By Katherine Stone
Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride
The expression that came to mind immediately was “Sweet Ride” – and I wasn’t referring to the latest ride at the CNE, a chairlift, or a new Mercedes – it was the new Hanse 418, as it cleanly cut through the water in a gusty 15-20 knot breeze averaging 6-8 knots on Lake Ontario. She was easy to steer and manoeuver even in the big gusts. The extra length over the 388 has made a big difference, with German architects Judel/Vrolijk focusing on updates to the deck layout, cockpit and stern.
Some of the most striking features of the test boat, provided by new owners Dean and Cherry Colling, started with the twin GPR y-spoke red wheels in the comfortably spacious cockpit. Next, with the exclusive Hanse design swim platform down and the two folding thwart helm stations up, the generous access through the boat instantly makes one feel at ease as if you were at home with ample entertaining/dining space. We appreciated that all sail controls come back to the helm and the twin Lewmar 45 ST EVO power winches, with lines cleverly hidden under conduits. Both helm stations have the instrument displays right next to the wheels and the chart plotter attached to the cockpit table console. The helm perch also doubles as a rope locker containing all the line tails. The synthetic Flexi-teak in the cockpit is easy to maintain with an option to also have it on the side decks. The clean-looking cockpit table houses an optional beverage fridge and the table folds down on both sides for great flow from stern to below deck and easy entertaining. Another feature is that the swim ladder easily comes down with a pressure release to avoid a sudden drop. Non-skid rungs and big handles on the ladder ease the transition out of the water for swimmers. On first inspection, the Hanse 418 ticks a lot of boxes.
The swim ladder easily lowers without a large bang.
In terms of construction, the balsa core sandwich laminate is only cored above the waterline, (below the waterline is solid fibreglass) and that is set in polyester resin, with an exterior layer of vinylester resin to improve osmosis resistance. Added to this is a robust polyester-bonding in the hull/deck connection and extra-strong epoxy resin surrounded by a structural grid in the keel plates. Everything from the keel bolts, washers and nuts to the cleats are high strength quality. Put it all together and you have a stiff boat with a straight stem that inspires confidence in rough conditions. So, when you come off a wave it doesn’t sound like the boat will break apart.
Two good sized double after cabins with wonderful light in both.
The German designed main sheet system on the coach roof is easy to use on a tack, so you don’t hear the bang of a traveller moving back and forth. With flush hatches and no lines, the deck is clean, sleek and free of hazards. The Seldon rig and high sail-area to displacement ratio provides an optimum ride in light winds, yet didn’t over-power us in the 20 knot gusts. The owners opted for a fully battened 52.5 sq m main which effortlessly goes up with the power winch and comes down like a shot into the boom bag when put into the wind with the auto-pilot. Mast steps make it easy to attach the main halyard, even when you are vertically challenged. Options are available for a gennaker or asymmetrical spinnaker. With help from the deep spade rudder, L-shaped keel and balanced rig, the boat tacks on a dime and easily slides into the grove on a new tack. Hanse’s decision for a single rudder and no chine was definitely a good choice for great performance. The owner’s choice of a 1.74m cast iron shoal draft works well for the Great Lakes, but a 2.1m keel is also available. Dean (a former sailing school instructor, race crew and Laser owner) was not totally sold on the self-tacking jib. However, he soon fell in love with how easy it was to tack and jibe the boat by himself. As a non-sailor, Cherry loves the fact that she doesn’t have to lift a finger…. only to push a button!
Below deck much can be done with the 4.17m beam which is carried nearly all the way to the stern. It is an impressive design statement with clean cabinetry, space, luxury, earth tones, wonderful natural light, all combining for a modern look. The owners opted for 3 cabins (two doubles and a queen) and one head, as they only plan on short distances until they are more comfortable with the boat. The two-cabin layout provides substantial storage under the cockpit and entry from either the cockpit or galley. There are also options to add another head, take away a cabin or add a slide-out double berth in the saloon. Adding the second head pushes the sleeping space forward to become more of a V-berth, rather than the rectangular island berth. The Owner’s cabin is definitely a huge drawing card on this boat and the second head provides an en suite. By North American standards the cushions are bit hard, but a cushioned underpad would easily make sleeping more enjoyable. The head is elegant with wonderful light, good space and a full-sized shower with closing Perspex doors. The large hull windows throughout the boat make it fun for the family to watch under the water when the boat is heeled and at anchor they provide glorious natural light.
Two good sized double after cabins with wonderful light in both.
The saloon is comfortable and inviting with easy seating for 6-8 around the fold-out table. Discretely hidden in the table’s console is a stand-up, pull-out wine/glass storage rack with more wine storage located under the cabin floor. The nav station is located on the port side. There is an option to have the chart table adjustable to make another berth, or to extend the sofa. Each LED light has a toggle that switches from white to red light for night vision and a USB charger in its base. The comfort package includes a touch screen controller and dimmer to alter the mood in the saloon. With four options to choose from for furniture, floorboards and upholstery, you can customize your below deck accommodation to look like home down to the cushions. In the new eight series running from 348 to 388 there is more luxury and finish options to chose from, providing enjoyment without limits.
The galley has the option to have a shorter L-shape, losing some storage space, although it is still ample. The Hanse-designed electric fridge has access from the top while sailing and from the front while at anchor. Covers over the sink and 2-burner stove and oven provide excellent counter space. The clever spray guard behind the sink keeps guests from being sprayed. With a 475L water tank you will rarely run out of water for cleaning up in the galley and showering.
The Yanmar diesel 39 HP engine with a two-blade fixed prop (our test model had a two-blade folding prop) made for easy docking. Although there is an option for a 57 hp engine, many owners have found the Yanmar 39 to be completely adequate. Add to that the ease of parking the boat with a bowthruster and Dean quickly felt confident docking the boat in tight conditions.
Not only is the boat easy to handle for any sailor, but it will make you feel at home even before you leave the dock with its superior levels of comfort. Hanse has set the bar high for a performance, quality and comfortable off-the-shelf sailing production boat. For these owners, it checked off every box on their wish list. Even their teenage children who are not big sailors, felt at ease while sailing and loved the look of the boat, the size, comfort and compared it to a cool condo. They couldn’t say enough about the friendly, helpful service that was provided by Pat from Pat Sturgeon Yacht Sales in Mississauga, Ontario, www.patsturgeonyachts.com., landed in Canada around $429.000 CAN. Freedom Yachts in Vancouver, B.C. also carry the Hanse line http://boatingfreedom.com