HANSE 575 REVIEW
The Hanse 575 isn’t the company’s largest craft, slotting in the range below the 630e and the 78, but it fits most of the 630e’s features into a slightly smaller package and has almost the same cockpit.
The rig is classic Hanse: self-tacking 9/10 furling headsail, stubby sprit for a gennaker or asymmetric tack and a tapered, twin-spreader stick that can carry a battened, roachy main or an in-mast furling type. The test boat had the latter mainsail arrangement.
The 575 has a monolithic FRP hull structure with vinylester exterior laminates and a strong integrated fibreglass back frame. All bulkheads are bonded to the hull and the main bulkhead is bonded to the balsa-sandwich deck structure as well. A 150mm FRP bulwark runs around the entire deck. The standard keel is a cast-iron T-shaped bulb but there’s an L-shaped, shallow-draft option.
The 575 is designed with a hydraulically-folding transom that reveals a cockpit-width tender garage. The dropped transom doubles as a swimplatform, complete with folding ladder. An optional kit provides hydraulic launching and tender retrieval.
Regardless of mainsail style the aluminium boom is fitted with a rod vang and mid-boom sheeting leading to 65 AST aft-set winches. The self-tacking jib sheets to a curved deck track and the sheet runs up the mast, then down through turning blocks to an aft winch. This sheet routing ensures constant sail trim through tacks and gybes, without crew attention. Two forward-mounted 55 AST cockpit winches control a gennaker or aso or an overlapping headsail for which there’s an optional track with pin-stop cars.
All sheets and halyards lead under-deck to the aft winches and there are lidded bins behind each winch to swallow the tails. In two-sail, self-tacking mode the 575 has decks completely clear of lines and has been designed to be sailed by only two people.
Cockpit space has been cleverly arranged to allow easy walk-through from companionway to swimplatform. Canted wheel pedestals keep this access clear and twin cockpit tables don’t intrude, even when opened out to double their folded size. The table pedestals are designed to provide handholds and foot braces and optional powered pedestals telescope to convert the table tops into a sunbathing mattress base.
Mid-boom sheeting means that an optional dodger doesn’t foul the mainsheet or standing blocks.
Just in front of the companionway door there’s a recess in the cockpit floor, large enough to stow a liferaft.
Cabin entry is via a Dehler-style drop-down door and long sliding hatch. The steps are angled staircase-style, allowing ‘landlubber’ descent into the large saloon and good access to the under-stair engineroom.
In boats smaller than this there’s always some obvious compromise in interior layout but there are no such evident compromises below decks in the Hanse 575. There’s ample space for a proper navigation station, for example, with spare console room for additional displays and instruments, and there’s a real pilot’s chair, not a dual-purpose pouffe. This area can double as an office afloat.
The test boat left the factory with a four-cabin, two-head layout that’s been converted by Windcraft to three cabins with utility room. In three and four-cabin layouts the owner’s cabin is large enough to have a queen island bed and separate toilet and shower modules. You gain a better impression of its size by noting that in four and five-cabin layouts the owner’s cabin space is split into two double cabins, each with its own shower/head module.
ON THE WATER
The conditions in Sydney’s Pittwater were perfect for our test: a building nor’easter that gusted to 30kts by the end of the day and averaged 20 to 25kts for most of it.
A near-60-foot yacht with high freeboard and tall-mast windage will find strong, puffy breezes and a tight marina berth aren’t ideal companions, but the big Hanse manoeuvred precisely thanks to optional bow and stern thrusters. With the main engine just ticking over in forward gear and the thrusters working quickly from helm joysticks the beamy boat shook off its shore shackles with ease.
The test boat was fitted with an optional 150hp turbocharged five-cylinder 2.4lt D3 150 aluminium block-and-head Volvo Penta auxiliary. While I appreciated the extra grunt the turbo and common rail fuel system extract from a relatively small-displacement diesel I wasn’t so keen on the engine noise. In the cockpit it wasn’t so bad but below decks it was excessive and additional silencing measures are definitely needed.
