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Replacing the most popular boat in the range is a tricky operation, but Hanse has taken no risks with the introduction of the 415 that retains all the 400’s good points and adds some of its own. Allan Whiting reports…

After evaluating the new Hanse 385 against the outgoing 370, we were prepared for much the same exercise in the 415 vs 400 comparison, but that's not how it worked out. Sure, the 415 has a new-generation interior and deck layout that comfortably outclasses the 400's arrangement, but the 415 doesn't exhibit the rig changes that the 385 has. When we pitted the 385 against the 370, we noticed the more powerful fore-triangle in the new boat, but the 415's rig dimensions are almost identical to the 400's. If it ain't broke, why fix it…

While the 415's 9/10 rig, designed around a self-tacking headsail, is pretty much a carryover the hull certainly isn't. Where the 400 had balsa-cored deck and hull laminate to the waterline and foam laminate below, the 415 retains balsa-cored structure to the waterline and is monolithic below. Hull shape is also different, with broader, flatter stern sections and less rocker fore and aft of the keel. Plumb bow and stern profiles descend below the waterline, rather than "knuckling" above it and the rudder area is greater.

Afloat, the 415 retains the 400's painted cove line, but that line is broken by three fixed hull ports on each side, instead of only one. The former's hull ports make a big difference to ambient lighting, when the deck hatch blinds are slid shut to keep sun-heat out.

On deck, the 415 boasts an additional flush hatch above the forward cabin, giving it a total of four opening hatches. The forward hatch is large enough to swallow a folded sail.

A broader stern increases cockpit space and, through aft-positioning of the clutches, gets by with only four winches instead of the 400's usual six. This absence of halyard winches on the coachouse roof allows fitment of purpose-designed storage trays and cupholders, and watertight, lidded bins behind the dodger. However, some deck layout changes to the 415 are less obvious, including full-length toerails that are almost mini-bulwarks; teak-faced rope bins, with gas-strut lids that double as helm seats; and a slope change to the coach house aft moulding, allowing comfortable lounging on the cockpit seats.

A solidly mounted drop-side cockpit table doubles as a foot brace and grabrail, and doesn't crowd cockpit space when folded. The test boat had a swivelling chartplotter on the aft end of the table.

As with previous-model Hanses the transom folds down to make a swimplatform, but greater stern beam now means a larger platform. Many yachts have integrated swimladders, but the Hanse's is stowed separately.

Like other new 5 Series Hanses the 415 has Dehler's companionway door system with a drop-down door and boasts a "staircase" entry that's safe to walk down facing forward. A bonus is a longer engine 'room' under the stairs.

Below decks the Hanse 415 expands on the 400's layout options and exhibits clever use of space. A three-cabin, two-head layout continues, as does the two-cabin, single-head layout, but, in response to customer requests, the aft storage cabin has been shrunk, to allow either a small office module between it and the galley, or an extended galley, with second fridge option. The standard galley is slightly larger than the 400's and bench and cupboard space can be increased in two-cabin boats by around 30 per cent.

The 415's dinette is pentagon-shaped, not rectangular, taking maximum advantage of hull taper. Settees are arranged around this pentagonal plan and the dining table is shaped to fit, so that no-one needs to reach for the table. When the drop-side is raised, up to nine people can share the table. The portside chart table is located between two settee cushions and can drop down, converting the space into a three-seat settee, or a single bed.

Wine storage is built into the centre pedestal and there's an additional bottle rack under the cabin sole, beside the table. Cabin lighting and dimming is controlled from an optional central panel in the saloon, on the end of the galley island.

Deck hatches are flush-mounted and there are ample opening ports in all cabins and the saloon. Ventilation shouldn't be an issue, even when berthed crosswind.

We had a light southwesterly for our test sail, with breeze strength varying from three to 10kts. The 415 ghosted out of its pen producing little noise or vibration and motoring around 7.5kts was effortless, with very little rudder shake under power. Reversing was positive, once the folding prop got a grip on the water and there was no tendency for the rudder to go over-centre.

We hoisted the mainsail with the boom dropped off to leeward, to allow sail bag access clear of the dodger, while the self-tacker unfurled rapidly. Instead of a traveller the mainsheet ran to cabin-top blocks, positioned ahead of the dodger. The German mainsheet setup and clutch bank positions allowed sheeting and locking from either the port or starboard aft winch. The Hanse 415 had no cabin-top winches but a pair of lidded rope bins aft, so no rope tails in the cockpit.

On the wind in light air the 415 consistently managed around half true wind speed and pointed in the 40- to 45-degree range. White-sail reaching saw boat speed increase by one to 1.5kts. Helm feel from the gunwale seating was excellent and gave the steerer a good view of the telltales. The boat self-tacked easily, while the helmsperson strolled from one wheel to the other.

