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The Hanse 445 heralds a new era for the German yachtbuilder. ALLAN WHITING takes on Port Phillip Bay and finds why the new 5 Series is all the rage

Hanse 445

When you descend the companionway of the new Hanse 445 the impression is chic-apartment, rather than boat. A choice of beech or mahogany veneered cabinetry and woodwork combines with low-sheen FRP walls and ceilings to give a quite homely feel that's heightened by the use of hidden strip-LED lighting from above.

The house-like atmosphere continues with two vertical windows in the saloon and glass-bowl hand basins in the bathrooms. In addition, while we're accustomed to microwave ovens in boat kitchens, the Hanse 445 supplements that feature with a pull-out coffee maker!

In a market where the boys might look mainly at the deck and the bits above it, while the girls are more influenced by what happens below, the new 445 kicks some feminine goals, for sure.

But the 445 isn't just a floating house: the sailing package is true dual-purpose.




We're all used to the appeal of sail-away pricing and the disappointment of discovering that at least another 40 grand is needed to bring the boat up to scratch. That's certainly not the case with the Hanse 445 that comes with a Cruise Pack, Comfort Pack and Navigation Pack all included in the base-boat price.

The Hanse 445 has an amazing sail-away inventory, highlighted by a pair of powered halyard winches that takes the hard work out of sail handling. Being a Hanse, the 445 sports a self-tacking headsail. Also standard is a fully-battened mainsail, with Spectra halyard and ball bearing cars fitted to an external track on a tapered-section mast. There are twin wheels with coaming perches or flip-up wooden seats for the helmsperson.

The 445 sports a full instrumentation pack including an autopilot and chartplotter, with dual-station wind, log and depth readouts. Meanwhile, there's fitted cockpit cushions, a teak-faced drop-down swim platform and teak-topped cockpit seats and sole. At the pointy end are a remote-control, electric anchor winch fitted with 60m of stainless steel chain and an anchor, while in the capacious forward locker are fenders, mooring lines and boat hook. Port and starboard rail gates and pop-up mooring cleats are also standard.

Below decks are a VHF radio, 1600W inverter/charger, two 150amp/h AGM house batteries and fire extinguisher. Interior blinds and flyscreens are also fitted.

In addition to this unprecedented standard equipment list is a deck layout with some labour-saving features. The mainsheet runs through two cabin-top blocks, rather than a potentially troublesome traveller and leads aft, where there's low-effort winch control. Sheet and running rigging clutches have been moved away from their customary cabin-top location to the cockpit coamings, putting all controls close to the helmsperson. This move eliminates the difficulty of operating clutches under a spray dodger and allows rigging adjustment without crew blocking the companionway. For single-handed sailing the 445's control location is a blessing, but club racers may find the layout somewhat cramped, even with the optional pair of sheet winches in place.

A quirk with clutch positioning is that the sheets and halyards emerge from their slots in the coach-house roof and run in shallow troughs along each coaming to the clutch banks, where it's easy to stand on the lines when moving around the boat. Early deck drawings and a prototype mock-up show the troughs covered by non-slip FRP panels, but they weren't fitted to this production boat.




A homelike white-wall white-ceiling effect is generated by the use of FRP modular panels that are joined in situ. The white accent is carried through to the cabin sole in the form of FRP ribs that separate individual floor panels. The effect is light and airy, but it's possible these ribs will show marking from foot traffic.

Square-edged cupboards, doors and drawers in mahogany or beech and the saloon cushions echo household furniture shapes and textures, so landlubbers will feel no shock. Twin vertical hull ports reinforce the homelike feel of the saloon.

The centre-piece in the saloon is a table that's mounted on a wine-storage plinth, with a unique fold-over ability to double in area. This complex piece of furniture showed a few uneven joints, but its functionality was superb.

Hanse is justifiably proud of the way it computer-matches cupboard and drawer wood-grain patterns, but the cut-out floor access lids didn't match their parent panels so well.

The test boat was a three-cabin model, with a huge forward cabin boasting an island bed and separate head and shower rooms, with ample cupboard, wardrobe and shelf space. An electric-flush loo was standard.

A four-cabin version retains the separate shower and head layout, but squeezes two double vee-berths up forward. Both layout types have twin double beds in aft cabins, sharing a large dayhead, with glass-shielded shower module.

A well-equipped galley abuts the dinette and features moulded-stone composite bench tops with integrated fiddles, double-bowl sink and top/front-opening 130lt fridge/freezer. A twin-burner gas stove with oven swings in gimbals and is supplemented by a microwave and the aforementioned coffee-maker!




