Hanse 371

By Rob MacLeod

The purpose of a boat review is to present the boat is a fair light, without prejudice or bias so that a person thinking of buying or chartering this boat gets an insight into whether or not it fits their purpose. The review should reward effective innovation in design and manufacture and point out any pitfalls or perceived problems. The better we understand the purpose of doing something, the easier it is to stay on course and reach our goal.

Honest. I wasn’t hot-dogging. But it did give us the opportunity to put the Hanse 371 through its paces. We had a two-hour window to complete the sailing portion of this review and to attempt to get a cover photo at the same time.

Unable to secure a chase boat, we put CY photographer Bill McLeod ashore on the sea wall at the entrance of the Credit River. The winds were light with some gusting and it was the only place where there was open water to capture the shot you see on the cover of this issue.

It took a series of close quarter maneuvers, getting within 15 feet of the dock and staying between the silted shoal and the rock breakwater. After a few passes, I gained confidence the boat would handle well in these tight quarters, accelerate quickly and respond to the small helm adjustments needed to get in the right position for Bill to get the shot. I think even the seagull in the picture was pleased. Now let’s get to the review.


Stepping onboard through the transom of the Hanse 371 gives the immediate impression of functionality. With the helm seat removed, there is easy and free access to the cockpit. The teak cockpit soles and seats are warm and invite you to take your shoes off and enjoy the luxury.

Looking forward, there is excellent visibility across the coach roof. With ample seating for six adults, the Hanse 371 is a serious performance cruiser with some innovative approaches to sail handling. The review boat was equipped with a standard 38m2 mainsail with an optional lazy bag system. The main is fully battened which makes it easy to induce and maintain sail shape. There are two deep reefs on a continuous line. Reefing and shaking the reef out is a one-person job.

All lines are lead back to a pair of coach top Harken 32.2 STA winches. Jam cleats hold the lines in place allowing the winch to be used for other tasks. I did notice that if there are only a few wraps on the winch, the lines tend to creep up the winch drum. The concern is that the winch loading takes place too high up the winch and could lead to some levering the winch forward. Mounting block under the winches would keep the lines coming in over the combing- at the winch base and the loads low and safe.

I loved the standard self-tacking jib. In close quarters or sailing short-handed, it just one more thing not to have to do. The single jib sheet leads back from the curved foredeck track to the coach roof mounted winches. I would like to see some sort of option to lead the jib sheets to one of the cockpit primaries, so a single handed sailor would not have to go in front of the wheel to adjust sails.

Hanse 371 -  InteriorBELOW DECK

The modern deck layout hides the fact there is tradition at work below. Going below is a trip back in time to when wood did not dominate the cabin layout. The white semi-gloss bulkheads and mahogany trim took me back to some of the early boat building in Canada. The fit and finish is excellent. You can see from the illustrations the layers of varnish and the UV protected sealer. The saloon is U shaped, with comfortable upholstery. Storage for that all-important bottle of wine is in the table pedestal-easy access from the side without having to move anything on the table.

The navigation table, opposite, has seating on both sides of a good-sized chart table. Access to the electrical panel is above the nav station, with additional wiring for easily adding electronics. All cabinet fronts are varnished wicker. This seems to further lighten the look of the interior.

The Hanse 371 comes in a two or three cabin layout. Our review boat had one cabin forward and one aft, on the port side. Hanse prides itself on its ability to customize. Producing only 300 boats each year, the German boat builder will accommodate owner’s changes. Some of the common factory changes are an extended galley in the two-cabin model. This extends the galley further into the shower area and storage/cockpit locker. A visit to Champion Yachts website (www.championyachts.com) will give you excellent pictures and a virtual tour of each model in the Hanse line. 

One comment about the storage locker in the two-cabin model: there is a large cockpit locker on the starboard side. Access to this locker can be made from a small door in the head area. My concern is that should the cockpit locker be opened during rough weather, it is possible to take water into the locker. The access door opens into the cabin area. Having crossed the Gulf Stream is less than ideal conditions; my concern is to have such a large expanse open to flooding. I would recommend any sailor taking the 371 in high wave conditions add a deadbolt to the inside of the cockpit locker, so it could not be opened from above while underway. This situation is not present in the 3- cabin model, as the cockpit locker bottoms out at the ceiling of the optional cabin.