Hoisting an asymmetric spinnaker in its snuffer tube proved easy enough and turning blocks on the broad stern provided a sweet sheeting angle. With the wind on the beam we saw 8kts on the speedo in 10kts true. The aso was tacked to the 415's short bowroller, so gybing the asymmetric was an outside-forestay operation. Shorthanded crews could easily unfurl the self-tacking jib before a gybe and sheet it hard, to form a "fence" and help the aso go around.

The 415 has put on some pudding in comparison with the 400 - around a tonne, of which 200kg is in the keel - so we doubt the club-racing Hanse 400 fleet will be embarrassed by the arrival of the 415. We'd love to have a twilight fang between the new 415 and 385. I suspect the lighter 385 might have the edge around the cans in the right breeze.

Ever wondered how a yacht gets from the cargo-ship wharf to your berth? ALLAN WHITING watched a new Hanse 415 get 'assembled' in Sydney's Pittwater.

"The truck and crane will be there at 7.30, if you want to photograph the whole procedure," were the instructions. So that's how I came to be standing out of harm's way, in the morning chill, at Bayview Slipway.

Into this compact yard were crammed a Liebherr mobile crane, its support truck and a boat-transporting prime mover towing a low loader. On the back of the low loader sat a brand-new, shrink-wrapped Hanse 415 hull, cast-iron keel, rudder, mast and boom, as well as boxes of rigging and fittings.

The truck, crane and slipway boys had done all this before, so the process went like clockwork. Firstly, a cradle to support the boat hull was positioned beside the crane and the 415 was lifted gently, in broad slings, from the back of the trailer to this ground cradle. While that was proceeding, the mast was lifted off the trailer and positioned on horses for assembly and the bottom of the keel was antifouled.

Next lift was the hefty iron keel from its prone position in the shipping cradle. It was lowered into place on a slipway trolley and held vertically by ratchet straps. While the crane reconnected to the slings to lift the hull, shipwrights masked up the keel and coated its hull-mating surface with a generous layer of epoxy resin.

Then came the tricky bit: the boat was lifted clear of its cradle and lowered ever so slowly and ever so gently onto the keel. The Bayview Slipway boys spent many minutes making sure the hull was absolutely level and the keel absolutely vertical, before the keel-bolt nuts were tightened over backing plates inside the bilge and the crane disconnected. Excess epoxy that squeezed out of the hull-keel joint was cleaned off and the keel and hull faired off with sanders.

Oblivious to the logistics being carried out on the slipway the riggers from Ruel Rigging were busy fitting sail tracks, spreaders, wire, foil, halyards and electrical cable to the stick. By the time the keel was tightened and bedded in place, the mast was ready for fitment.

A balance-positioned rope sling pulled the mast from horizontal to vertical, with the tip just under the crane pulleys and the assembly was lowered gently onto the boat's mast step. Forestay, cap shroud and backstay connections stabilised the mast, after which the crane hook was freed.

I had to leave before the rudder was pushed into place, to test sail a Hanse 415 that had been prepared earlier. The things you have to do…

Specifications: HANSE 415

w/ $8624 free interior wood upgrade

Cruise Pack (teak cockpit sole, spring cleats, anchor with power windlass, liferaft storage on transom, sail bag and lazy jacks, mainsail car slides, mast steps, additional 165amp/h AGM battery, 350W inverter, cockpit shower, wind indicator, fenders and mooring lines), Comfort Pack (two lifeline gates, cockpit table light, coachroof hatch vent, companionway light, three-burner stove with oven, indirect saloon lighting, LED overheads, central lighting control, hatch and port blinds, sink and cooker covers), Navigation Pack (Simrad IS20 wind, graphic display, touchscreen chartplotter and autopilot), Performance (two Lewmar 45ST EVO secondary winches, genoa track and cars, North sails, gennaker handling kit and folding three-blade prop), twin wheels, powered secondary winches, microwave oven, iPod dock, American cherrywood kit, Royal teak cabin sole, upgraded upholstery, bimini and dodger


MATERIAL: Vinylester balsa sandwich hull and deck; solid laminate hull below waterline
TYPE: Keelboat
BEAM: 4.17m
DRAFT: 2.1m (1.72m optional)
WEIGHT: 8900 to 9360kg
BALLAST: 2900kg

BERTHS: Two doubles (three cabins optional)
FUEL: 160lt
WATER: 320lt (+200lt optional)

MAINSAIL: 52.5m²
HEADSAIL: 34.5m² (self-tacking)
GENOA: 40m² (optional)

MAKE/MODEL: Volvo D2-40
TYPE: Saildrive
PROP: Fixed two-blade (folding two-blade and three-blade optional)

Team Windcraft Pittwater,
Bayview Anchorage Marina,
Waterfront Office 2,
1714 Pittwater Road,
Bayview, NSW, 2104
Phone: (02) 9979 1709
Fax: (02) 9979 2027

From Trade-a-Boat Issue 430, Aug-Sept 2012. Photos: Allan Whiting.

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