Re­views of the Hanse 418 and Nau­titech Open 40

Nau­titech 40 Open

SAIL - - January 2019 Vol 50, Issue 1 - A smart new cruiser that makes it easy to be a good sailor By Sam Fortes­cue

What’s in 3ft? That’s what I won­dered as I stepped off Hanse’s new 388 and onto her ever-so-slightly larger sis­ter, the new 418. Why bother to build two boats so closely re­lated in size? Well, as I found out, the ex­tra length makes quite a dif­fer­ence.

DE­SIGN & CON­STRUC­TION

Like the 388, the 418 is an evo­lu­tion of a pre­vi­ously suc­cess­ful hull, the 415, of which over 200 have been sold since its launch in 2012. The boat’s Ger­man naval ar­chi­tects, Judel/Vrolijk, were asked to up­date the boat and in do­ing so have fo­cused on deck lay­out, the cock­pit and the stern. Some­how, they have man­aged to make the boat even more user-friendly.

ON DECK

The boat’s sail con­trols run from the mast in con­duits that emerge at the back of the cock­pit coam­ing within easy reach of the helms­man. The sys­tem keeps the boat look­ing tidy, with a bank of large Lew­mar clutches to make it easy to jockey be­tween lines on size 45 pri­mary winches. A few screws make the con­duit easy to open for in­spec­tion or main­te­nance, and the helms­man’s perch on the side decks dou­ble as tidy rope lock­ers.

The Hanse 418 dif­fers most clearly from her pre­de­ces­sor around the tran­som, where Hanse felt the solid helms­man’s seats cre­ated a bar­rier to using the bathing plat­form and en­joy­ing the sea at an­chor. Judel/Vrolijk there­fore re­placed them with a fold­ing thwart, which clips up ver­ti­cally when not in use, or sits down on a stain­less steel leg. This will suit warmwa­ter sailors, in par­tic­u­lar. How­ever, those in chill­ier cli­mates need not fear: the fold-up bathing plat­form does an am­ple job of keep­ing the sea out and the sailors in.

There’s also much more teak around the boat, in­clud­ing as an op­tion on the top of the coachroof.

AC­COM­MO­DA­TIONS

Lay­out is sim­i­lar to that of the smaller 388, but that ex­tra 3ft of LOA makes a cru­cial dif­fer­ence here as well. In ad­di­tion to the choice of one or

two dou­ble cab­ins aft, there is also an op­tion for a sec­ond head for­ward, mak­ing the master cabin in the foc’sle into an en­suite.

This will ap­peal to many, par­tic­u­larly in the char­ter mar­ket. How­ever, there is a trade­off, in that the space de­voted to the sec­ond head pushes the sleep­ing space fur­ther into the fore­peak, turn­ing it into a true V-berth. With­out the sec­ond head, you have a rec­tan­gu­lar is­land berth with stor­age be­neath and in a locker at the head, which looks and feels much more lux­u­ri­ous. In ei­ther case, the hatches and hull lights are aligned so that you can peer out at the an­chor­age around you with­out rais­ing your head from the pil­low.

The saloon is also much the same as the 388, but on a larger scale. Big­ger hull lights in the saloon and the fore and aft cab­ins, plus dou­ble flush hatches over­head and glass on ei­ther side of the com­pan­ion­way, cre­ate a re­ally bright space. The saloon table folds out, cre­at­ing a con­vivial space for six or more to eat in com­fort. A nice de­sign fea­ture here is the wine and glass stor­age rack in the base of the table.

To port is a small chart table, and there is the choice of a long or short L-shaped gal­ley to star­board. The longer gal­ley gives you 5ft more counter, but means sac­ri­fic­ing some stor­age space in the sec­ond aft cabin. You can also do away with the sec­ond af­ter cabin en­tirely giv­ing it over to stor­age space. The head to port is larger than on the 388, with a longer basin and a shower with clos­ing Per­spex doors.

Hanse has care­fully de­signed the light­ing, using its own pro­pri­etary touch­screen con­trollers to al­ter mood and switch indi­rect light­ing on and off. Wall lamp fit­tings can also tog­gle be­tween red and white to pro­tect night vi­sion, and there are USB fit­tings for charg­ing phones.

UN­DER SAIL

Though I tested the Hanse 418 in fairly light con­di­tions, close-hauled, using the neat self-tack­ing jib sys­tem and op­tional higher-per­for­mance “Fast Cruis­ing Lam­i­nate” main from Elvstr¿m, we hummed along nicely at 4.5 knots in lit­tle more than 6 knots of breeze.

Rais­ing the gen­naker and bear­ing away onto about 50 de­grees ap­par­ent, the speed rose to 6.5 knots, an im­pres­sive ef­fort in such light winds. Un­for­tu­nately, run­ning down­wind our ze­phyr aban­doned us at around 4 knots of boat­speed, and we be­gan to roll in the swell. The po­lars in­di­cate an op­tium speed of nearly 9 knots, but I wasn’t able to ver­ify this in the con­di­tions.

