A Stylish German cruiser

Hanse Yachts sure have come a long way since they first appeared in North America in the late '90s. Back then, I thought the boats were small and unremarkable except for the fact that they were built in the former East Germany. But I soon learned that Hanse’s founder and chief visionary Michael Schmidt had big plans. Since then, Hanse Yachts has indeed evolved into one of the highest volume builders in the world. And as I found out during a test sail of the Judel/Vrolijk-designed Hanse 495 on a spectacular late fall day in New England, there are plenty of reasons why Hanse Yachts continue to propagate.

The 495 has striking lines – the bow is plumb, the topsides are tall with oversized hull ports, the coach roof is low slung, and the stern is wide. Stepping aboard (several fixed steps on the dock made it easy to get up through the lifeline gate), I liked the easy-to-navigate side decks, though I’d liked to have seen a longer coach roof grab rail. I was also impressed with the spacious cockpit centred around a large, sturdy table with dropdown leaves. The cockpit seats are wide enough to be comfortable, long enough to stretch out on, and the stainless steel framed table provides excellent hand-holds and brace points. The transom drops down to reveal a large swim platform and clever life raft storage. Access through the stern area is excellent due to the boat’s dual helm configuration. Lines led through a bank of stoppers to winches mounted close to the helms making sail trim from both helm stations a snap. The double-ended mainsheet and self-tacking jib make it extremely easy to sail single-handed, but there
is no traveller. The only way to depower the main is with the vang. On deck storage is available in the good-sized cockpit lockers under the seats and a large sail locker forward.

The accommodations plan is impressively customizable for a production boat. Three very different basic cabin layouts are offered. The boat I tested had the master cabin forward, two guest cabins aft, and a large sail locker forward, but many different variations, including choices of wood veneers (Mahogany, cherry, or teak) and upholstery colours are available. No matter what version you choose, the main salon will be open and stylish with a spacious, Euro-style galley, a large settee, and significant (6’ 10”) headroom. The main salon is bright thanks to well-designed hull ports and well-ventilated by four opening ports and two large opening hatches. There’s also room for a proper, forward facing nav station with a large chart table and a good-sized head.

Hanse pitches the accommodations design as “loft style.” This is readily apparent in the master cabin forward. It has a legitimate walk-around “bed,” generous storage, and an ensuite “bathroom” that you might actually find in a small city “loft” instead of the triangle-shaped bunk that you often find in forward cabins on many boats. An equally well-proportioned and well-equipped master cabin aft is also available, but I’d opt for the superior light and ventilation available forward. The guest cabins are much less “loft-like,” but still have enough berth and storage space to be comfortable.

I test sailed the 495 off Manchester, Massachusetts, under crisp sunny skies in about 8-12 knots of breeze and flat water during a highly unusual warm spell last fall. Now while it wasn’t the best day to see how the boat would handle a blow, I can report that it handled the light stuff extremely well. The helm was light and well balanced. I appreciated the tactile feel of the steering and the way the hull cut a clean wake through the water. Visibility to leeward and of the jib telltales was excellent from each of the helm stations and the seats were comfortable though they felt a little exposed. I also liked the easy visibility and access to the chart plotter mounted on the back of the cockpit table, and that the crew could both trim and reef without ever needing to go forward.

Upwind, in the slightest of puffs, I was able to get boat speed to just touch seven knots, briefly, and to tack the boat through 80 degrees. But speeds in the high 5s and 6s were the norm in the mostly single digit winds. Still, pretty good considering this is a 30,000 lb., 50-foot boat. The 495’s excellent light air performance is really not too surprising considering the low-drag hull was drawn by the go-fast guys at Judel/Vrolijk, the L-shaped, 8,830 pound keel draws almost seven feet, and even with the self-tacking jib, sail area totalled 1,272 sq ft. And it was easy to sail too. Once the in-mast furling main and self-tacking jib were trimmed for sailing hard on the breeze, all I needed to do was put the helm over and sail to where the telltales told me to go. And if we did need to trim, a powered winch was there to provide the muscle.

The standard 72 HP engine provides plenty of power and the deep rudder and L-shaped keel provides plenty of manoeuvrability, but we didn’t really need any of that to get off the dock due to the dual retractable thrusters our test model was equipped with; all we needed to do was deploy the thrusters, and push the joystick (both thrusters are controlled with a single joystick) to the right. The ability to simply power sideways out of a tight spot is cool, but you must to remember to retract the thrusters before accelerating or they will be damaged. There were no surprises once we were powering out of the harbour. Boat speed under power was in the 8-9 knot range. Engine noise was noticeable but acceptable down below.

The hull is built of solid, hand-laid fibreglass below the waterline and the deck and the hull above the waterline is cored with balsa. The hull is stiffened with a solid fibreglass grid. Both the hull and deck are laminated with Isophtalic gelcoat and vinylester resin. Both the standard T-shaped, and the optional L-shaped keels are cast iron. Overall construction quality was good.

