Easy sailor

Kevin Green | VOLUME 31, ISSUE 4

The Hanse Group delivers stylish, modern cruisers at production-boat prices. The Hanse 455 epitomises the range.

Replacing the 445 with a newly designed Judel/ Vrolijk hull, Hanse’s new 455 includes carbon reinforcing and a deck that proved very user-friendly when I sailed it on Sydney Harbour.

The angular look that packages these high-volume German cruisers into shapely yachts continues on the 455, as does Hanse’s signature low-profile topside silhouette and clean decks, where all lines are in gutters. There are plenty of flush hatches to ensure natural light – including forward-viewing ones – which also allow good ventilation in the cavernous interior.

The 455 can have three standard cabins, as on our review boat; but four are available, too. The lounge arrangement has a conventional U-shaped starboard dinette and bench seat opposite. Portside swivel chairs with cocktail table between them are a comfortable option. The saloon 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 with twin sinks, five overhead cupboards (including one holding a microwave) and a three-burner Emo stove/oven, which is surrounded by black composite work surfaces with deep fiddles. Chilled storage comprises a deep chest fridge with front access and an optional one in the cockpit table.


Tall topsides and a wide beam enhance the accommodation on the 455. The owner’s forward berth reflects this with a substantial island bed, two sets of wardrobes and deep drawers. Importantly for our tropical summers, there are twin large opening skylights and small portlights. Headroom is 2m-plus at the doorway where, on each side, the ablutions can be found. There’s a large separate shower cubicle with a handy fibreglass bench and a manual toilet next door that has been optioned to electric.

Moving to the two symmetrical aft cabins provides no unpleasant surprises, thanks to wide berths, four hatches and triple cupboards … although, I’d choose the cabin without the diesel tank beneath my mattress.


The deck layout is similar to the larger 575 and has good ergonomics, allowing the steerer to operate the two electric Lewmar 50 Evo winches at the twin helms. At the helms, large pedestals hold a B&G 9in Zeus plotter on each, plus autopilot and Quick thruster, along with power controls on the starboard side. Tight manoeuvring of these high-sided cruisers is best done with a bowthruster, while Hanse offers a joystick-controlled system for coordination of fore and aft drop-down thrusters – although the single bowthruster on our test boat was sufficient to manoeuvre us out of the tight marina berth.

I found the sail handling to be a breeze as well, thanks to the lines all running from the mast right back to pedestal-side jammers, so two sailors can do all the work while the guests enjoy the forward cockpit unhindered.

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, which means it’s safely clear of the cockpit bench area. Hanse continues to offer its simple sail-plan option of self-tacking roller furling headsail, as well as the more powerful genoa, while there’s in-mast or slab reefing for the Elvstrøm mainsail on a Seldén mast.

The deck space is very usable, as the flat teak makes for a comfortable lounging space and deep, moulded toerails guide 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 around, including amidships, finish off a functional deck.

Like all recent Hanses, the GRP hull has minimum overhangs, modest topside flare and a 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. For bluewater cruising, I’d opt for the L-keel that reduces the chances of catching debris and snagging fishing lines.

In terms 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 455 in the lively category.


Helming on Sydney Harbour was easily done on the 455 thanks to its low-profile topsides, which allowed clear views as I gunned the 53hp Volvo Penta saildrive, pushing us to a nippy 9.1 knots (16.9km/h) 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.

After pointing the bow into the light, 10-knot breeze I leaned over and pushed the winch button to effortlessly hoist the mainsail from its lazy jacks before clicking the engine out of gear and thus folding the optional Flexofold propeller. Off the breeze, the self-tacking jib rolled out quickly and, once set, was left to its own devices as we crossed the harbour on a beam reach with the B&G plotter showing 6.9 knots (12.8km/h) despite the wind dropping to 8 knots.

Being perched out on the teak gunwale was comfortable and I could clearly see the tell tales 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.

Sail handling is versatile on the 455, because the crew forward of the pedestal can easily manage the lines, as can the steerer. With no jib to worry about, the mainsail is easily controlled from the single set of aft winches, as I found when centring it and rolling into a gybe, where the solid Seldén boom vang controlled the Elvstrøm FCL tri-radial sail well.

Sail handling is done so easily by the steerer that you forget you’re in command of a substantial 45ft (13.9m) yacht – which says a lot for the Hanse 455.


LOA: 13.95m

Beam: 4.38m

Draft: 2.25m (standard T-shape), 1.82m (shallow L-shape), 2.25m (deep L-shape)

Displacement: 11,600kg

Engine: 53hp Volvo D2-55 saildrive

Fuel capacity: 220lt

Water capacity: 450lt

Total sail area: 103m2

Price from: $416,000

Price as tested: $496,500

More information: Team Windcraft, tel: (02) 9979 1709. Web: windcraft.com.au.