What was clear is how easy this boat is to han­dle. She tacks on a dime, thanks to the deep spade rud­der, bal­anced rig and an ef­fi­cient L-shaped keel. The pri­mary winches are all well within easy to reach of the helms­man, and there is no prob­lem get­ting enough pur­chase on the han­dle, as I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced with all too many other brands. The Ger­man main­sheet sys­tem, run­ning aft via a set of blocks on the coachroof, is both un­ob­tru­sive and easy to use on ei­ther tack. The de­sign team has clearly done its home­work here.

UN­DER POWER

There are two en­gine op­tions, with the Yan­mar 39 look­ing pretty de­cent for a boat that dis­places 21,605lb, although a larger 57hp pow­er­plant also avail­able. Un­der­way with the stan­dard en­gine, the boat eas­ily man­aged 6.5 knots un­der power at two-thirds revs, ris­ing to over 7 knots flat out. The fold­ing two-blade prop on a saildrive leg gives a good kick ahead and astern when close-quar­ters ma­neu­ver­ing. There was no prop walk that I could de­tect, and the high-as­pect rud­der quickly gives you steer­age at low speed.

CON­CLU­SION

I re­ally liked the Hanse 418. She’s easy and in­tu­itive to han­dle, with no quirks or ex­cess bag­gage. Any sailor could slide be­hind the wheel of this boat and feel thor­oughly at home be­fore they’d even left the dock. She’s a real step up in terms of in­te­rior styling, too, with some flashes of lux­ury be­low and lots of nat­u­ral light. The twin head op­tion will ap­peal to fam­i­lies and even the smaller gal­ley works for most demands. Over­all, the Hanse 418 is a great off-the-shelf sail­ing pack­age. s

Be­cause of its sim­i­lar­ity to the pre­vi­ous Nau­titech 40 Open, a win­ner in SAIL’s Best Boats con­test a few years ago, you could per­haps la­bel the lat­est ver­sion of the boat as a “Mark II” de­sign. Nonethe­less, the many tweaks made to the al­ready award-win­ning de­sign more than war­rant giv­ing the lat­est it­er­a­tion of this boat a closer look.

DE­SIGN & CON­STRUC­TION

Although now owned by Ger­many’s Bavaria Yachts, all Nau­titechs con­tinue to be built in the com­pany’s orig­i­nal fac­tory in Rochefort, France. The only dif­fer­ence is that the Nau­titech now uses join­ery pieces fab­ri­cated at the Bavaria fa­cil­ity in Giebel­stadt, Ger­many. The boats are con­structed with a resin-in­fused tech­nique that pro­duces a light, strong, uni­form com­pos­ite with a clean fin­ish on both sides. The decks also in­clude a closed-cell foam core.

The join­ery on our test boat was an at­trac­tive, light-toned oak, pre­cisely fit­ted and fin­ished. The cabin doors are solid wood, while locker doors are made with a foam core with a ve­neer sur­face to re­duce weight.

Ac­cess to the en­gines is through the aft end of the hulls, and I found good main­te­nance space around the 40hp Volvo saildrives.

All the sec­ondary sys­tems are neatly in­stalled, with the wires bun­dled, wrapped and la­beled and the hoses dou­ble-clamped to bronze sea­cocks with ball valves. The boat has a dis­trib­uted wiring sys­tem, so only the con­trol wires run to the pan­els.

ON DECK

The rig is pretty stan­dard for a cat of this size, with a So­lent con­fig­u­ra­tion that of­fers a wide range of op­tions for head­sails and an ef­fi­cient square-top main­sail. Our test boat had a self-tack­ing jib fly­ing from the in­ner stay plus a light asym­met­ric sail on a top-furler at the bowsprit: a ver­sa­tile com­bi­na­tion for coastal cruis­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, the boat’s air draft will make pas­sage down the At­lantic In­tra­coastal Wa­ter­way (ICW) dif­fi­cult at times, as sev­eral fixed bridges on that pop­u­lar route are less than 65ft at high tide.

The main­sheet leads to a trav­eller on the hard­top, and all other lines run con­ve­niently to a bat­tery winches and stop­pers at the twin out­board helms. I found the run­ning rig­ging ef­fi­cient and straight­for­ward, although the boat could use some bet­ter line tail stowage.

Sailors of av­er­age stature and agility will ap­pre­ci­ate the easy steps to the cabin top and the ex­cel­lent ac­cess to the en­tire length of the boom. I could even reach over the boom to zip the cover or un­tan­gle reef­ing lines. The new open step de­sign at the for­ward end of the cabin also im­proves vis­i­bil­ity from in­side the saloon.

