Hanse Yachts in Southampton

Last weekend we had the wonderful opportunity to go for a short trip to England to celebrate Charlotte’s birthday. We stopped by “Britain’s Biggest & Best Boat Festival”, the Southampton Boat Show, as well. To find our next dream boat, maybe, some years down the road. But also, with some freshly acquired experience of our own Hanse 388, to see how the other Hanses compare.

(It’s a bit embarrassing to write about our next dream boat, by the way, when we’ve had our current dream boat only for a few months. This was always the plan, though, to first learn to sail together with as small as possible a boat. Then, if we’d still want to do it, graduate to something big enough to carry us further, a bit closer to the turquoise water and white sands we’re set on one day maybe reaching. Or not, we’ll see 😌)

Hanse 418 vs Hanse 388

Hanse 418 is the same boat as the 388, but a bit bigger.

When we stepped inside the 418, it basically felt like stepping into our own boat. With one exception: the stairs seemed just a bit less steep than our’s. This feeling repeated itself a few times. Pretty much the same, but just a bit wider, taller, longer, etc.

There was just a bit more storage space in the cabins, as well, and I assume the cockpit lockers might also have been a tad bigger.

One quite substantial difference in the master cabin, though, the bed was less V shaped so it should be possible to sleep with your heads and pillows forward instead of aft, like we do on the 388. We did try to sleep heads forward for a while, but it was just a bit too crammed. Charlotte was fine, either way. I needed a bit more space.

Differences on paper:

(If you’re on a mobile and the table looks broken, try changing into landscape mode.)

Hanse 388Hanse 418
Area*)31.4 m236.7 m2 (+20%)
Speed*)30h 49min29h 35min (-4%)
Days of water*)813
Days of holding*)46
Hours of motoring*)5353
Dish washer
Washing machine
Separate shower
Dinghy garage
Price**)176.200 €205.300 € (+16%)

*) My half-scientific approach produces these numbers:

  • Area – the rough area of the boat at deck level. (The bigger boats are much taller, so the volume increase would be bigger than the area increase.)
  • Speed – how long will it take to sail 100 miles upwind (41-42 degrees) plus 100 miles reaching (90 degrees), with 90% of Hanse’s polar speeds at 14 knots of wind. (200 miles is incidentally about the distance from our home port to Visby.)
  • Days of water – we used about 36 litres per day with six person and a dog, so (tank size / 36).
  • Days of holding – we used about 1.5 litres per day per person, so (tank size / 9).
  • Hours of motoring – (tank size / [3 litres per hour])

**) List prices, including all the options we have on our own boat, excluding VAT.

Our opinion: The 418 is pretty close to our current dream boat, not the next one. It’s a bit roomier and quicker, for a bit more money. The standard version comes with a bigger engine, so that’s a bonus as well.

Hanse 458 vs Hanse 418

While the step up from a 388 to 418 didn’t feel that big, the 458 was a surprisingly different boat!

Charlotte soaking up the atmosphere of the decidedly bigger cockpit. And, lo and behold, there is a barbecue there under the starboard helmsperson’s seat! (The 458 doesn’t have folding sets, which is nice.)

Compared to the 418 (and the 388), the 458 lounge seemed more open and spacious.

“Wow! It has a separate shower!” Charlotte shouted. “This is our next dream boat! This is our next dream boat!” she continued, happily.

Charlotte doesn’t like the combined toilet/shower in the 388 very much. (“Everything gets wet.”). The 458 comes with a separate shower and head in the master cabin, so that’s certainly one solution to her problem.

That wonderful, separate shower! AND you can shower handsfree here!
This is the first model with an (at least partly) island berth, meaning you can walk down the sides the thing. Well, fall down there also, obviously, when the boat is heeled over. Anyway, it feels quite royal!
Hanse 418Hanse 458
Area36.7 m243.2 m2 (+17%)
Speed29h 35min28h 21min (-4%)
Days of water1313
Days of holding68 (+33%)
Hours of motoring5370 (+32%)
Dish washer
Washing machine
Separate showerYES!!
Dinghy garage
Price205.300 €264.100 € (+29%)
with dream options289.800 €

Our opinion: The 458 is a big upgrade from the 388 (and the 418). On the other hand, it’s a big step up in price as well. It doesn’t have a dinghy garage and no factory provided washers either. Still, it is a beautiful, spacious boat, and it has a separate shower. A possible dream boat, for sure!

Hanse 508 vs Hanse 458

The first thing that came to mind when looking at the 508: it was a lot higher than the smaller Hanses. Each one increased in height a bit, but the jump from the 458 to the 508 was more than noticeable.

Reaching the skies here. Notice how the bathing platform has been moved lower down, close to the water surface and there are stairs to get up to deck level. No dinghy garage here, either, though.