If you ever use words like classic, or traditional, or transom overhang, to describe your ideal cruising boat, the Hanse 495 is not going to be your cup of tea. But, if you’re looking for a spacious, stylish, well-designed boat that’s fun and easy to sail, AND will turn heads on any harbour tour, the 495 may be right in your wheelhouse. It combines attitude and elegance with performance and function beautifully.

By Bill Springer

To see if this boat is available, go to www.boatcan.com to check listings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Destinations

  • Prev
At the 2019 Vancouver International Boat Show I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allyson and ...
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...


The Marina at Blind ChannelOne of my favourite places

By Marianne Scott

Sailing north of Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and the Broughton Archipelago offer cruisers a bevy islands with ample anchorages. Tides cause swift currents to run through the islands’ waterways. Few marinas are found in this large, sparsely populated region but one that provides all the services boaters need and especially enjoy is Blind Channel, a marina and resort operated by the Richter family located on Mayne Passage on the east side of West Thurlow Island (50 24. 82N, 125 30. 00).

Read more about the Blind Channel Resort...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
At the end of last month, Canadian sailors gathered on the Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain ...
In 2019, C-TOW celebrates its 35th anniversary of providing 24/7 “Peace of Mind Boating” for ...
West Vancouver Yacht Club reports that following an independent certification process the Georgia ...
It has been hot in the Abacos this winter. Whoever said this area was cool this time of year must ...
Unfortunately this is not a picture from a boat but was taken on the evening of February 27, 2019 ...
On March 1, Tom Ramshaw of Stoney Lake Yacht Club was honoured with the most prestigious National ...
Vero Beach, aka Velcro Beach, lived up to its reputation again. Our original plan was to be there ...
My husband and I were visiting the Bra d'Or Lake from Newfoundland in our 39 foot Sea Ray ...
After an autumn in Canada, we arrived back in northern Florida at Adamant 1 on January 3rd and with ...
This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...

Swift Trawler 47By Andy Adams

You might look at the pictures of the new Beneteau Swift Trawler 47 and think that this is not a “performance boat”, but I think it certainly is, and here is why; it can top out at 30 mph to get you from A to B quickly or to beat the weather in, so it’s pretty fast, but it can also loaf along doing 1,250 rpm making 9.3 mph and at that pace, it travels 2.4 miles on a gallon of fuel. That’s great performance in my books!

With a light displacement of almost 28,000 lbs, this is a big boat. In fact, it looks and feels more like a small ship than a big boat.

Read more about the Swift Trawler 47......

 

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1When Beneteau introduced their new Oceanis 46.1, they were inspired by the fact that their previous Oceanis 45 was one of Beneteau’s best sellers and the new 46.1 had to be a clearly superior boat. The Oceanis range is about space and comfort for cruising while still delivering strong performance.

The yachting world has now recognized the Oceanis 46.1 as being just such a worthy successor. On January 19th, 2019, the Oceanis 46.1 won the highly regarded title of European Yacht of the Year in the “Family Cruiser” category.

Read More about the Oceanis 46.1......

DIY & How to

  • Prev
I’ve had two emails over the past few weeks with a count-down to launch (47 days per the last ...
Electrical ground is a term used to describe the reference point in an electrical circuit from ...
Last time we looked at making proper electrical connections – the tools, supplies and methods ...
Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is ...
When a boat is in the water, the bilge will often collect water that enters the boat from weather, ...
Recently I suggested doing an off-season (winter) project with a potential client, and my ...
A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...

Sea to Sky SailingSea to Sky Sailing has just been approved as the only Royal Yachting Association (RYA) recognized training centre on the west coast of North America just in time to deliver an epic 2019 season!

“This transition from our previous International Yacht Training (IYT) certification to RYA is a huge benefit to our students as it provides them certification that is known globally as the gold standard for yacht training.  The RYA requires training centres to undergo annual inspections of their vessels, business practices and training delivery in order to maintain a strong standard and guarantee a high quality experience for students. 

Read More about Sea to Sky Sailing......

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
The Walker Bay Venture 14 claims to be the world’s first luxury Explorer Sport Tender. It is ...
Mercury Marine is pleased to announce the launch of the new MerCruiser V8 6.2L 370hp Jet Ready ...
My history with the Cayenne goes back many years, as I was at the launch of the original vehicle ...
Last month, Mercury Marine has announced the launch of the 400hp Verado outboard engine, the ...
Featuring advanced, intuitive 3D controls, Zipwake Dynamic Trim Control Systems deliver a more ...
Gina de Vere approached me at the Canadian Yachting booth at this year’s Vancouver International ...
A revolutionary “assisted docking” system that provides a glimpse into the future of boating ...
After developing the Figaro Beneteau 3, the first production foiling sailing yacht, Groupe Beneteau ...
You most likely operate your vessel with batteries that are rechargeable. Rechargeable batteries ...
This past decade has been a real up-and-down ride for the companies who make boating equipment. ...