A Clean Ma­chine

Mod­ern good looks grace the Hanse 588.

Cruising World - - Contents - by Herb Mc­cormick

To my eye, per­haps the clean­est-look­ing yacht to be in­tro­duced in 2018 was the Hanse 588, the sec­ond-largest of­fer­ing from the Ger­man builder in a line that now en­com­passes a range of boats from 31 to 69 feet. Look, I en­joy a clip­per bow and sweep­ing sheer line as much as any tra­di­tion­al­ist, but lately I’ve de­rived as much op­ti­cal plea­sure from the lines of all-busi­ness per­for­mance cruis­ers like the 588. Per­haps it’s be­cause func­tion fol­lows form, and a yacht like this — with fea­tures that in­clude a straight bow and stern, am­ple top­sides, wide beam, max­i­mum wa­ter­line, min­i­mal­ist deck jewelry and ra­zor-sharp sheer — is noth­ing if not a flat-out sail­ing ma­chine. You can just see it.

And then there’s this: At first glimpse, it looks rather sim­ple. But on closer in­spec­tion, it’s any­thing but. And I also find broad ap­peal in that di­chotomy. But make no mis­take: For all of its ul­tra­mod­ern Euro styling, this is a well-con­structed, sys­tems-rich, state-of-the-art ves­sel, with a host of el­e­ments that will make sail­ing and cruis­ing safer, and more ef­fi­cient and fun.

Let’s start with the sail plan and rig, a triple-spreader Seldén alu­minum spar with no trav­eler and a self-tend­ing jib. Straight­for­ward, right? Well, not so fast. The main­sheet is ac­tu­ally a Ger­man-style setup that’s dou­ble ended and led aft, port and star­board, to cock­pit winches ad­ja­cent to the helms­man. The main it­self on the boat I sailed is a pow­er­ful, fully bat­tened num­ber stashed on an op­ti­mal in-boom Furler­boom furler. The afore­men­tioned jib is un­wound from a Furlex man­u­ally con­trolled furl­ing unit, and the code zero genoa rid­ing shot­gun in the twin head­sail con­fig­u­ra­tion is set off a Reck­mann elec­tric furler. All sails are built us­ing com­pos­ite-lam­i­nate sail­cloth by Elvström. In other words, like ev­ery­thing else, they’re high tech.

There are twin wheels, each led to the quad­rant in­de­pen­dently of each other. Stashed be­low the cock­pit, ac­cessed via the tran­som’s drop­down board­ing gate/swim plat­form when low­ered, is a Williams jet-drive ten­der (I am not mak­ing this up), which an­swers the al­ways in­trigu­ing dinghy ques­tion (both the type and its stor­age) in a ma­jor way. There are thrusters in the bow and the stern, both re­tractable, very handy items when piv­ot­ing or dock­ing a boat this big. Are you rec­og­niz­ing a re­cur­ring theme here? With the Hanse 588, on mul­ti­ple lev­els, what you don’t see is what you get.

A raised bul­wark rims and ac­cen­tu­ates the flush deck, which can be spec­i­fied as real teak (an op­tion) or syn­thetic teak, with a choice of eight dif­fer­ent fin­ishes. On our test boat, the sight lines from the dual helms were fab­u­lous, thanks largely to the low coachroof

and the ab­sence of a dodger or Bi­mini. (A fiber­glass “T-top” hard­top that cov­ers the cock­pit is op­tional, as is the sort of wind­screen seen on many Scan­di­na­vian cruis­ing boats.) There are six win­dows on each side of the hull; the com­pany says it used the largest ones pos­si­ble that do not com­pro­mise struc­tural in­tegrity. The win­dows serve dual pur­poses, emit­ting plenty of light into the in­te­rior and of­fer­ing great views while break­ing up the ex­pan­sive hull from a vis­ual per­spec­tive.

The boat is well put to­gether, with balsa core em­ployed in the top­sides of the hull and deck in a lam­i­nate rich in polyester resin and coated with vinylester as a hedge against os­mo­sis (the layup is solid glass be­low the wa­ter­line). The chain­plates are re­in­forced with car­bon in high-load ar­eas, and the vac­uum-bagged bulk­heads are cored for a com­bi­na­tion of light­ness and strength be­fore they are tabbed into the deck, floors and hull. The iron keel (there are three dif­fer­ent sizes and drafts avail­able, rang­ing from a shal­low L-shaped model that draws 7 feet 5 inches to a deep, T-shaped ver­sion draw­ing 9 feet 4 inches) is an­chored to keel plates em­bed­ded in the in­te­grated floor grid.

Down be­low, there are lit­er­ally dozens of choices to make with re­gard to up­hol­stery col­ors and fab­rics, car­pet­ing, and woods for floor­ing and fur­ni­ture, which gives own­ers an in­cred­i­ble amount of lee­way to per­son­al­ize the in­te­rior to their own lik­ing. Our test boat’s fur­nish­ings were fin­ished in cherry, which was quite pleas­ing. Like­wise, with the floor plan, there are mul­ti­ple lay­outs for ac­com­mo­da­tions from which to choose. The boat we in­spected had the sin­gle spa­cious own­ers cabin for­ward, with an is­land berth and a sin­gle roomy head (this space can also be two cab­ins and two heads); a crew’s quar­ters in the bow (which can also be a gar­gan­tuan sail locker); and a big head to port at the foot of the com­pan­ion­way (this can also be a work­room or an­other sleep­ing cabin). There were also twin dou­ble cab­ins aft with en-suite heads. The cen­tral sa­loon of our test boat fea­tured large set­tees to port and star­board, with the U-shaped gal­ley also to star­board. A straight-line gal­ley with an in­cor­po­rated cen­tral is­land is also avail­able.

Alas, the day of our sea tri­als on Ch­e­sa­peake Bay last fall, in con­junc­tion with the 2018 Boat of the Year con­test, dawned ab­so­lutely wind­less, and we were un­able to con­duct a test sail. But the boat per­formed more than ad­mirably un­der power, reg­is­ter­ing bet­ter than 9 knots at 2,150 rpm. And, in terms of deci­bel level, it was one of the fleet’s qui­etest boats, a fact that was not lost on BOTY judge Ed Sher­man.

“One of the fac­tors that I have al­ways used to help me sort out a very broad-based qual­ity is­sue is how noisy the boat is when you’re mo­tor­ing along,” Sher­man said. “All that’s in­dica­tive of all these parts — doors that don’t fit right, floor­boards that move — that can in­duce har­mon­ics that go through the whole boat when you’re un­der power. And here, we have a boat that’s right down there with the high­est qual­ity and most ex­pen­sive yachts in terms of the noise level down be­low. I guar­an­tee that’s a de­riv­a­tive of the ef­forts that have been taken in de­sign­ing and ex­e­cut­ing all the as­sem­bled com­po­nents in the in­te­rior. For Hanse, the tol­er­ances are get­ting tighter. What­ever they’re do­ing, it’s re­ally work­ing.”

Yes, Mr. Sher­man. It cer­tainly is.

There is room galore in the spa­cious for­ward own­ers cabin (top). In the main sa­loon, a straight-line gal­ley with an ad­ja­cent is­land (above) is one of two gal­ley con­fig­u­ra­tions.

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