“Oh wow! Look at this kitchen!” Charlotte shouted down from inside.

The 508 is the first model with a long model galley on the port side. It’s quite cool and it certainly transforms the whole lounge/saloon area.

“And ooh! Look at the shower and toilet!” Charlotte shouted, a while later, from the master cabin “This is a perfect solution! And see how much storage space here is! This is our dream boat!”

The toilet plus shower solution in the master cabin was actually really smart. Instead of putting them in separate rooms, they were now combined into one, but with a separation wall to prevent water from entering the toilet area. We liked it!

Hanse 458Hanse 508
Area43.2 m251.6 m2 (+19%)
Speed28h 21min26h 45min (-6%)
Days of water1318 (+38%)
Days of holding816 (+100%)
Hours of motoring7093 (+33%)
Dish washerYES!
Washing machineYES!
Separate showerYES!YES!
Dinghy garage
Price264.100 €347.500 € (+32%)
with dream options414.950 €

Our opinion: The 508 is the first yacht (can’t really call this a ‘boat’ now) that ticks almost all the boxes on our short dream boat list. It’s again a big step up from the 458, at least in size. It’s possible to get a second forestay on the 508, and this is also something we’d want.

Hanse 548 vs Hanse 508

A dinghy garage!

With an electrically powered dinghy! Perfect!

So, the 548 was really something else. The cockpit was big and beautiful, with a BBQ wet bar and cockpit tables that could be lowered down to become sun beds. (The lowering mechanisms looked quite cool, by the way. Almost like something out of a computer game.)

Then, after stepping down into the cockpit, we were completely sold.

It looked totally different from the 508. Back to a starboard galley, but this time with a kitchen island, and everything neatly tucked away to the right of the stairs, so that the saloon seemed extremely spacious and inviting.

Take a moment to breathe this in!
Simple, smart.

The master cabin was equally perfect, with the same shower layout and storage options as in the 508.

“Oh! It has a bench,” Charlotte shouted from the port aft cabin. “Here I could read my new Stephen King books,” she added happily.

It was quite beautiful.

And then it happened!

That final push over the cliff …

When time stood still for just a breath or two ….

When before us suddenly appeared …

Wait for it …

The washing machine! TA-DA!

Charlotte found the washing machine! The first one we had ever seen on a yacht!

“So, how do you get enough water to use it,” I asked the kind salesperson. (They all were, by the way, were nice and friendly!)

“You add a water maker,” he replied, and pointed back to where the water maker is usually installed.

“Ah, yes, of course,” I said, and quickly added a big pile of money to the final price, in the back of my mind.

Big Hanse 548, small Charlotte.

“This is our dream yacht,” Charlotte said, sounding like she really meant it.

“She’s been saying this for every yacht since the 458,” I said to the salesperson.

“Oh good then,” he said. “And you should stop here and not go further,” he added, and pointed towards the next yacht in line. It was a Hanse 588, the biggest and most expensive Hanse in the show.

Hanse 508Hanse 548
Area51.6 m257.7 m2 (+12%)
Speed26h 47min26h 7min (-2%)
Days of water1820 (+11%)
Days of holding1623 (+44%)
Hours of motoring93173 (+86%)
Dish washerYES!YES!
Washing machineYES!YES!
Separate showerYES!YES!
Dinghy garageYES!
Price347.500 €457.600 € (+32%)
with dream options576.000 €

Our opinion: We love the 548! Not having sailed one, we know nothing about that important aspect. But as a home on water, it seems wonderful. This is surely a yacht that we’d be happy to take with us (or she take us) to our turquoise water and white sand.

Hanse 588 vs Hanse 548

The Hanse 588 was the only one with sun beds on the coach roof. Sun tanning fan Charlotte liked. She liked the teak as well. “Looks more expensive somehow,” she said.

The Hanse 588 was certainly a beautiful yacht, a bit bigger than the 548 in every respect.

The dinghy garage is just a bit bigger. Here with the Williams Turbojet 285.

Stepping down the stairs to the saloon, though, they layout didn’t feel quite as spacious as on the 548. Where the galley on the 548 was tucked away on the starboard side, on the 588 it extended more to the port/left. This is probably a good thing when moving around while underway (with waves and heeling), but it did take away some of the openness feeling.

Quite a beautiful kitchen! And see those cup above the kitchen fan. Nice touch!

This particular Hanse didn’t have a utility room, but they had chosen to go with the bunk beds instead. The utility room on the 588 is much bigger than on the 548, so it would have been nice to see it.

The master cabin had a separate shower stall and toilet. In fact, Hanse doesn’t provide the option to get a combined, angled one, like on the 548. It’s a shame, since we really liked that. Not only because of the perceived increase in storage space, but because it broke the symmetric design of the master cabin, and made it feel more like a bedroom, less like a cabin.

