The morning we set out aboard the Hanse 505 for a test sail on Biscayne Bay just south of Miami, the trade winds were blowing a gentle 10 knots, the sky was clear and the water under our keel a perfect tropical turquoise that makes you want to dive right in.
Motoring away from Miamarina, the 505 handled very easily under power. Her large spade rudder had plenty of bite and the twin wheels allow you to choose your steering position for maximum visibility forward over the low cabin top. The saildrive unit is positioned quite far forward so there is very little cavitation on the rudder from prop wash. Yet, there is enough water flow even at slow speeds to allow for precise maneuvering.
We motored south and found that the 505 settles in at a good cruising speed of 6.5 knots at medium revolutions, around 1800 rpms. At this speed in relatively flat water, the 72-hp. diesel engine will consume about one gallon an hour; with 80 gallons of fuel in the tank, you have a safe motoring range of about 500 miles. That’s a reasonable margin for a boat making offshore passages.
Once under the bridge that leads to Key Biscayne and out into the open, shallow waters of Biscayne Bay, we hoisted the big full battened main and rolled out the self-tacking jib. The 505 fell off the wind a bit as we built some speed then we trimmed in and sailed as close to the breeze as we could. The Judel Vrolick designed hull slipped through the water easily and soon we were sailing at about 40 degrees to the apparent wind and making 6 plus knots in the 10 knots of true breeze.
We threw the 505 through a series of tacks, but only the person at the helm had to lift a finger. With the main trimmed and the jib tacking itself from side to side, the boat is as simple to sail as any cruising boat out there.
Off the wind, the main becomes the engine as the small jib tends to twist off at the top as the sheet is eased. The trick with small self-tacking jibs downwind is to sail at about 160 degrees to the true breeze and jibe your way toward your destination. For better sail shape, you can run extra sheets through blocks on the side decks to tighten the leech and power up the sail. The best solution downwind is to fly a cruising chute tacked to the bow roller and sheeted aft. This will give you a lot of extra speed and will allow you to sail deeper and faster.
Sail handling is easy for a crew of two. Sheets and control lines all lead aft under the deck to the two electric winches that are mounted in the cockpit within easy reach of the helms. This leaves the decks incredibly clean and all controls readily at hand. With the autopilot handling the helming, a singlehander will have no trouble managing trim. With only the two winches aft, you do have to switch sheets and lines on the winches with the locking line stoppers as you make adjustments to the main and jib sheets.
The cockpit of the 505 is huge and comfortable. Aft there is a wide fold-down transom that becomes a back porch and swimming platform. This is a great place to land a dinghy, and very convenient if you happen to cruise with a dog because you can shower it off as it comes aboard.
The cockpit bench seats are well designed for comfort and lower back support. You can fit eight around the huge folding table for al fresco meals and there is a fridge inside the table so you don’t have to run below for cold drinks. With the Bimini top protecting us from the Florida sun, the breeze blowing pleasantly and the boat sailing easily, lounging in the cockpit was simply cruising at its best.
The boat has a wide 15-foot, seven-inch beam that is carried well aft. This provides a lot of interior volume and plenty of initial hull stability. Under the water she has a T-bulb keel that draws six feet, nine inches. The optional shoal keel is only three inches shallower. Like most modern cruising boats, particularly those that have pushed the beam dimension to the edge, the 505 enjoys sailing with a minimum angle of heel. You will never put the rail in the water, or shouldn’t, so nobody on board will feel threatened or uncomfortable sailing in strong breezes. Despite her 30,900 pounds of displacement and deep bulb keel, the 505 has 1,300 square feet of working sail area that should be reefed early and often for best sailing performance.
As easy and pleasant as the boat was to sail, it was interesting to learn that the boat we were testing had sailed across the Atlantic from Germany and had taken part in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. It had 8,000 miles under its keel but looked and sailed as if it were brand new.
Down below, the 505 has a thoroughly modern look yet evokes qualities that are lasting and traditional in the sailing market. The saloon has overhead hatches, opening ports and large hull windows so the space is bright and airy. With a warm wood finish, stainless steel appliances and light colored fabrics, the feel is of a modern European apartment.
There are five different interior plans that can be mixed and matched by an owner to come up with the saloon configuration and private cabins that meet his needs. Hanse has a “Configurator” on their website that allows you to build the specs for your own boat, submit them to the main office in Germany and then generate a contact and a quote from your local dealer. Even if you are still months or years away from ordering a new Hanse, this tool brings the project to life and is fun to play with.
The galley on the 505 lies along the port side while the dinette is to starboard with an island with a counter and sunken ice bucket running down the middle. An inline galley works really well in port or at anchor and in most sailing conditions. At sea, a galley like this can be a challenge, particularly when sailing on port tack. But, as noted above, the 505 likes to be sailed as flat as possible so you won’t have to cook while the boat is over on its ear.
The galley has drawer style fridge and freezers, a four-burner propane stove and oven and large stainless steel sinks. To these you can add a built-in wine cooler, a trash compactor and a dishwasher.
The dinette will seat six comfortably and eight in a pinch. The long bench will be a good sea berth if you are making a passage with several crew. The dinette is set up with a TV inside the counter that rises and lowers on demand.
The chart table just aft has a forward facing table that is large enough for paper charts or for your laptop. There is plenty of bulkhead space for mounting radios, a chartplotter and other instruments.
The essential layout for the boat will have a large centerline double berth in the master forward cabin and two large double berths in the two spacious quarter cabins. There are private heads with separate showers for all three cabins.
Hanse is the world’s second largest sailboat builder and has, in Germanic style, developed highly efficient and automated build techniques. Yet, the boats can be highly customized by each owner and delivered in a remarkably short period of time. Given that the boats are series built, the quality and finish of the interior joinery is very good. And the systems are logically thought out and set up for easy maintenance and repair.
The new Hanse 505 replaces the 495 and evokes the new styling that the company introduced last year that will flow across the whole fleet as models get updated. If you like modern Euro styling in the overall design and the modern but slightly traditional look and feel of the interior, then the new Hanse 505 will really appeal to you.
Draft (shoal) 6’6”
Sail area 1390 sq. ft.
Displ. 30,900 lbs
Ballast 8.800 lbs.
Mast height 72’6”
Engine 72 hp.
Fuel 80 gals.
Water 170 gals.
Hanse Yachts US
29 Towbridge Cr.
Rowley, MA 01969