Sailing Hvar, Croatia’s Island Paradise (YouTube Episode 8)

 

 

In our latest YouTube video, we sail to Croatia’s party island Hvar and it’s idyllic islands, the Pakleni Islands.

We visit Hvar Town’s spectacular Venetian fortress that was built with the help of Spanish engineers in the 13th Century, head to some beach bars, and get into some maintenance tasks, including scrubbing Tranquilo clean and fixing El’s feet after stepping into sea urchins.

Sailing Croatia’s Dazzling Dalmatia (YouTube Episode 7)

 

In our latest YouTube video, we sail into Dalmatia, swimming its crystal clear waters and exploring the spectacular historical towns of Primosten and Split.

We also look at passage planning Tranquilo style (with PredictWind software and our Croatia Pilot book) and address the challenges of Tranquilo’s deep rudder.

Preparing Tranquilo for Sailing Around the World – YouTube Episode 2

In our Episode 2, we look at preparing Tranquilo for sailing around the world, including final checks of the equipment we have installed, learning to use our assymetric spinnaker, unboxing of our critical equipment, replacing the standard anchor provided by Hanse with a Rocna 33 anchor,  and signing off the handover and celebrating the fact that Tranquilo is now ours!

Announcing Tranquilo: a Hanse 455

We’ve just placed our order for Tranquilo! It will be a Hanse 455.

The Yacht

Pittwater 455The decision in the end came down to the Dufour 460 and the Hanse 455. It was a very close choice. Both yachts come from highly respected factories, designed by some of the world’s leading nautical architects. Both have the performance, quality, stability and safety we’re looking for to cross oceans.

Important to note, while the the Bavaria 46 Cruiser dropped off our shortlist, it’s still a fine boat. It also met the aforementioned criteria. It came down to aesthetics on deck (the halyards and sheets on the cabin top clutter up useful space) and down below (the open layout wasn’t ideal for crossing oceans).

The reasons for choosing the 455 over the 460 came down to, and you’ll appreciate the subtleties:

  • larger cockpit – let’s be fair, that’s where we’ll be spending the most time
  • the helm pedestals – provide easy viewing of the chartplotter and navigation instruments; the 460’s chartplotter location was fine, but just not as well positioned for easy viewing
  • helm positions – the 455 helms allow the helmsperson to straddle the wheel, which is a comfortable position providing solid bracing when sailing
  • solid toe rail – the 455 has a large, solid toe rail which will be useful when having to move forward in rough seas
  • spring cleats – how many times have you stubbed your toe on the cleats? Well we’ve done it enough times to appreciate the 455’s cleats that can be pushed down into the toe rail out of harm’s way
  • larger cabintop windows, letting in more light for a brighter saloon
  • traditional L-shaped galley – while an innovative feature, the open galley of the 460 would have made it rough to cook in heavy seas; the 455’s galley has good bracing spots for a rolling sea
  • very importantly, anchors! – the beautifully designed bowspit and bowroller of the 460 can’t accommodate a Rocna 33, maybe the best anchor in the world (if it’s good enough for Jimmy Cornell for his arctic sailing, it’s good enough for us!). We’ll have to wrangle something on Tranquilo but looks like it’s definitely do-able
  • price.

Finally, some very respected sailors recently bought and are sailing Hanses, testament to their quality and performance.

Here’s our test of the Hanse 455. Note that with light winds we couldn’t test how the 455 handles in heavy seas. It did show us it has a very slippery hull in light winds!

And a more thorough review by Sailing Today!

The Dealer

Having selected the Hanse 455 we needed to decide on the dealer to place the order with. We appreciate the time and effort of both Windcraft in Australia and Inspiration Marine in the UK in working through the different options, providing suggestions and alternatives to standard factory options. They were both responsive and listened to what we needed. Most importantly, they both have a very strong reputation for supporting their owners in far reaches of the world, as attested for in online forums and by the awards they have received.

We placed the order with Windcraft. They put a lot of time into us, comparing the different models, arranging test sails, and working through the terms and conditions so we’re all comfortable with what we’re getting and how we will be supported when we finally sail. Being in Australia, we can work closely with them to understand all the ins and outs of the 455 and how to maintain Tranquilo in the far reaches of the world (well, at least far flung islands of the Pacific).

Next

The Hanse factory in Greifswald, Germany, will be building Tranquilo over the next 8 months, ready for transporting to Slovenia where we’ll be doing the handover, ahead of our first leg down the Adriatic!

