Sail test: Hanse 345

By: Tim Thomas, Photography by: Hanse Yachts


Hanse 345 Hanse 345
Hanse 345 Hanse specialises in easy-to-sail vessels, an ethos well received on the home front. Hanse 345
Hanse 345 Hanse 345
Hanse 345 The Hanse 345 as a whole is a lot of boat in a small space. As entry-level new boats go, this is top-of-the-bill. Hanse 345
Hanse 345 Hanse 345
Hanse 345 With simple but effective elements like the drop-down stern and the cockpit table options, the 345 brings an elegance to smaller-boat lifestyle sailing on a budget we can all appreciate. Hanse 345
Hanse 345 Hanse 345
Hanse 345 8 Hanse 345 8
Hanse 345 A lowered sole and a slightly elevated coachroof line offers superior headroom throughout, even in the forepeak cabin. Hanse 345
Hanse 345 Hanse 345
Hanse 345 While the interior is not perfect from a cruising point of view, it is hard to quibble with the presentation. Hanse 345

The new Hanse 345 offers simple sailing at an attractive price. Tim Thomas took to the water to find out if it delivers on that promise.

Although slightly shorter overall, the 345's Judel/Vrolijk designed hull carries the same waterline length as the 355, suggesting similar performance in a lighter-weight package. Her vertical stem and stern certainly give her a modern look and her coachroof line – which in spite of carrying a little height to allow decent headroom below – is a vast improvement on the older 355.

The cockpit is large for a 34-footer, with a drop-leaf central table offering good alfresco dining options, while the twin wheels give the helmsman good views on either tack. Her hull features good beam carried aft from the mast, suggesting she will offer plenty of space below – a fact that was borne out when I stepped on board.

Below decks

The 345 offers two layout options – one with two double cabins (one forward, and one aft) and another with three double cabins. Our test yacht had the latter layout, with two double cabins aft.

Each aft cabin offers standing headroom at its forward end and sitting headroom on the formost end of the berth. The cabins may not be palatial suites but they're comparable with many larger yachts and, moreover, they are close to unique on a yacht of this size.
The rest is fairly standard – a C-shaped settee/dinette to starboard, banquette to port with an aft-facing chart table, galley aft and to starboard and a head/shower to port.

The galley area is reasonable, with a fair amount of stowage and a fridge/freezer that offers both top and front access. The sink unit is set into the transverse countertop, which also houses decent cupboards, a soft-close drawer and a pivot bin.

Hanse _345_11

Access to the bilge in the saloon is only an inspection hatch around the keel bolts – although I suspect the rest of the bilge area is pretty shallow – and the table, which opens out to allow those seated on the banquette to port to join the party, offers some stowage for bottles.

There are a couple of niggles with the interior that irk an old seadog like me. First, perching on the aft end of the port banquette and a lack of chart table fiddles means that you haven't got a hope of navigating from here on port tack. Second, there are no strop points around the gimballed stove to starboard, meaning an off-watch cuppa will be a challenge to brew while on starboard tack.

The engine – a Volvo Penta D1-20 (the D1-30 is available as an option) – is accessed from three sides, through a side inspection hatch in each of the aft cabins and from the front under the lifting companionway steps.

On deck

Hanse is making a big thing of the shorthanded sailing characteristics of its yachts and the 345 is no exception – the lines-led-aft and self-tacker philosophies have been brought all the way down to this model.

Both cockpit and sidedecks are clean and free of trip and hit hazards – perfect for family cruising. Rope bins outboard of each helm keep the worst of the spaghetti at bay and the primaries are within easy reach of the helm. This is a singlehander's dream.

The Elvstrom sails include a fully battened main and a self-tacker with a great cut (enhanced performance radials are also an option), although if you want a bit more oomph you can opt for sidedeck tracks for a 105 per cent genoa.

The view from the helm is good, with a large Simrad screen mounted on the aft end of the cockpit table and twin IS40 repeaters on the aft ends of each of the coamings. Cockpit stowage is reasonable but does suffer from having the twin aft cabins. The grabrail on the cockpit table is solid and falls naturally to hand, making this an incredibly safe environment even when the seas get a bit lively.

Sailing the Hanse 345

While it’s not the rocket ship of the Hanse fleet, the 345 puts in a surprising turn of speed thanks to an excellent hull and good sailplan. At a slightly pinched 25 degrees apparent wind angle she cantered along at 5.5kts, accelerating easily to 6.1kts at 30 degrees AWA. Crack off another five degrees (to 35 AWA / 50 degrees true) and she was happy at around 6.5kts.

With the snuffer, flying the gennaker was an easy task for us sailing shorthanded as we were. With no scope for running an adjustable tackline aft, this does limit your trim possibilities if you feel the urge to sail hot or deep. Having said that, she trucked along nicely at 6.5kts in 10kts true wind on a slight close reach, and maintained speeds between 5 and 6kts when running deeper.

Hanse _345_4

Moreover, she was a real doddle to trim and to helm and having an adjustable backstay on a 4:1 reduction just by the starboard helm gives you good, additional trim options.

If I have one grumble about the 345's otherwise excellent sailing characteristics, it is that there is a lack of feel through the wheels. During the day it is easy to spot the visual clues of being overpressed, but sailing in gusty conditions at night it's nice to be able to feel what the yacht is about to do when visual cues are gone.

The 345 remains poised and responsive on all points of sail and would certainly offer pleasing sailing performance for all but the hardcore racers.

The verdict

Good sailing performance, good looks, a good options list and a good price tag make the Hanse 345 a very attractive proposition. Throw in a sociable and safe cockpit, easy shorthanded sailing and the addition of that third double cabin and, minor foibles aside, Hanse looks to have created another winner.

Highs

• Great accommodation space, particularly with the three-cabin layout option
• Good looks and a great hull
• Solid sailing performance
• Big cockpit
• Wide choice of interior woods and fabrics

Lows

• Lack of feel through the wheel upwind when powered up
• Some elements of fitout and
• trim could be better finished
• Headroom in third cabin is limited

For the latest boat news, reviews and features, subscribe to Trade-A-Boat magazine here.

Keep up to date with news from Trade-A-boat or like us on Facebook!