Bluewater Sailboat – Hanse 455


The new Hanse 455 replaces the Hanse 445 and has a redesigned Judel/Vrolijk hull with carbon reinforcing and a user-friendly deck. The Hanse 455 maintains the angular design that transforms these high-volume German sailing yachts into shapely sailing boats. Likewise, the clean decks of Hanse yachts, which have all of their lines in gutters, contribute to their distinctive low-profile topside look.

The Hanse 455 can have three basic cabins or four, with a separate shower in the owner’s bathroom. The lounge setup on the boat, hull #30, included a bench seat opposite and a fairly traditional U-shaped starboard dinette, but the optional swivel seats with a cocktail table in the middle look like a cozy owner’s setup. Additionally, the Hanse 455 has one of the greatest dinette tables I’ve ever seen, complete with a sizable folding leaf, cabinet, and drink holders.

Hanse 455
Hanse 455
  • LOA 45ft 7in
  • LWL 40ft
  • Beam 14ft 4in
  • Draft 5ft 8in (shoal); 7ft 4in (std and T-keel)
  • Displacement 25,570lb; ballast 7,716lb
  • Engine Volvo 53hp (std)
  • Fuel (GAL) 58
  • Water (GAL) 118
  • Sail Area 1,111ft²
  • Ratio Ballast 30%
  • Designer Judel/Vrolijk & Co.
  • Builder Hanse, Greifswald, Germany


The 455 is a product of Hanse’s sizable, incredibly effective production facility in Greifswalk, Germany, and has many stylistic and construction characteristics with the rest of the company’s wide range of products.

It has the company’s typical low, sharply angled cabintrunk and businesslike squared-off bow and transom. The boat’s hull is made of a solid polyester laminate with an outside layer of vinylester to prevent osmotic scorching. The boat’s keel and rig loads are supported by a structural fibreglass grid that is tabbed into place. The hull is further stiffened by bulkheads, and the deck is balsa-cored to help reduce the boat’s centre of gravity.

Standard keels are 7ft 4in cast iron L-shaped. A high-aspect T-keel with a sizable ballast bulb that likewise draws 7ft 4in is available, as is a shoal-draft keel drawing 5ft 8in. A-sail breathing room is provided by the boat’s tapered double-spreader Seldén aluminium rig, which is slightly fractional. Steel wire is used for standing rigging.

Twin Jefa helms and a single deep rudder are included in the boat’s setup, which is another distinguishing feature of the Hanse line and useful for navigating through a congested marina or a strong breeze.

Above Deck

The fact that a self-tacking jib is included as standard illustrates the way in which Hanse Yacht Designs has conceptualised this boat. If that doesn’t give it away, perhaps the fact that it is there causes the mast to be pushed more to the rear results in an expanded foredeck, which Hanse has fully utilised by making twin daybed cushions that precisely fit the sloping cabin top.

Despite the spacious foredeck, it might be challenging to add space for a cutter inner forestay. The side deck has ample room, and although being challenging to reach handholds, the low cabin top makes it easy to manoeuvre around. A low bulwark added around the gunnel combats this.

The deck has many flush hatches and skylights, all of which are quite strong and can withstand foot activity.

Its sailability is made to be simple for sailing with a small crew. Sheets and halyards from every rope handling operation are fed back to the dual steering stations under the coamings. Power is provided by hand or electric winches, which are strong enough to handle the halyards as well. There are sheet boxes right aft of the wheels beneath the helmsperson’s bum in place of the sheet bitter ends that cause trouble so near to the steering wheel well. There are no trip hazards on this tastefully empty topside. It also means that it could be easily adapted if you needed to add solar panels or water collecting for extended journeys.

The winches can be accessed from the cockpit since they are located sufficiently forward of the steering station.

There are a few nice innovations here, speaking of the steering stations. The steering pedestals’ large binnacles house the boat’s controls and all the necessary navigational equipment. The helm and guest seats are across the transom from the steering stations behind them. On both, there are useful storage areas tucked underneath. Comfort is guaranteed because these seats are located forward of the split backstay, but they also pivot back to reveal a sink/fishing table with drain under the port bench and an LPG bottle as well as shower controls beneath the starboard bench. Both are reachable via the swim platform that drops down from the transom.

The swim platform occupies the majority of the transom space, leaving space between the twin steering stations for swimmers to enter and exit. However, the grill and sink are still available.

There is a cut out in the port side transom when the platform is lowered. The life raft is kept in this area, which is a novel idea. The crew of the boat Cheeki Rafiki tried to launch its liferaft off the floor of the cockpit turned upside down, but was unsuccessful, according to an analysis of the yacht’s loss some time ago. Even if the boat was turtled, the hydraulic rams on the Hanse swim platform would make sure the transom would open and the life raft could then be easily launched.

The transom’s large size also allows for the possible attachment of tender davits.

Under the cockpit benches, there are sizable storage lazarettes, and there’s even a compartment in the floor. Despite being big, they are barely deep enough to hold a bucket comfortably. Smaller equipment items like binoculars, cell phones, and sun cream can be stored in the companionway’s recognisable Hanse storage slots. Due to the absence of halyard winches on either side of the companionway, these are larger than before.

The agents, Windcraft, claim that this cockpit is the largest for its length. This is undoubtedly confirmed by the walk space around the detachable cockpit table.

Along with the chain locker, there is a sizable sail locker in the bow that can be reached from the deck and has plenty of room for sails, fenders, and other large goods.