The Yacht Shortlist: Dufour 460, Hanse 455 & Bavaria Cruiser 46

We’re now in final negotiations with the yacht dealers and factories. We have shortlisted down to three 46′ yacht models, based on the following criteria, in order of importance:

  • Safety
  • Build quality
  • Worldwide support
  • Sailing performance
  • Water and food storage
  • Liveability
  • Value

The three options we’ve narrowed down to are:

Dufour 460

Dufour 460 741_medium

We’ve been impressed with the Dufour 500 and 560, both Cruising World Yacht of the Year winners in the past two years. The Dufours we’ve sailed, the 36 and 335, have proven to be sprightly, very stable and fun to sail. We were excited when Dufour announced a smaller version of the 560 and 500 and more in line with our requirements, the 460. Key features we love:

  • Hard chines: the chines restrict the heal on the yacht when sailing into the wind, ensuring faster, more comfortable close-haul sailing. Someone recently equated it to replacing all the crew hanging off the side of the yacht on a close-haul.
  • Saloon: with the galley forward, the broader part of the beam is available for the saloon, providing more space. The long lounges should also provide good sea berths during inclement seas.
  • Cockpit: large with plenty of handholds, the convertible sun lounge and the BBQ built into the aft seating are nice extras. Like the other two models, it sports a folding transom.

Most importantly, the 460 looks to be very stable and safe, and current Dufour owners we have talked to confirm the very good quality build Dufour are respected for.

Hanse 455

The Hanse have an ultra-modern look and are fast, as you’d expect from yachts designed by Judel & Vrolijk, who were the design team behind the Americas Cup winning yacht Alinghi.  Features we like about the 455 include:

  • Cockpit: All lines including the main sheet lead aft to the helm, enhancing solo sailing, each helm pedestal has a chart plotter providing quick access to GPS location, the cockpit is large and comfortable with plenty of handholds. The BBQ under the aft seat is an added extra!
  • Self-tacking headsail: While we consider ourselves purists and there’s nothing better than maximising sailing performance by trimming the sails, a self-tacking headsail provides clear benefits for sailing shorthanded.While the 460 also has a self-tacking option, Hanse designs all their yachts around the self-tacking.
  • B&G Electronic Instruments: The only electronics specifically designed for sailing; the Sailsteer software provides a vast array of key data for maximum sailing performance

Bavaria Cruiser 46

Bavaria Cruiser 46 c46-7

We’ve been sailing Bavarias all our sailing lives – in the Med, Whitsundays, Sydney, and have found them to be solid, rather uninspiring vessels. They seem to be the workhorse of the cruising industry. But that’s all changed lately, with Bavaria bringing in the Farr team to design all their current models; Farr are famous for designing the latest Volvo Open 70 for the Volvo Ocean Race as well as Team Oracle Racing’s Americas Cup yachts and the highly successful Beneteau First range which has one many cups including the Sydney to Hobart. Features we like of the Cruiser 46 include:

  • Solid build, which has been highly lauded by the sailing press
  • Very large cockpit and the largest opening transom platform of the three
  • Very large owner’s cabin, almost palatial!

 

All three yachts also have the following in common:

  • Opening transom: the back of the yacht folds down to provide a large platform, essentially extending the livable space on each yacht by 2-3 feet. Modern 45′ yachts  now have the same livable space as past 50′ yachts.
  • Drop-down saloon table: provides the option to have up to 8 people on board with the table dropping to make an additional double berth (bed) in the saloon
  • Storage: lots of storage space for food and water provisions, safety equipment and critical items like SUPs and surfboards!

Key Features

Dufour 460 Hanse 455 Bavaria Cruiser 46
Length Overall 14.15 m 13.95 m 14.27
Length Waterline 12.54 m 12.2 m 12.74 m
Max Beam 4.5 m 4.4 m 4.4 m
Draught 2.2 m 2.25 m 2.1 m
Displacement 10,760 kg 11,600 kg 12,600 kg
Keel weight 2,850 kg 3,500 kg 3,400 kg
Total Sail Area 100 sqm 103 sqm 107 sqm
Performance
Sail Area / Displacement Ratio* 21 21 20
Displacement / Length Ratio ** 152 178 170
Loaded Displacement / Length Ratio *** 176 205 193
Stability
Angle of Vanishing Stability 119 117 118
Ballast Ratio 26% 30% 27%
Water capacity 530 L 450 L 360 L
Fuel capacity 250 L 220 L 210 L
* SA/D Range of Values:
16 to 18 – Heavy offshore cruisers
18 to 22 – Medium cruisers
22 to 26 – Inshore cruisers, racing yachts
26 to 30+ – Extreme racing yachts
** D/L Range of Values:
Up to 100 – Ultralight
100 to 200 – Light
200 to 300 – Moderate
300 to 400 – Heavy
400+ – Very heavy
*** Added 1,700kg load for moderate bluewater use

What all three yachts don’t have is ultra-high stability. But we’re not heading to the high latitudes where yachts constantly face 10’+ seas and have a chance of knockdown. We’re going to be sailing in the tropics where such conditions are highly unlikely and we will have constant weather forecasts via satellite to enable us to avoid the worst. To put it in context, all three yachts would meet the strict safety requirements of the Sydney-Hobart, and we’re not going anywhere near the fearsome Bass Strait or its like.