Review: Hanse 455
The Hanse 455 is a thoroughly modern cruiser with an efficient sail plan, semi-custom interior and voluminous hull that will appeal to both weekend sailors and coastal adventurers alike.
Replacing the Hanse 445, the new Hanse 455 has a newly designed Judel/Vrolijk hull which includes carbon reinforcing and a deck that proved user-friendly when I sailed it. The angular look that packages these high-volume German sailing yachts into shapely sailing boats continues on the Hanse 455. So too does the Hanse yachts signature low-profile topside silhouette, with its clean decks that has all lines in gutters.
Hanse yachts 455
The Hanse 455 can have three standard cabins (as on our review boat) or four; while the owner’s ablutions area has a separate shower. The lounge arrangement on our boat, hull #30, came with the fairly conventional U-shaped starboard dinette and bench seat opposite, but the optional swivel chairs with cocktail table between them looks a comfortable owner’s arrangement. The Hanse 455 also features one of the best dinette tables I’ve seen, with a large folding leaf, cupboard and drinkholders.
The saloon reflects the fact this style of boat will spend much of its time stationary, so maximises space to create a large and airy room while retaining nautical functionality with key items such as a chart table, rounded Italian oak furniture ends and handrails on the main hatch which has a sensible sliding washboard door. Also good is the L-shaped galley, thanks to twin sinks, five overhead cupboards including one for the microwave, and the three-burner Emo stove-oven surrounded by work surfaces with deep fiddles.
Tall topsides and a wide beam benefit the accommodation on the Hanse 455, the owner’s forward berth reflecting this with a substantial island bed, two sets of tall wardrobes and deep drawers. Importantly for our tropical summers are twin large-opening skylights and small portlights. Headroom looks to be 2m-plus at the doorway where on each side are the ablutions. There’s a large separate shower cubicle which has a useful fibreglass bench and the manual toilet next door has been optioned to electric.
The deck layout is similar to the larger Hanse 575 and has good ergonomics allowing the steerer to operate the two electric Lewmar 50 Evo winches at the twin helms. Here large wheel pedestals hold a B&G 9in Zeus plotter on each, plus on the starboard side the autopilot, Quick thruster and power controls. Close handling of these large high-sided yachts is best done with a bowthruster, Hanse also offering joystick system for coordination of fore and aft drop-down thrusters; although the single bowthruster on the test boat was sufficient to get us out of the tight marina berth.
I found sail handling a breeze as well, thanks to all lines running from the mast right back to pedestal-side jammers, so two sailors can do all the work while guests enjoy the forward cockpit unhindered. A sturdy teak table with stainless steel rails unfolds, but the shallowness of the cockpit doesn’t offer the best protection unless you take the optional sprayhood.
Behind the helms are yet more good features hidden under the transom seats, with sink and optional hotplate. So, just lower the teak swimplatform to create a pleasant barbecue area and for emergencies the liferaft is slotted here as well allowing easy deployment.
As seems to be the fashion there’s no main track for graduated control of the boom, instead a pair of blocks in front of the optional sprayhood are used, but of course this means it’s safely clear of the cockpit bench area. Similar to the Hanse 495 I tested, the sailing layout is functional for both shorthanded and crewed sailing, although a second set of winches should be optioned for increasing the sailplan by adding say a genoa or off-the-wind gennaker; and on the review boat inboard cars were installed for flying the genoa for more upwind power. Hanse continues to offer its simple sailplan option of a self-tacking roller furling headsail, as well as the more powerful genoa, while there’s in-mast or slab reefing for the Elvstrom mainsail on a Selden mast.
On deck the space is very usable, the flat teak seats making for a comfortable lounging space and deep moulded toerails guiding you safely to the pulpit. Here there’s a single roller for the 20kg Delta anchor and smallish Quick vertical windlass at deck level, which is adequate but a boat of this size would benefit from a second roller; and it looks like one could be bolted on. Folding cleats all-round, including midships, finish off a functional deck on the Hanse 455.
