on its ...read more

DSC_0031-43

Charting the USVI and Spanish Virgins

When my friends and I booked a one-way bareboat charter with Sail Caribe, starting in the U.S. Virgin Islands and finishing in Puerto Rico, we were a little nervous about what we would find in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria—even seven months later.When our plane ...read more

SailRepairKit

Know How: Sail Repair Kit

Despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be times when your sail gets damaged while at sea and needs to be repaired. First, no matter what the job, you will need to do a quick damage assessment, a task that requires a flat wooden surface, sharp scissors and a helping ...read more

01-061018ROAC-8149

Coming of Age at the Atlantic Cup

Midway through the final race of the inshore portion of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the three boats in the lead—Mike Dreese’s Toothface 2, Mike Hennessy’s Dragon and Oakcliff Racing, representing the Long Island Sound-based sailing school of the same name—suddenly broke free from the ...read more

01_silken_2018-03-08-0052

North U’s Regatta Experience Program

“Want to check the keel?” North U Coach Geoff Becker calls to me from back by the transom. We’ve just suffered our worst finish in the regatta and are absolutely flying on our way back to shore, spinnaker up and heeling at an angle that feels like maybe we’re tempting fate. ...read more