Optional powered main winches made light work of extracting the mainsail from its in-mast drum and the jib from its furler and soon the engine noise was replaced by the water slice of the 575’s plumb stem and a gurgle of stern wake.
We headed upwind into the teeth of white caps and 20kts-plus with full sail deployed, registering 7.5kts at around 35 degrees, but the big boat felt much happier angled at 40 degrees and the speedo agreed displaying 8.2kts. Heel angle was moderate and puffs caused little more than slight extra tilt.
Conventional wisdom hath it that self-tackers and batten-less mains don’t perform well upwind but the Hanse 575 proved that wrong: 20 tonnes of boat with 150m² of tri-radial-cut sail worked its way up Pittwater at club-racing speeds without effort.
The steering system needed only light wheel pressure for rapid response, so steering one-handed from the gunwale perch was effortless, just as with a much smaller yacht. Helmsperson footrests or full helm seats are optional.
Tacking was a doddle: I turned the windward wheel and strolled across to the other wheel as the boat came head-to-wind, then resumed steering. An unquestioned amount of momentum meant that boat speed dropped only slightly through tacks and no-one had to handle a winch or line.
Gentlemen never sail to windward we’re told, so I bore away on a broadening reach and the boat accelerated quickly through the 10-knot barrier. The optionally powered mainsheet and jib winches were in easy reach of the helm, so singlehanded control was possible. There were four of us aboard and all were underemployed!
Powered winches made light work of mainsheet trimming before and after gybing and the big boat showed no vices changing direction downwind. At lesser wind velocities I wouldn’t have bothered to trim the main at all before a gybe because mid-boom sheeting means there’s not a lot of slack to reel in and then release.
Full sail area was obviously no problem in wind strengths up to 25kts, so possibly the test boat’s wardrobe might be found wanting in very light airs. However the polar graphs for this boat predict 5 to 6.5kts in 6kts of true breeze and that’s not bad for a 20-tonner.
Fun was the theme of the afternoon and that’s not what I’d expected when we set off from the dock. I thought the big beast would go quite well but it greatly exceeded my expectations and was much more relaxing to operate than I’d anticipated.
Docking a million-dollar boat in a lee-shore marina berth in 20kts-plus promised to reduce the fun quotient somewhat but the thrusters again proved equal to the task and we roped up without any drama at all.
HANSE 575 SPECIFICATIONS
PRICE AS TESTED
Electrically retractable saloon table, white galley worktop, American cherry woodwork, comfort mattresses, leather upholstery, cockpit cushions, teak cockpit floor, teak seats and decks, helm footrests, anchor, fenders and chain, hydraulic backstay, five-battery upgrade, inverter/charger, B&G instrument and plotter package, B&G radar, autopilot, powered cockpit tables, deckwash pump, electric hatch ventilators, air-conditioning, generator, indirect and direct LED lighting, blinds and flyscreens, Fusion sound system, lifting TV and owner’s cabin TV, GRP steering wheels, powered main winches, in-mast furling, gennaker gear, pop-up mooring cleats, Dyneema halyards, engine upgrade, bow and stern thrusters, and dishwasher
MATERIAL Vinylester outer laminate hull
LENGTH 17.15m overall; 16.7m hull; 15.15m waterline
DRAFT 2.85m (2.25m optional)
BERTHS Three doubles (four and five-cabin layouts optional)
HEADSAIL 63m² (self-tacking)
MAKE/MODEL Volvo D3-110 diesel; D3-150 optional
TYPE Shaftdrive turbo-diesel
RATED HP 110; 150 optional
PROP Folding three-blade (four-blade folding optional)
Team Windcraft Pittwater,
Bayview Anchorage Marina,
Waterfront Office 2,
1714 Pittwater Road,
Bayview, NSW, 2104
Phone: (02) 9979 1709
Fax: (02) 9979 2027