Like all recent Hanses the GRP hull has minimum overhangs, modest topside flare and snub-nosed bow with volume carried aft. Underwater, the large spade rudder is nearly as deep as the cast iron keel with T-bulb offered as standard but for blue-water cruising I’d opt for the L-keel that reduces the chances of catching debris and snagging fishing lines, something
I’ve done a few times in Asia in particular.
Hull construction is foam-cored with isophthalic gelcoat and vinylester laminate, but inside bulkheads have been strengthened with the introduction of carbon composite panels, intended to increase stiffness and give a greater power-to-weight ratio. On the subject of ratios, ballast-to-displacement is a fairly average 30.2 per cent, while a sail-area-to-displacement ratio (SAD) of 20.4 puts the Hanse 455 in the lively category.
Systems are well organised on the Hanse 455 and there’s room aft for a Fischer Panda 4kW generator to run whitegoods, including air-conditioning if you need it. Engine access is good and on three sides, so servicing the 53hp Volvo Penta should be fine and my only complaint being the elevated position of the starting battery, with bilge location preferable for both stability and safety.
How does it sail?
Helming on Sydney Harbour was easily done on the Hanse 455, thanks to its low-profile topsides allowing me clear views of the Opera House as I approached the Harbour Bridge. Passing the busy ferry zone I gunned the Volvo saildrive which pushed us to a nippy 9.1kts as the rev counter at my ankle registered 3000rpm. There were no complaints at the stainless steel wheel from turbulence or vibration, leaving me free to plan our sail hoist with Mary and Rick, my Windcraft crew for the day.
After pointing the bows into the light 10kt breeze I leant over and pushed the winch button to effortlessly hoist the mainsail from its lazy jacks in the shadow of the Opera House before clicking the engine out of gear and thus folding the optional Flexofold propeller as we slid out to the main harbour. Off the breeze the self-tacking jib rolled out quickly and once set was left to its own devices as I crossed the harbour on a beam reach with the B&G plotter showing 6.9kts despite the wind dropping to 8kts, so the Hanse 455 was slipping along nicely.
Perched out on the teak gunwale was comfy and I could clearly see the telltales fluttering before I went into a tack, easily walking between the helms on the teak-clad sole before resuming a standing position on starboard tack as I dodged past a tinny anchored near the Sow and Pigs reef. Sail handling is versatile on the Hanse 455 because the crew forward of the pedestals can easily manage the lines, as well as the steerer; which is good in twilight-race mode.
With no jib to worry about, the mainsail is easily controlled from these single set of aft winches, as I found when centring it and rolling into a gybe, where the solid Selden boom vang controlled the Elvstrom FCL tri-radial sail well. Sail handling is done so easily by the steerer that you forget you’re in command of substantial 45-foot yacht, which says a lot for the Hanse 455.
• Stylish and functional deck layout
• Comfortable interior with unique options
• Simple sail plan
• Shallow cockpit for offshore
• Beefed-up anchor arrangement preferable
Hanse 455 specs
Hanse 455 price: $496,500
Price as tested
Bowthruster, electric Lewmar 50 Evo winches, Italian oak, B&G navigation package, cruise package (inc. anchor and upgraded AGM batteries), comfort package (blinds, cockpit cushions LED etc.), Fusion entertainment package, and more
LENGTH 13.95m (45ft7in) overall
DRAFT 2.25m standard T-keel, 1.82m shallow L-keel, 2.25m deep L-keel
WEIGHT Approx 11,600kg
MAKE/MODEL Volvo Penta D2-55 diesel saildrive
RATED HP 53
SELF-TACKING JIB 44m²
GENOA 105% 52.5m²
Bayview Anchorage Marina,
Waterfront Office 2,
1714 Pittwater Road,
Bayview, NSW, 2104
Phone (02) 9979 1709
See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #471, on sale October 29, 2015. Why not subscribe today?
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