Support us on Patreon https://www.patreon.com/sailinganarchy
German boatbuilder Hanse Yachts has added some serious pizazz to the middle of its range with the Judel/Vrolijk-designed 455. Just like its siblings, the new 45-footer looks sharp, sails like a dream and is big for her size. Down below, a thoroughly modern interior is as comfortable as it is functional, and topsides, there’s lots of space on deck and in the cockpit to relax and enjoy the ride — a darned good combination, I quickly concluded, on a blustery, picture-perfect fall afternoon out on Massachusetts’ Buzzards Bay.
With a northerly breeze pushing 20 knots, we probably should have thrown a reef in the main before we set out, but instead the boat’s owner opted for a full hoist. I suspected that our beat out of the harbor would be on the sporty side, and it was — quite fun, too. With the powered-up full-batten main and self-tending jib closehauled, we heeled considerably, but in the puffs, just when I expected the boat might round up, the 455’s high-aspect rudder dug in a little deeper, the shoal-draft cast-iron keel did its job, and the boat shot forward as though we were riding on rails.
Tacking the Hanse was as simple as turning the wheel, since the jib is led to a car on a track forward of the mast and tends to itself. With all sail control lines led aft, including the double-ended German-style mainsheet and halyards, electric primary winches set just forward of the twin wheels made the sailing equation that much easier. Even overcanvased, boat handling could not have been simpler.
Beating to windward, we made 8 knots and better, and we saw the GPS speed jump to 9-plus knots when we eased sheets and headed off on a reach. You could cover a lot of miles pretty effortlessly on this boat, upwind and down. In calmer conditions, you’d definitely want to fly the optional asymmetric sail, tacked down to the bail built into the bow roller, to thoroughly enjoy a gentlemanly run off the wind.