Toby Hodges gets behind the wheel of the Hanse 415 and finds a well built economical family cruiser that can be easily sailed shorthanded
Are you in the market for a new, economical family cruiser of 40-45ft? Then you’re in luck, the Hanse 415 could be everything you are looking for.
Some of the most impressive new launches I’ve tested recently have been in this sector, including the Oceanis, Sun Odyssey and Bavaria Vision ranges.
With this 415, Hanse have made it in among the big four manufacturers. This, of course, doesn’t make the decision about which to choose any easier, but competition-driven quality puts the buyer into a nice position.
How does the Hanse 415 sail?
‘Delightfully simple sailing pleasure’ sums up the Hanse 415. Contracting Judel-Vrolijk to draw their modern, sprightly yet beamy hull lines has proved a winning formula for Hanse, who have developed some of the cleanest deck profiles around. Coachroofs look sleek, though cockpit protection can suffer. But high topsides buy roomy interiors.
The 415 continues this trend, with running rigging led right aft to powered winches (optional) directly forward of each wheel. Another Hanse speciality is the use of a self-tacking jib for ease of sail-handling, meaning one person can hoist, tack and manage the sails while the family relax in
a cockpit free of lines.
The generous main provides the grunt in light airs and is sheeted using the German system, also led back to the two winches.
We started sailing conservatively with two reefs in the main, broad reaching at 7.5-8 knots in 15-17 knots apparent, and close reaching at 8 knots in 25 apparent.
A similar-sized Hallberg-Rassy 412 just eased passed us on a broad reach, but only when they had in one less reef. Shaking out our second reef, we were overpressed upwind, but clocked a sprightly 7.5 knots.
The Jefa steering helps to reinforce the feeling of being in complete control at the helm. In the gusts it proved easy to spill any excessive force, or electrically trim the sails from the helm – and although it was a doddle to sail the Hanse 415 solo like this, I was fortunate to have ex-Admiral’s Cup sailor Karl Dehler with me to provide a masterclass on mainsail trim.
The result was a very pleasant afternoon’s sailing in Force 5 gusting 6 and flat water – easy, comfortable and fun.
An inviting, shallow companionway leads into a bright, airy and spacious interior with 1.9m headroom. The test boat was in satin-finished cherry trim, but Hanse offer multiple options.
In the two-cabin layout on test, I found the L-shaped passageway galley practical, with generous worktop and bracing aft for when heeled.
She feels a lot more spacious than the Hanse 395, notably in the aft cabin, which sports a generous double berth, and the heads with separate shower. And there’s still good headroom forward in a large master cabin.
Yes, the latches and lockers are annoying and loud and some doors don’t line up properly, divulging her mass production build – production is actually very clever, with man hours cut to a minimum (300 hours).
But in general the interior did nothing to prevent me from gaining a decent overall impression of the Hanse 415.
This review first appeared in the March 2013 edition of Yachting World magazine.
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It would be tough to make the 415 any easier to sail solo yet still provide the pleasure she affords on the helm. A spacious, comfortable, good-value family cruiser with generous stowage.