We all have mixed feelings about very beamy boats writes W M Nixon. They can certainly provide a significant amount of extra space, but whether or not that actually improves the accommodation depends entirely on how it has been utilised. Some interior designers seem to think that space is a good thing in its own right. Yet in a cruising boat, we need useful room, not space for space’s sake.
And of course we all know only too well that an excessively beamy boat really needs twin rudders to have any sort of manners in tricky conditions involving a marked angle of heel. Happily, twin rudders are becoming more frequently used these days. But there was a whole generation of increasingly beamy boats which had to make do with single rudders, and in squally weather when heeled, they’d often turn round and look at you……. So when Hanse Yachts from Germany started making their impact on the international scene after being founded in 1990, they were like a breath of fresh air. They seemed able to combine very satisfactory accommodation without being excessively beamy. And they were a delight to sail.
This Hanse 301from 2002 well represents the firm’s design philosophy. Sailors from a good while back will find it interesting that a 30ft boat with 9.12ft beam can be described as “elegantly slim”. Yet by comparison with many of today’s wide boats, that’s what she is. But a quick look at the accommodation shows that she has all you could reasonably require, though the athwartships double bunk down aft is a novel feature. With her relatively slim hull she is easily driven, but even at the time she appeared, many felt the standard Volvo MD diesel of just 10hp was a bit on the light side. However, this boat has the larger option of the MD 2020, giving 19hp, which makes sense.
Another attractive feature is the self-tacking jib on the nicely proportioned fractional rig. The sense of freedom which this imparts when sailing has to be experienced to be believed. In all, the Hanse 301 is a very attractive package, and she’s for sale on Cork Harbour through Crosshaven Boatyard at €28,500. Full advert here.