sail-hanse_430-largeWhat we like about Hanse is – first, performance – and second, price. The Hanse 430, like its siblings, tends to have a large sail area to weight ratio and a sense of simplicity few have been able to even consider. But I sense that it's the performance moniker that drives the Hanse team every day.

Sailing a Hanse is a treat in both light to medium and heavy air. The design team has been able to balance such a wonderful hull – known for its volume and size – with stability. Every time I step onto one of these boats, I sense performance and speed.

The bow, with its distinctive stem, is complemented perfectly by the wide-open transom. In Europe, the 430 is doing well in races; it's the 430 that Canadian dealer Pat Sturgeon and Hans Fogh pick for their race outings.

First impressions are a very clean and practical layout, with an efficient, self-tacking jib being an integral part of this boat's success. Whether you race or cruise, the simplicity of a self-tacker makes any type of sailing you do a breeze. Tacking in tight channels and easy single-handing are great features; Hanse has done its homework. The recessed furling drum maximizes the forward sail area and ensures perfect sail trim.

On first sight, its huge mainsail will impress you; first thoughts may be that it would be tough in a tack. Far from it – balanced with the self-tacker set up, it's a snap. One thing you might consider is getting a new blade jib – one that fills out the fore triangle a bit better by adding sail area forward (a tweak that Hans Fogh has identified especially if you think you may wish to race).

We loved the spacious cockpit area – large enough to handle a big crowd; the teak cockpit flooring is also a nice touch. In fact, during our test sail, under a full dodger and cockpit cover, there was more than enough room for five large guys. The sexy twin wheels are standard and the large non-skid deck is a bonus. So is the visibility at all points. The control lines are lead aft under a well-fitted deck plate adding to the look of style and simplicity. The electric winch makes raising the main sail a breeze and opts for additional brute force trimming, if ever required. The remaining winches are well-placed near the wheels for easy single-handing. We loved the new large lazarette (starting to become more popular) where you could easy stow a roll-up dinghy and its related gear. Being able to hide your stuff is a great trend!

This Hanse is rigged just for me; it boasts a wonderfully functional lazy jack system that is integrated into its boom cover that makes stowing the fully battened mainsail a snap for such a large sail.

The flush coach roof has large opening hatches and the deck windows are well aligned; we loved the neatly fashioned recessed hull windows. Together, they combine to add a bright and open feel below. The opening hatches along the coach roof open also allow great ventilation below.

Below decks does not disappoint either and while some have commented on the small nav table, I don't have an issue with it. Hanse's unique building style allows for some customization; offsetting from the centerline, the berth configuration can be tweaked to provide a larger bed. You can even tweak to allow for two cabins in the stateroom and one or two aft. But the "standard" of a three-cabin, two head layout will do just fine.

If the truth be known, the interior style, design and layout is not by accident. There is a rumour that Hanse's interior design team is 100% female who have done a far better job balancing function with design – and style that will endure for many years. Personally, I like the use of white bulkheads below; the balance with the satin finished mahogany and cherry wood trim and wood joinery is very appealing.

Today, lead times on ordering are the new norm, providing a great opportunity to customization below and above decks. Hanse's neat web site feature at http://www.hanseyachts.com/US/Yachts/Yacht%20configurator.aspx is a wonderful tool for just that. A word of caution: budget your time as the options and features they have aggregated here are endless.

Hanse's craftsmanship is evident with its wonderful handrails placed exactly where you need them. Forward in the main cabin, there is tons of space and a nice built-in table/desk. The forward head is spacious, bright and easy to keep clean. Its fittings and treatments are also well engineered.

Moving aft, the main salon is a great space with wonderful headroom and an engaging layout, perfect for those evenings when entertaining below is a must. There are two, built-in chairs opposite a U-shaped lounge chair that easily sits four, while the table (in between the chairs) doubles as a functional nav table. Personally, with the increased use of electronics in navigation today, Hanse has found a wonderful way to increase the use and functionality of the space below without trying to put in a traditional element based on large paper charts.

The large galley boasts a two-burner, gimbaled stove, optional microwave, a large fridge with dual access from above and side and a neat counter extension. There are the obligatory twin sinks and tons of storage for longer passages. The aft head, opposite, has a second shower and is large enough to make it easy to move about in.

The twin cabin layout in our boat had double beds, ample lockers and hanging space for foul weather gear, life jackets and such.

Our test sail during a mid-October medium dense breeze pushed the boat well. Stiff and stable in the 18- 20 knots that surrounded us, this boat performed well. While I felt somewhat trapped in the fully covered cockpit, I was impressed with the visibility and style and agreed with the owner that this is a must in order to extend the season. Finally the Yanmar engine pushed us effortlessly to our dock.

All in all, another 10 out of 10 for Hanse. The 430 is well-designed with a wonderful balance of function, style and speed.

By John Kerr

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

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