The Bluewater Sailboat Hans Christian 41 Traditional, which is still available by special order today, was first released in 1985. The name Hans Christian brings up images of hefty, sometimes slow, but always seaworthy boats filled with teak and luxury interiors wrapped in the form of a traditionally designed canoe-stern double ender. Big bowsprits, high bulwarks, butterfly hatches, hefty bronze fittings, and a seaworthy character that has its roots in American popularity with the debut of the Crealock’s Westsail 32 in 1973.
She’s in a class of her own as a heavy displacement Bluewater cruiser, standing 41 feet tall and weighing over 40,000 pounds in standard cruising trim. The underwater shape includes a split keel arrangement that is akin to the company’s Telstar Keel, which initially appeared on the Hans Christian 38 Traditional in 1984 and helped with close windedness and light air performance.
Hans Christian Yachts has made a name for itself by using top Taiwanese boatyards from the early 1970s; its creator, John Edwards, has always had an eye for identifying talent. The Bob Perry-designed and much-copied 34T, Harwood Ives’ space-efficient 33T, and, of course, the famous 38T and its MkII sequel are all noteworthy boats.
By late 1984, the business was experimenting with the notion of a new boat with an emphasis on the interior and a hull form that would bring it up to speed with current design thinking. The result was the Hans Christian 41 Traditional, which was introduced in 1985 and filled a gap between the company’s two 38 models and the 43. As Craig Beckwith, VP of Sales at the time puts it:
“As is customary, the decision to build the 41 originated over a bottle or two of beer at the end of the day and evolved to completion. We needed a larger version of the 38 MkII with the galley of the 38 Traditional, the forward head arrangement of the 33 Traditional (which had proven popular), and a split keel to move into the more modern designs of Perry, Frers, and other designers who emphasized the long-cord fin with the skeg-mounted rudder. The 41 Traditional was a culmination of all we’d learned while designing the prior models, listening carefully to customers, and watching the market evolve.”
Scott Sprague created the design, with a lot of help from Edwards. Sprague had taken over as Hans Christian’s primary designer following the departure of Harwood Ives, who had designed several of the previous Bluewater Sailboats.
Scott created the 48 Traditional first, and then collaborated with John Edwards to create the general design of the 41 Traditional. Again, John’s ability to identify young designers with exceptional talent came into play. Scott’s father conducted all of Bill Garden’s technical work, and Scott grew up in a design-oriented environment. He possessed a natural knack for design as well as technical skills.
South Coast Ship Building Yard manufactured the first boats in Taiwan until Hans Christian Yachts went to Thailand in 1990 to remain competitive. In Thailand, the builders progressed from Dutch East Indies Trading Co (established by Edwards) to Andersen Yachts, and finally, Pantawee Marine, which now builds all of the Hans Christian lines. In total, 55 boats have been constructed.
These Bluewater sailboats are perhaps best described as semi-custom in nature. At least five layout versions were specified in the original brochure and designated the Molokai, Harmony, Atlantic, and Pacific. The Molokai configuration, with its dual head arrangement and double beds both front and aft, was the most popular; it has been the standard and only layout manufactured since 1994. Only two of a fifth version, identical to the Molokai, were built, with workshops substituting the section where the after quarter-berth normally resides.
The interiors are of very high quality and integrate several themes that were popular for Hans Christian in previous versions.
The 41 Traditional has been hailed as an easy boat to sail due to its split keel. When compared to other models in the series, the 41T is slower than the Telstar 43T, while the smaller 38T with Telstar Keel is believed to be faster in optimum conditions. Also, considering her displacement, don’t expect much light air performance; nonetheless, owners of Hans Christian boats aren’t looking for speed, but rather comfort. The boat shines in this department, with a soft sea kindly motion that only large boats can provide.
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