The L-shaped galley has two stainless steel sinks, adequate counter space, a large icebox and good storage space. The area is compact and comfortable of preparing meals at anchor or underway.


The designers of the Hanse 371 are non other than Friedrich Judl and Rolf Vrolijk, designers of the America’s Cup winner “Alinghi”. You can feel the pedigree in the acceleration and handling. No just a flash in the pan, Vrolijk started sailing with Hanse boat builder Michael Schmidt in the early 70’s on OK Dinghies.

With the semi-gloss finish, the interior is bright and easy on the eyes, with plenty of light from the cabin windows and deck hatch. The cabin sole is marine ply with each inspection ports precision cut. There are no hardware fittings or cutouts to trip over in the night. Little suction cups are used to open the inspection doors.

The deck and topsides are balsa cored to minimize weight without compromising strength. Stringers and floors are hand taped to the hull for strength and integrity. The mast is stepped to a compression rod that, although resides in the main saloon, is not overly intrusive.


The boat is powered by a 30 hp Volvo Penta sail drive. A 40 hp model is optional. There is access to the engine compartment through the aft cabin, the companionway ladder and there is access through an inspection port in the shower area. Although this option was not tested as part of this review, the boat was fitted with an optional vacuum flush toilet. If the reader is in the habit of entertaining non-sailing guests and is tired of the ‘head lesson’ the $5500 CAD option may be something to think about.

The electrical system is well laid out with raceways for adding additional gear. The stainless steel hawse pipe guiding the wiring from the cabin top to the mast will go a long way to relieving the potential from chaffing  and wear to the all important connections to mast mounted antennae and wiring. Hanse uses primarily prefabricated wood sections rather than fiberglass for many of the boat’s interior finishing. This allows complete access to wiring and fittings, including the traditional through bolted, toe rail and hull/deck joint.


The Volvo sail drive has more than adequate power to move this boat. Coming out of a tight marina situation, I readily put the Hanse through a number of 3- point turns. The boat could be turned easily in just over its length. Two tight turns in open water had the boat completing a figure-8 in about 45 to 50 feet. This is a very tight turning radius. The 371 accelerated well and stopped well.


We started this review with how well the Hanse 371 sails. When I hear the words performance cruiser, I put on my cruising hat, not my performance hat. Having had the fortunate opportunity to cruise much of the North American continent, I want to know the boat will not get sloppy and become overpowered when the weather changes. I also believe the other criteria for being a cruising boat, is one person can handle the sails, because the other one is usually asleep or fixing a meal just when you need them.

The 95% jib is a breeze (so to speak) to handle. Mounted on a concave track, the self-tacking 9/lO’s rig works. Period. The mainsail is large, (38 m2) fully battened and is attached to the mast with roller cars. Using the optional main drop system (which incorporates lazy guys and sail cover) the main went up and down with relative ease. We were able to quickly putin and shake out a reef using the continuous reefing lines. There are two deep reef points on the standard sail.

One thing that did catch me unawares is that I usually heave-to to put a reef while short handed. The self-tacking jib prevented that. Lying a-hull seemed to work almost as well, except you would have to furl the jib or listen to it beat itself to death.


There are many things good things to say about the Hanse 371 and few drawbacks. If you are looking for a boat that will be fun around the buys and comfortable to take the family vacation in, I think this is one boat to consider. There is room forward for a single anchor forward on the bow roller. The second anchor would have to be stowed aft and brought forward when needed.

If you are more serious about racing, then the optional 145% genoa is a strong  consideration.

The Hanse is priced in Euros. Conversions are made at time of agreement. Future payments are calculated at time of payment. If you are good with  the money market you may save yourself some Canadian dollars. If not, it may be wise to put some money in Euros to guarantee the price of your boat.

Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s September 2003 issue.


LOA: 37’1″/11.25m

LWL: 32’3″/9.85m

Beam: 11’8″/3.59m

Draft (shoal/deep):6’5″/5’5″/3’5″/1.98m/1.69m/1.05m 

Displacement: 13,117 lbs/5,950 kg

Ballast: 4,949 lbs/2,245 kg

Sail area (Main): 409 sq. ft./38m2 

Power: Volvo Penta MD 2030

Fuel/water: 17.6 gal/48.4 gal/80 L / 220 L

Designer: Friedrich Judi and Rolf Vrolijk

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