Additionally, there are finer additions made to the deck, including retracting mooring cleats, large tinted glass ports alongside the companionway for improved lighting below, high coamings that don’t obstruct deck access when the bimini is raised, red mood lighting in the cockpit sides for nighttime, a nicely angled companionway bulkhead for easy lounging, and a sizable companionway with sloping steps set at a secure 54° angle.

Below Deck

You can clearly see how enormous this yacht is once you’ve descended the stairs. Options include a three- or four-cabin interior with a convertible forward cabin, most likely to accommodate charter firms. With either type of cabin, there is a choice of a bench settee or two swivelling captain’s chairs with a side table in between along the port side of the main cabin, across from the dining table.

The U-saloon is a sizable room that can comfortably sit seven people and ten people in a pinch. This is made possible with a centerline movable seat. The table is versatile since it may be folded into a full-service dinner or a cozy drink size as needed. A six-glass insert with a storage bin is located in its centre.

If needed, the table can be lowered to provide room for an additional double bunk.

The L-shaped galley, which leads to the starboard aft cabin, is to starboard of the companionway. Despite being a 45-foot-long galley, it is secure because to the companionway steps at the cook’s back. For added support, there is a small side shelf that runs alongside the companionway. This size offers a lot of cabinets and bench space. Storage choices for both frequent and infrequent users are well-provided for.

Both the top and bottom of the refrigerator are accessible. The bottom aperture makes it difficult to open the oven door, although it is only a minor inconvenience.

The saloon cushions are protected by a splash board behind the double sinks, and a sturdy raised hand rail provides a full hand wrap on the centerline. The rest of the stone carvings are relatively low and simple to clean. The day head/shower unit for the two aft cabins and saloon located to the port of the companionway. The elbow space is fairly decent, not at all crowded, whether you’re sitting on the head or having a shower.

With barely 1.4m in width, the twin aft double bunks can only fit two people. Once you’re comfortable, it’s OK because the tinted hull glass, cockpit wall door, and overhead hatch porthole make the space feel bright and comfortable.

Although not full length, there is plenty shelving and hanging space, including wet lockers. Headroom in the aft cabin is 195 centimetres. A separate, roomy shower is located to the starboard and a head is located to the port of the owner’s forward cabin. Both cabins have rather roomy elbow room as a result.

The spacious double island berth was the boat’s new owners’ deciding factor. Chris and Kate had been considering pre-owned Hanses in the 40-foot size, but they were ultimately persuaded by the spacious island bed, the Windcraft service, and the cost. 

They provide a superb vision up the mast while allowing for ample of air flow in the cabin. Once more, this cabin has lots of shelf and hanging space, but the length is not long enough for wet weather gear to drain.

There are two enormous hull windows, four cabin top windows, and four overhead hatches in the main saloon. As a result, the space is light and airy. The four overhead hatches all open in the same direction, so perhaps they might change one pair of them so that airflow into the cabin is possible regardless of the sailing attitude or how the yacht is tethered to a pier. When sitting in the U-shaped saloon, the big hull window creates the impression of being on land.

The navigation station, which faces outboard, is immediately behind those. When off watch, its stylish pull-back seat with leather upholstery would be a great place to change out of rainy weather gear. This station has everything you need, but it’s discreetly hidden behind a door for improved weather protection. For chart storage, the chart table is deep but not particularly wide, a characteristic of the era.

When you first go into the cabin, you might think it looks just like any other production boat on the market, but upon closer examination, a number of additional perks become apparent. The pockets alongside the companionway for easily accessible objects like a handheld radio or GPS device or other items, illumination in the shelf behind the galley, and navigation round out the list of clever interior design features. The pull-back navigator’s chair, the abundance of ports and hatches (20 in all), and the station’s lighting system that illuminated the bench and highlighted the items on the shelves.


On the Hanse 455, steering was simple because of the ship’s low-profile topsides, which allowed for clear views of Sydney Harbour. The Volvo saildrive accelerates to a quick 9.1kts and a rev counter at 3000rpm as it passes the congested ferry zone. There are no turbulence or vibration-related complaints at the stainless steel wheel.

With the engine in neutral and the optional Flexofold propeller folded, she drifted out to the main harbour into the gentle 10 kt breeze. The winch button quickly raised the main sail from its lazy jacks. Although the wind has decreased to 8 kts, the self-tacking jib rolls out fast off the breeze and is then left to its own devices on a beam reach with the B&G plotter showing 6.9 kts.

As a result, the Hanse 455 was moving along smoothly.

Walking between the helms on the teak-covered sole while comfortably perched on the teak gunwale, he then resumed his standing position on the starboard tack. The crew front of the pedestals can easily manipulate the lines and the steerer, which is advantageous in twilight-race mode. As a result, the Hanse 455 has varied sail management.

When centred and rolling into a gybe, the mainsail is simply managed from this single set of aft winches thanks to the absence of a jib. The sturdy Selden boom vang also effectively managed the Elvstrom FCL tri-radial sail. The steerer handles the sails with such ease that you forget you are in charge of a large 45-foot boat, which says a lot about the Hanse 455.

Quick Notes

Hanses’ sail-trialing is getting a little monotonous. Under sail, they are all so dependably well-made and polite. However, as anyone with even a basic understanding of boat construction knows, these qualities can only be attained with a significant amount of labor-intensive design effort.

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