|The Price Is Right|
Andi Robertson comes on down to Kip for a Clyde sail on Hanse’s new 430 which promises to be big on performance, but easy on price….
‘HANSE yachts sell themselves’. That is a throwaway comment delivered partly in jest during our Hanse 430 test sail out from Inverkip, but looking over the 430 on a dreich Scottish late summer’s day it is easy to see why there is a large measure of truth in this proposition.
Their simple principles are not easy to achieve. They strive for short lead in times for new models and because the new boats sell through quickly, they are able to incorporate new trends and ideas and bring them to market early.
Where they have been especially successful is in producing what they call a high performance to price ratio - basically keeping prices down, but not compromising too much on performance.
Neither have they made the mistake of trying to produce niche market race models, although a flagship Hanse 430e special has been racing successfully at European regattas this season, including taking second place in class at Mallorca’s Copa del Rey.
Hanse have pushed hard in every area. Sailing performance has always been near the top of the design brief, and who better to work with than double America’s Cup and TP52 MedCup winning designers Judel Vrolijk, who also have a long history of working with production builders.
They strike a good balance between a moderate hull form which offers good stability and is not too sticky in light conditions, and a more generous high volume hull.
The 430 should race well under IRC and our Kip based test boat is due to take part in next season’s Bell Lawrie Scottish Series.
While on deck and in the cockpit it is all about clean lines and simplicity.
Down below the options are many, ensuring that the customer can spec his boat how he or she likes in terms of layout.
There are four options for the forward cabin, two which maximise the overall sleeping accommodation to eight berths without requiring the use of the large saloon: That is with the two double aft cabins version, as opposed to the one double aft cabin to starboard.
The deep keel version draws 2.16m (7ft4in) which is standard, while there is a shallow draft version of 1.79m (5ft8in). The usual 9/10ths rig set-up sets a 105% self tacking jib and there is also an optional 140% genoa. But one of the most memorable features of the Hanse 430 is the large, powerful mainsail.
The hull has simple, clean lines which do not feign to disguise the performance potential of the boat. The bow sections are clean with a chisel fronted stem. The transom is wide and open with the flat cockpit floor running to a clean angle. There is no additional ironmongery hanging over the stern either. Yes, there is a bathing ladder, but it is removable.
I rather like the bold angles which the designers are prepared to use, from the cockpit shape which makes it feel big and roomy, without being overlarge – there are still wide sidedecks running right aft to the stern.
The coachroof is flush and flat with large opening hatches. The decks too are flat and the deckline windows are pleasingly sympathetic, as are the neatly recessed hullside windows. No cheap alloy surrounds here thank you.
Hanse make a big play of the option to use epoxy laminate. The vacuum bagged construction over a Corecell foam core costs extra and saves half a tonne in weight.
There are performance benefits, but in this type of boat unless you are competing as a stripped out racer, as some will, then the advantages are more in stiffness and longevity.
Traditional polyester resins are more prone to water take up, but modern vinylester resins used in production boat building have significantly reduced this concern. Epoxy resins have a greater resistance to micro cracking and fatigue and improved impact resistance.
True to the Scottish summer we have had, the conditions were less than perfect for our sail on the Hanse 430. There was scarcely a ripple to break the mirrored surface of the Clyde. There was a steady drizzle, low hanging cloud and flat light.
Immediately you are struck by the pleasant ergonomics of the cockpit. There is ample room behind the twin leather covered wheels, good foot support and good helmsman seating outboard.
Steering felt appreciably light and the boat felt responsive, even if it did have a little too much play in it. But even at slow speeds, with little flow over the semi-balanced blade, the boat responded well and in truth we were surprised how well the 430 answered the smaller demands when crawling through the water.
I have never been keen on the mainsheet system where the traveller and the sheeting are compromised. In the light breeze it was near impossible to track the boom above the centre-line without applying excessive sheet.
If you were looking to race this boat seriously then you would certainly want a cockpit mounted track, but this is, after all, a cruiser which will race occasionally.
Otherwise the working areas looked to perform well. The cockpit is comfortable and secure. The futuristic looking cockpit table abandons any pretence to wood and is acrylic leaved. It actually contrasts well with the teak decks and other finishes in the cockpit.
What more can we add about the sailing performance learned in next to no breeze? Not much really but, as ever, we did get about four to five knots of motive power arriving from the Innellan shore just as we were about to head in and the Hanse 430 did prove pleasingly businesslike in the gentle breeze.
Straight line speed could not be a consideration in such a gentle zephyr, but the boat did tack neatly, come onto course sweetly and left nary a trace as she moved quietly through the waters. Oh for 15 knots and sunshine or a big gennaker!
Choices below can make or break the boat’s appearance and my advice is to keep it simple and not try to mix and match too many styles, wood finishes and fabrics.
There are two options: American cherry with a satin varnish or a more standard mahogany.
All I’ll say is - consider carefully and don’t try to be too clever. The boat has a pleasant, modern, clean, simple layout which needs the lines and angles to be sympathetic. With the white bulkheads it almost requires a lighter colour to balance, or the interior becomes bottom heavy.
The use of space is excellent. To port the seat is split to form a small nav seat with a table with stowage, and a longer settee opposite, is the main saloon seating area. The ambience is spacious, airy and functional. The galley is really excellent with good work space and plenty of cupboard and drawer space, feeling much more like a small kitchen.
The other impressive feature is the space in the cabins. The ensuite forecabin on our test boat was amazing, much more akin to a 50-55 footer with a large heads and shower compartment, genuinely good seating area with a small working desk area and overall good stowage and cupboard space.
Hanse’s success to date is in pushing the established boundaries in each direction, but knowing what the market wants. So the sailing performance should lend itself to turn key club racing, without having to make modifications and changes.
The North Sails package we had on the boat was perfectly adequate and with a neat below deck furler, sail shapes looked good. And value for money, in terms of the product you are getting, is excellent. However, a little more wind would have been welcome…..
Hanse celebrates its 15th anniversary this season and boat buyers are benefiting from generous package discounting offered by the German builder.
Current pricing structure for the Hanse 430, as explained by Scottish base manager Charlie Ambrose, brings a cruising and a navigation pack, plus heating into a comprehensive list price for the 430 as tested, of £163,781 inclusive of VAT and commissioned at Kip Marina.
A host of extras are available, such the lighter weight epoxy hull (add £9,500), teak decks (an extra £6,000), and the standard Yanmar 40hp diesel inboard can be upgraded to 55hp (add £2,154).