The tram­po­line is spa­cious for sun­bathing if the crew is so­larphilic, while fit­ted cush­ions and a small table along the for­ward edge of the bridgedeck pro­vide seat­ing space for loungers. The two large fore­deck lock­ers will hold lots of fend­ers and lines.

A clever wa­ter catch­ment trough around the edge of the cabin top can fill the tanks dur­ing rain show­ers if you are away from mari­nas for an ex­tended cruise, and that same trough dou­bles as a con­tin­u­ous grab rail for the side decks. As with most cats, you need to have good bal­ance to move about on the fore­deck and tram­po­line af­ter those grab rails end.

Husky davits be­tween the hulls and well pro­por­tioned tran­som plat­forms make swim­ming and dinghy ex­cur­sions sim­ple.

AC­COM­MO­DA­TIONS

True to its name, you’ll live much of your life out­doors aboard the Nau­titech 40 Open. In fact, the en­closed por­tion of the boat is quite small, with loung­ing, so­cial­iz­ing and din­ing all tak­ing place far­ther aft un­der the hard­top. The builder of­fers a full en­clo­sure for this area, which would be a good ad­di­tion for cruis­ers in, shall we say, “less per­fect” climes. There is also air con­di­tion­ing to serve this en­closed por­tion of the ac­com­mo­da­tions, so it should be comfy in any weather.

En­ter­ing the saloon, I dis­cov­ered that Nau­titech has re­designed the orig­i­nal gal­ley to pro­vide a bet­ter traf­fic pat­tern through the cab­ins. With a three-burner stove, a big fridge and sink, am­ple counter space and easy com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the af­ter­deck, the cook should be happy. The de­sign­ers also in­cor­po­rated a clever con­vert­ible nav desk that moves on a rail to con­vert the seat there into a large loung­ing space.

Our test boat had three sleep­ing cab­ins: two in the star­board hull with a shared head com­part­ment, and an owner’s suite that oc­cu­pied the en­tire port hull. Although the hulls are slim, in the in­ter­est of good sail­ing per­for­mance, there’s still plenty of stowage in lock­ers and a bright, friendly am­biance over­all, thanks to the en­larged win­dows out­board in the hulls and plenty of open­ing ports on deck.

UN­DER SAIL

The Ch­e­sa­peake sum­mer of 2018 was not a par­tic­u­larly kind one to sailors, and light-air con­di­tions were once again in force for our test sail at the mouth of the Sev­ern off An­napo­lis. In­deed, at one point the gen­tle south­east­erly zephyrs made me won­der whether it would even be worth it to try and get in a test sail. How­ever, the Nau­titech 40 Open sur­prised me with its ex­cel­lent light-air per­for­mance.

We raised the main, un­rolled the light­weight outer fore­sail, shut down the en­gines and kept mov­ing right along on a close reach at 4.5 knots in the 6-knot puffs. Af­ter that, we rolled up the jib and tacked with­out fuss or ef­fort un­der main­sail alone. Think­ing it might have been a fluke, I tried an­other tack un­der main alone, and it proved equally easy. Many cruis­ing cats can­not do that in such light con­di­tions.

As a chal­lenge, we changed down to the smaller self-tack­ing in­ner jib, and the boat con­tin­ued to move along just fine. All the time, I could sit com­fort­ably at the lee­ward wheel and watch the jib tell­tales to keep the air flow­ing over the sail while en­joy­ing the solid, positive con­trol of the helm. It felt like a real sail­boat. It is a real sail­boat.

As for when the wind pipes up, SAIL mag­a­zine tested this boat’s older sis­ter, the orig­i­nal Nau­titech Open 40, on a breezy day in south Florida three years ago and deemed it a good per­former in those con­di­tions, too.

UN­DER POWER

There were no han­dling sur­prises as we mo­tored out of the har­bor and put the Nau­titech 40 Open through test ma­neu­vers. The turn­ing cir­cle with both en­gines at 1,000 rpm was just over a boatlength, both to port and to star­board. A pirou­ette with en­gines run­ning in op­po­site di­rec­tions eas­ily turned the boat in its own wa­ter.

With the throt­tle wide open at 3,000 rpm, I mea­sured 8.2 knots, while low cruise at 2,000 rpm yielded 6.2 knots. At a high cruise set­ting of 2,500 rpm and 7.5 knots, the cabin was qui­eter than most boats of this type and size.

CON­CLU­SION

The Nau­titech 40 Ope­nis a re­fined boat, the re­sult of an evo­lu­tion that pro­vides greater com­fort and vis­i­bil­ity while re­tain­ing the fine sail­ing qual­i­ties and cruis­ing ameni­ties of its pre­de­ces­sor. It would be hard to imag­ine a bet­ter mul­ti­hull de­sign in this par­tic­u­lar mar­ket niche. s

Hanse’s in­te­ri­ors are suf­fused with light thanks to their many ports

Much of the saloon has been re­designed

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