I've sailed on Port Phillip Bay many times and marvelled at the resilience of my mates at the Sandringham Yacht Club: it certainly can blow across that broad expanse of shallow water! However, for my evaluation sail in the Hanse 445 the breeze was a fickle 8 to 12kts, providing a good opportunity to check out its light-weather behaviour.

The Judel/Vrolijk team certainly has done its best to provide maximum waterline length in this boat and the sleek lines take full advantage of that generous dimension. With the Volvo Penta D2-55 purring away happily as we motored down the river from Docklands into Port Phillip, I was very impressed with the speed of the boat under power and did a very short WOT run to check out its peak: would you believe 10.1kts on the GPS? I thought we may have some river-flow influence, so I did it again a few minutes later in the tide-free bay, for the same result. That's slippery.

The Hanse 445 proved just as ready to romp under sail, reaching away at 7kts-plus in the light air and 6-plus hard on the wind. Having powered winches and clutches close to the helming positions worked ideally for singlehanded sail control in cruise mode. For cruising activities, the two standard powered winches can do all the rope-handling tasks, but for genoa work optional tracks and cars and two sheet winches are a necessity. Missing from the test boat were two soft bins for the rope tails and Windcraft's Peter Hrones said that these are coming.




Keen pricing, outstandingly high-standard equipment levels, home-like accommodation and appointments, combined with a roomy cockpit and ergonomically-kind sail handling make the Hanse 445 hard to beat.




The Hanse Group seems to have come out of the global recession in excellent shape. Despite the financial gloom of 2009, Hanse Yachts continued to pour considerable capital investment into production facilities, including new milling machines and automated varnishing equipment. In May 2009, Hanse Group bought out Dehler Yachts, which many pundits saw as a brave move in such straitened times.

However, from around mid-2009 through to mid-2010, the international yacht market slowed dramatically, so those companies that continued to produce boats in pre-recession quantities began discounting heavily to clear stock. Hanse was forced to reduce production volumes and dismiss some workers, as the company built only against orders.

During this relatively quiet market period Hanse yachts conducted a redesign process, in conjunction with interior specialists Design Unlimited and long-term design collaborators Judel/Vrolijk, to come up with the 5 Series: a range of yachts with new space and volume parameters; better "bang for your buck" value; yet preserving traditional Hanse quality.

The first 5s were the Hanse 325 and 355, released in the first half of 2010, of which some 200 have been sold to date. The all-new Hanse 445 followed in September 2010 and the 495 in January 2011.

Australian distributor Team Windcraft thought enough of the new 445 to pre-order off the plan hull number 005, which was the Melbourne Docklands boat show display vessel. This boat sold during the show to a Geelong family and hull numbers 026, 036 and 037 are pre-sold ahead of their build dates. The next 445 Windcraft can get hold of is hull number 068, due here in October.

Windcraft also pre-ordered a Hanse 495 off the plan so that it could arrive here in time for the 2011 Sydney International Boat Show. The new 495 has met with instant acceptance also, with some 25 being ordered shortly after the Dusseldorf boat show. Windcraft's Peter Hrones reckons Hanse CEO Michael Schmidt is a very happy man and his company shares are now rising by the day...




(Facts & figures)
Hanse 445




Tough times in the global yacht market have created a new deal for yacht buyers. There's much more kit in the Hanse 445 than you'd expect for pricing that begins at 350K. Although targeted at cruising folk, the Hanse 445 should provide respectable club-racing performance.








Teak side decks, three-blade folding propeller, teak drop-side cockpit table, carbon-look black composite steering wheels, sheet winches, genoa cars and tracks, beech and cherry woodwork, and TV aerial cabling








MATERIAL: Foam-cored laminate hull and balsa-cored laminate deck w/ isophtalic gelcoat and vinylester first layer
TYPE: Keelboat
BEAM: 4.38m
DRAFT: 2.25m (standard); 1.82m (optional)
WEIGHT: 11,00kg
BALLAST: 3500kg




BERTHS: Three and four double-cabin layouts
FUEL: 220lt
WATER: 450lt




MAIN: 55.73m² 
JIB: 40.63m²
GENOA: 45.81m²
GENNAKER: 150.65m²




MAKE/MODEL: Volvo Penta D2-55 (Optional D2-75 Turbo)
TYPE: Saildrive
RATED HP/KW: 53/39; 75/53 (optional)




Windcraft Australia Pty Ltd,
1714 Pittwater Road,
Bayview, NSW, 2104
Phone: (02) 9979 1709




A sleek profile, modern cabin appointments and distinctive hull ports make the Hanse 445 stand out from the crowd. Uncomplicated, low-effort handling, combined with an easily-driven hull make cruising easy, while club racing performance options should produce good results.


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