The 400 is actually in its mk III form although all versions use the same hull and very similar interior layouts. The revamp from MkII to MkIII was more thorough than MkI to MkII. The boat we looked at was a MkII.
To be honest we came to the 400 by default. The Wombet and I had decided that for various reasons we needed to look at boats that were relatively easy to handle.
As I've talked about previously the Dehler DS41 is , of the reasonably priced production boats, pretty close to my ultimate but unfortunately only a couple of them ever came to Australia, indeed only 100 or so were ever built, the majority of which are in Europe. I believe from talking with the US distributor of Dehler that less than ten ever made it across the Atlantic. Other Dehlers are more numerous but not in Australia and they are seriously expensive down here. At this moment only one Dehler is for sale in Australia and she has a long racing and charter history so she may well be a bit tired.
So......looking around I found a Hanse 411 for sale in Queensland. Now this is an older boat (the forerunner to the 400) and the basic design appealed to us. The negative was a shoal keel with 5'1" (1.5m) draft. Standard keel on the 411 was 6'5" (2.0m). 2m is as deep as I'd go in a cruising boat but 1.5m seems a bit shallow to me.
Which led me to look at the more common H400. Including the 411 there are as many 40' Hanses in Australia as there were Dehler DS41s built world wide.
For me the H400 is something of a curate's egg....good in parts. In the two cabin, extended galley, single head MkI version she is I think for us a good boat. Losing the third cabin gives you a massive cockpit locker that is also accessible from the galley. Partitioned and with storage bins or baskets the f'ward section would make a great pantry with the aft section still having plenty of room for sails and other cruising essentials. Second cabin is to port and when fitted with lee clothes gives, along with the main settee, two decent sea berths plus space under the cockpit for life raft stowage.
Head, quite acceptably sized for two people, is also aft. Fitted with a folding shower screen that is obviously someone's idea of a joke. The shower space would be bloody useless if you close the screen and while I am tallish I am not a large frame.
F'ward cabin has a good sized berth with room to sleep feet aft. This is a must have feature for us. We both like sleeping up front but I have had it with the cramped nature of most v-berths.
We like our food, we like to cook. In the H400 MkI twin the galley is a beauty. Plenty of space for two people is need be, twin sinks on centre line, fridge that is both top and front loading, space for a three burner range. The three cabin and all the MkIIs make do with a far less acceptable galley and that's a deal killer for us.
I think its also fair to emphasise that the H400 is not a truly acceptable cruising alternative for most people particularly those with a family or who intend carrying more than two people for any length of time nor for those thiking of long ocean voyages. They simply do not have the cargo carrying capacity of heavier displacement boats. Our cruising ideal is based on mainly coastal and/or short ocean hops where we would spend a few weeks out of the loop followed by a week in port. The 400 is capable of handling this where her crew is just two. Beyond that you would simply run out of fresh/refigerated food and be relying on tinned and processed plus whatever the sea gives up.
I'd note that from the moment you go below until you are in the f'ward cabin you are never out of reach of a handhold. Giving the voluminous nature of the main cabin you would need them in any sort of seway.
Up top the 400 is pretty impressive though in standard form woefully lacking in cruising niceties. No dodger, no bimini, no cockpit covers. Mk II is completely open at the stern, has huge single wheel and nowhere for the helmsman to comfortably sit. The MkI had aft end of cockpit enclosed with an opening gate/helmsman seat, the MIII a fold up boarding platform with twin wheels. For cruising the MkII version would be awful. General cockpit comfort however is excellent. When fitted with a dodger and cushions one could hunker down in that cockpit in comfort and splendour. With drop sides and a full cockpit awning it also becomes a pilot house.
Which brings me to windage. One friend has commented to me re the 400's freeboard. At first I disagreed with him but it is true to say that she has pretty high freeboard, a trait shared with quite a few of her modern brethren it would appear. Will she dance the fandango at anchor ? Quite possibly. Keeping the anchor away from that stright stem might be challenging as well.
Beyond the cockpit comfort on deck is good. Paulo has noted that winches seem somewhat undersized and I'd tend to agree with him though self tacking headsail does away with the need for large sheet winches unless you intend to carry a non self tacking genoa. Personally I would probably add a couple of extra larger sheet winches for which mounting points are provided. All other controls are back to cockpit and sensibly laid out. Sailing this boat single handed would be a doddle.
F'ward of the cockpit, cabin top grab rails are shorter than I'd like but from the cockpit, if fitted with grab rails on the dodger it is quite easy to move forward keeping a good hold, perhaps surprisingly so. At least until you reach the mast. Beyond that you enter uncharted territory, not uncommon on many boats it must be said and with the self tacker and headsail furler there is no pressing need to go up front in less than perfect conditions.
Performance wise the 400 would be an adequate club racer I'd guess but I doubt you'd be up the pointy end of the fleet. Good boat for a twilight race though. As a cruiser I'd reckon she'd make rapid passages in a fair degree of comfort. I'd not like to take one round Cape Horn on a bad day but then I have no intention of doing so no matter what the boat. 400s have completed the Sydney to Hobart race, one even ending up with a 9th overall so they are capable enough. Me I'd be keeping a close eye on the weather before heading out to cross Bass Strait.
So there you go.
Used Hanse 400e for Sale | Yachthub
Used Hanse 400e for Sale | Yachthub
Used Hanse 411 for Sale | Yachthub