Hanse 548Hanse 588
Area57.7 m264.3 m2 (+105%)
Speed26h 7min26h 30min (+1%)
Days of water2020
Days of holding2323
Hours of motoring173173
Dish washerYES!YES!
Washing machineYES!YES!
Separate showerYES!YES!
Dinghy garageYES!YES!
Price457.600 €530.200 € (+16%)
with dream options648.500 €

Our opinion: The 588 is a majestic boat. It’s bigger than the 548 in every respect, by a bit. In the Hanse brochures it’s (a bit surprisingly) not faster than the 548, but they seem to be using different sail setups (code zero vs jib), so that probably explains it. However, we like the 548 better. It ticks all the boxes and is less expensive, so we’ll stick with that!

What About a Swan?

When I first started sailing, over twenty years ago, almost everyone looked up at Nautor’s Swans as their ultimate dream boats. The swan is Finland’s national bird, so I guess the Swan wasn’t far from being our national sailboat.

There were some Swans in Southampton as well, so we went to check out the new Swan 48.

A familiar flag and a cool yacht!

“This looks like it’s made in Finland,” Charlotte said, and I sort of understood what she meant. It had this minimalistic, even a bit plain character to it. Certainly an extremely cool sailboat, but would I want to live on it?

I think Nautor is doing what they’ve done for a long time: sell beautiful, superbly well designed and well performing sailing yachts … to sailors.

Hanse, on the other hand, seems to approach a broader market of people (men, women, children, families), and selling us a lifestyle. Sailing, yes, but equally importantly: comfortable, enjoyable living together, in a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing sailing yacht.

Above: the “hero” pictures from the Swan 48 and Hanse 548 landing pages.

(As a side note, I like it when marketing images don’t promote stereotypical views we’d better be without. For instance, it would be refreshing to more often see the woman commanding the large sailboat while the man is relaxing, getting a tan, sipping his cocktail and admiring the skipper’s helming skills.)

Hanse 548Swan 48
Area57.7 m251 m2 (-12%)
Speed26h 7min ?*)
Days of water2013 (-35%)
Days of holding2311 (-52%)
Hours of motoring173120 (-31%)
Dish washerYES!(I assume, YES)
Washing machineYES!YES!
Separate showerYES!YES!
Dinghy garageYES!YES!
Price457.600 €“about a million”**)
with dream options576.000 €

*) Couldn’t find any ORC/speed data for the new Swan 48. The fastest old model is just a tad slower than the Hanse 548.

**) Salesperson’s rough opinion of the price of the model we saw in Southampton, in pounds sterling. Not sure whether VAT included or not. YachtWorld lists one “old model” year 2000 Swan 48 at 575.000 €, tax included.

Our opinion: The Hanse brand touches us on so many points, that the choice is quite clear to us both. Even with prices in the same ballpark (and they’re not), our dreamboat would be a Hanse 548, not a Swan 48.

Thank You

Waves and thank yous to the Inspiration Marine crew who hosted Hanse’s part of the Southampton boat show (along with some other brands). After hearing so much about their (legendary!) dealership, it was lovely to see a few of them in person.

“So, did you find your next dream boat?” one of the Inspiration Marine people asked us.

“Yes,” I replied. “We really fell in love with the 548.”

He smiled at us warmly. “Congratulations!” he said, and shook my hand with a firm, nice grip.


  1. Revisiting this post whist dreaming of warm days and balmy winds of summer (as you do) and pondering that maybe, just maybe I have another boat in my future.
    I bought Ningaloo after owning a 10m Beneteau for 15 years. My thinking was that if I kept the 385 the same number of years I’d be 70 and maybe thinking of sailing less.
    Turning 60 this year has caused me to think again. Much has changed in the last 5 years:. I’m now divorced and I’m probably going to lose my EU citizenship which means my plans to continue living aboard my boat in continental Europe 4-5 months a year (as I have done since 2004) are probably not going to be possible.
    The 385 is not my idea of a blue water cruiser. The 415/8 isn’t much different but I think the 455/8 might be ok for me. Still easy enough for solo or sailing with less experienced crew (maybe with electric winches) and if I go for a 2nd hand 455 not too much extra investment.
    As to where I sail if I can’t stay in Europe? Maybe a summer in the Med before crossing the Atlantic and on to my “other” home in Australia?
    If you are going to dream, dream big!
    And like your summer plans, if none of this happens, I’ll enjoy my time on Ningaloo.

    1. I would have hit the “like” button to your post if this place had one 😀

      You have far more experience with Hanse than we have, but the 455/458 is definitive step up, as you said. And dreaming big is a good way to dream 🙂

      I’m sorry about the divorce (I’ve had my share of that also). And let’s hope the brexiteers will spare a thought for recreational boaters as well. Well, maybe not that high on the list, but who knows.

      Kindest regards,

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *