This modern sloop, stylish and elegant throughout, is a pure delight under sail. A boat review from our June 2009 issueBy Andrew Burton June 9, 2009
Plumb-stemmed and sleek, with metallic paint the color of dark chocolate glistening in the warm Miami sun, the Hanse 630e, along with its crew, sat waiting for me to arrive for my test sail. I took in its straight sheer, the low, angular cabin trunk, and the wide-open cockpit with twin fold-out tables and double three-spoke carbon-fiber wheels. I admired the clear Flexiteek-covered deck with a dozen flush-mounted hatches. I hoped that the boat would feel as beautiful under sail as it looked at the dock. The short answer? Did it ever!
We motored out Government Cut into a warm, 17-knot northeasterly breeze blowing from the Gulf Stream, the waves there making the horizon lumpy. Pushed along by a 110-horsepower Yanmar, we were making an easy 7.5 knots. Later in the day, I found the boat easy to maneuver under power, and it backed straight, even across the breeze, thanks to a large balanced spade rudder and a nearly 10-foot-deep T-bulb keel.
Except perhaps for docking it, any knowledgeable owner capable of reaching the wheel could easily handle this boat when singlehanding. Just forward of where I sat at the starboard wheel was a bank of six rope clutches to control the lines led back from the mast and under the deck to the cockpit. Wrapping the main halyard around the electric winch immediately aft of the clutches, we hoisted the full-battened main with the push of a button. We then unfurled the self-tacking 100-percent jib. The halyard and sheet tails stowed neatly in a large bag in the cockpit. Putting one side of the double-ended mainsheet on the winch, we bore off, trucking to weather at 7.5 to 8 knots. There’s no traveler on the 630e, so we cranked on some vang and eased the sheet, immediately erasing what was a little more helm than I found comfortable. We should’ve tucked in a reef, but we were having fun, and everyone aboard wanted to see what the boat would do on a reach. We weren’t disappointed. The tall, fractional carbon rig powered us to 9, then 10 knots.01:2505:33
A splash into the cockpit signaled our arrival in the Gulf Stream, and I ducked below to explore the accommodations. Following the deck’s simple, uncluttered theme, the interior of the Hanse 630e looks straight out of Architectural Digest. I descended the five steps of the companionway stairs, the bulkheads to either side giving me a secure feeling despite the waves outside.
Immediately to starboard of the companionway, Corian countertops on different levels made the U-shaped galley interesting and workable. The small refrigerator and stove and lack of fiddles on the counter indicate that the owner chose a galley designed for coastal cruising in luxury rather than salty passagemaking. Bar stools just off the passageway near the galley would lead one to conclude that the interior designers at Hanse know that all parties end up in the kitchen.
To port is a single cabin with another small fridge. The saloon is a masterpiece of modern and simple European-style comfort. Three opening hatches, six ports in the topsides, and long, narrow ports in the sides of the house provide all the air and light you could ask for. To port, up to six diners will be comfortable sitting on a long, straight, L-shaped settee and a pair of chairs around the varnished mahogany table. Across the boat is a forward-facing nav table and a settee with storage beneath and fold-up footrests. Contrasting with and enhancing all this modernity are Herreshoff-style bulkheads in eggshell-white laminate with varnished mahogany trim. Leather-wrapped stainless-steel grabrails in the deckhead made transiting the saloon in the seaway easier.
Forward on our test boat, the owner had chosen a layout for the master stateroom that features a queen-size double berth to starboard. Gas rams help raise the mattress to access storage beneath. Just forward is a desk and chair, and opposite is a love seat that’s just close enough to the berth so you can put your feet up on it. Forward of all that but still well aft of the bow lies the full-width head, with a stall shower to starboard and toilet to port.
Aft are two identical double cabins, each with en-suite head and stall shower, a hanging locker, and a locker of shelves. Access to the sides of the engine is here, too.
Storage space seemed to be a priority both on deck and below; I found it to be plentiful throughout the boat, well designed, and conveniently reachable.
The hull of the Hanse 630e features prepreg epoxy fiberglass and E-glass vacuum-bagged over Corecell foam. Carbon-fiber chainplates tie into an integral fiberglass-and-steel grid that spreads the loads from the rig and ensures a stiff structure. The deck is balsa cored and vacuum bagged using glass and vinylester resin. Particular attention was paid to sound dampening in the deck construction, hence the absence of noise while I explored.
All too soon, my test sail came to an end and our captain was using the pop-down bow thruster to twirl the 630e around in the tight mooring basin so we could tie up pointing toward the ocean, eager for another romp in the Stream.
Andrew Burton, a frequent CW contributor, is a delivery skipper.