Hanse 531 Refit

Our current lovely boat was built in 2005 and lowered into the water for the first time in 2006. Now, although age is just a number (or so I keep telling myself), there are a few items we would want to update. This blog page is a summary of what we have thought of so far.

The “Before” List

To see a list of all the items we have in mind, head over to this Google Sheets address: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1cNfcmO6tfRjqlDa9a5-oSC2LAd0BCCencXPVuoxVXoM/edit?usp=sharing

Below, short summaries for each category.


  • During our summer sail, two mainsail battens broke through their luff pockets, so the sail needs to be removed and fixed.
  • On the wishlist: a code zero!

Running Rigging

  • The jib sheet is old and incredibly stiff. The friction is so bad that it’s impossible to roll out the jib without a winch.
  • The jib tack block (a Harken 75) is badly damaged.
  • The boom vang tensioning system is (critically) undersized.
  • The furlerboom endless control line (rolling the mainsail in/out) is almost broken.

Deck/Exterior Equipment

  • We’d like more modern wheels (Carbonautics, like on the modern-day Hanses!).
  • There’s an oil leak (or there was at some time) on the winch motor of the Harken 53 starboard primary winch.
  • Some of the Spinlock clutches are too worn out and the lines are slipping.

Navigation Lights

  • We already fixed the anchor and steaming lights, but the connectors to the other lights need to be checked and replaced.

Engine / Motors / Propulsion

  • There is some kind of connection problem between the Yanmar engine and its control panel (the RPMs jump erratically although the engine sounds just fine).
  • The diesel generator is leaking diesel so that needs to be fixed and all the diesel-soaked insulation material needs to be replaced (or maybe the whole generator).
  • The MaxPower bow thruster relay is clogged and needs to be replaced.


  • No working 12/24V system for music in the cockpit or saloon.
  • Too many 1980s display screens inside.


  • Basically, upgrade the old Raymarine/Seatalk system to a modern B&G NMEA2000 system.
  • Keep at least the new Raymarine autopilot.

Electrical System

  • Quite a few old batteries in three battery banks (starter, service, alternator/thruster/winches).
  • Would be nice to upgrade the service bank to lithium and the thruster bank to something more suitable for thrusters.
  • Neither the inverter nor the generator provides pure sine wave AC, so it would be good to upgrade at least the inverter (likely also the generator, but let’s see).
  • Solar panels needed.
  • Battery monitors needed.


  • Upgrade the upholstery.

Other Stuff

  • The teak deck. I’m a bit unsure about what to do with it but cosmetically, I don’t really like it. It’s quite thick still, however, so not in any immediate need of repairs.
  • A lot of small gelcoat fixes needed.
  • Change all the toilet hoses (they smell!)
  • Cockpit cushions!

The “After” List

The other Google Sheets, documenting our progress, is over here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1w_iEtK0C033rPuXQN8jlHNC-sXcuF-6Kt4if-SVecoQ/edit?usp=sharing

So, ahoy to all, and on to do the actual work. Thank you for being a part of our journey! 😊

Our lovely lady, waiting to became even more lovely! πŸ™‚


  1. Quite a list! I’m interested – now you’ve experienced both, how do think about a smaller newer boat (388) vs older bigger boat (531 for family adventures. It’s a trade off our family are facing (with 2 young kids) – currently our sailing is on a relatively new Oceanis 35.1, but would love more space!

    1. Thanks for your comment!

      My immediate feelings are on the PRO side:
      – The biggest plus is better performance: the 531 just goes much faster and is much stiffer/more stable to sail.
      – The 531, with a stern thruster as well, is easier to handle when docking. (And I do dislike that part of sailing the most :D)
      – More storage space is great (getting the dinghy inside πŸ‘, not having to store the fenders like it’s tetris).
      – Bigger cabins for the children is good. The overall increase in living space is nice but not the most crucial thing for us. We (the people) fit reasonably well in the 388 as well.
      – The much bigger showering space is something Charlotte appreciates a lot. Me too.

      And the CON side:
      – Biggest minus: stuff breaks/is breaking and needs to be replaced. The first few years with a new boat are blissful in that respect. (At least with the 388 they were.)
      – Also, a 16+ years old boat is usually some combination of obsolete and creative upgrades. Buying a new boat you get exactly what you want, so stepping into someone else’s decisions does require some efforts in the compromise OR pricey upgrade department πŸ™‚
      – Newer boats have big hull windows, and I love those. The 531 has some as well, but they are much smaller than on the newer yachts.

      Adding all these intuitive feelings up, I/we absolutely do not regret the move up in size.

Leave a comment

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