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svrocinante View Drop Down
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

Joined: 11 November 2006
Location: United States
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Our Experience with Hanse Yachts
    Posted: 13 July 2007 at 15:20

Well it’s been 6+ months and around 3000 miles since we left Annapolis, MD aboard our new Hanse 400e… time for a report! 

As most of you know, this trip actually started from Harwich Port, MA in our 1981 Catalina 30.  We loved our old gal, she just didn’t have the room we needed to cruise full time nor the speed we wanted to cover the miles we wanted to cover in a given day, so having reached Annapolis, we started shopping for a larger, faster vessel and finally settled on a Hanse 400e which we purchased from Annapolis Sail Yard, Inc.

I wish I could sit here and tell you how much we love our Hanse… but unfortunately, I can’t… from the day we took delivery, we’ve been plagued with problems… some small, some large, some annoying, and some downright dangerous.

But before I get into this, it’s only right to tell you about some great folks that did an amazing job and delivered not only what was promised, but delivered on time!
In no particular order:
Christine Roney; Yacht Interiors of Annapolis did an amazing job fabricating all of our interior cushions, a custom mattress with fitted sheets, installing window treatments, etc.
The folks from Accent Graphics, Inc. did a great job on our boat lettering including a super quick turn-around on a last minute decision on hailing port.

Don of Canvas Creations, Inc. outdid himself in delivering in record time, during the post boat show busy season, our custom dodger & bimini once again, including a last minute change when he came back to find we had installed our wind generator right where his bimini was going ;-)

Now back to our regularly scheduled program!
This is a quote straight from the Hanse Yachts website
“…Hanse puts Customer Service first and fills the term After Sales with a new meaning.”

I’ll say!

After being convinced by the folks at Annapolis Sail Yard, Inc. that I was buying a quality boat with a sterling reputation and great German engineering, I was amazed not only at the number of problems we’ve encountered, but especially at how poorly Hanse has responded to them.
I started questioning my decision soon after taking possession.
The first thing we noticed was a bit of water under the cushions in the rear berth… at first, they dismissed it as condensation… not thrilled with that idea, but OK… fortunately, it rained and I was able to find a trickle of water running down the inside of the hull… so much for condensation.  They busied themselves re-bedding screws in the toerail… nope, not it… how about this portlight, nope not it… and so on… bottom line, we left Annapolis almost a month late and still had the leak!

During the test sail, the Sail Yard, Inc. salesman was rolling in the headsail with quite a bit of effort, I asked what the problem was and was told “it probably has too much line on the drum, we’ll take care of it”… well, I finally took off some of the “excess” line myself… guess what, the headsail is still ridiculously hard to furl… I actually have to use a winch and yes, we’re talking turned dead into the wind!  One response we’ve gotten is that the problem is all the friction being generated by the self-tacking jib system… but to date, no indication of how they intend to fix the problem

Next came a comedy routine straight out of Abbot & Costello as I tested the various electronic circuits with me yelling down to my wife “turn on the anchor light”… “No, that’s the masthead light!”  we went back and forth quite a few times before I went down below convinced “she” was doing something wrong, because there is no way in hell that Hanse made such a mistake and then to top it all off didn’t catch it… wrong!
My friend George went up the mast and found it had been wired incorrectly!

The Simrad wind instruments didn’t work after several days with no solid solution in place, I went to West Marine, purchased all new Raymarine instruments and had George install them… worked perfectly!

Several drawer latches were replaced because they would stick shut, the cabin sole in the forward stateroom squeaked loudly and after several attempts to fix it, still does… current position; there’s nothing more they can do… really!

We headed south… more portlights started to leak, they have since had to remove and re-bed every single portlight on our boat… what ever happened to doing it right in the first place!

By the time we hit Charleston, the refrigerator was no longer maintaining a proper temperature… it would cycle constantly and hover around 48 degrees F… it now stays around 52… The response from Hanse? “It’s working fine”… sorry, my rotting meat begs to differ!

The most interesting part of this is the obvious design flaw… they placed the air-cooled compressor in a small cubby with no air circulation and get this, it’s underneath the refrigerator… so the heat from the unit heats up the very box it’s trying to cool down!
Not exactly the German Engineering I’m familiar with!

But wait, it gets better… one day, my wife picks up the top access fridge cover and the entire thing comes crashing down on the countertop… the undersized screws obviously didn’t provide enough of a grip and the adhesive they had used to compensate, had failed… we now have two chips in the countertop that they say they can’t fix without making it look worse and a cabinet door with dents in it from where the fridge cover bounced up and dinged it… which once again they say can’t be fixed… gee, thanks!

Lets talk about safety… picture this:
We're out in 15-20 kts and 4-6 ft. seas...  I'm working my way back from the foredeck after freeing up the roller furler that jams just often enough... our Hanse is pitching like crazy and I'm grabbing on to the lifeline just forward of the cockpit when she pitches again and instead of a nice secure hold, I pitch up myself, hanging on to a stanchion that's broken loose!
A subsequent inspection of the other stanchions shows that 4 out of the 14 bolts holding them down are missing!
Let me do the math for you... almost 30% of the stanchions are not fastened to the boat!
At first I was annoyed thinking they were set screws that had worked loose because of poor installation / lack of Loctite, etc. then I removed one so that I could search for replacements and realized they were well over an inch long and difficult as all heck to get out... that left only one conclusion absolute negligence on the part of those that installed the stanchions, the quality control folks that inspected the boat and Sail yard itself that should have gone over the boat before it left their yard.

Lets see, what else…
· By the time we hit Marathon, the contents of the holding tank was backing up into the bowl on a regular basis… turns out the joker valve was shot after only a few months… no problems since it was replace.

· The swim platform was not properly secured.  If I’m not mistaken only 1 of 8 bolts had a nut on it!

· The Anchor Windlass is close to worthless… Lewmar requires a minimum of 12” from the bottom of the windlass to the top of the chain pile… Lewmar goes on to say “There must be sufficient vertical fall for the chain or rope, even with a full locker; to draw the rode from the gypsy when hauling in.”

Hanse has left less than 12” between the bottom of the windlass and the bottom of the locker… so the chain bunches up under the windlass after every 5-10 feet!

Try holding open the cover to the chain locker with your hip, the windlass controls in your left hand while reaching down underneath the windlass with your right hand to pull out the chain before it jams all the while keeping an eye out and providing the person at the helm with instructions using hand signals… oh wait, you don’t have any free hands for hand signals do you?

Another great example of German Engineering?

· Not only am I missing a good number of manuals… (e.g. I don't have any info on the fuel/water separator, but the manual for the boat itself is completely off!
Our manual states that our water tanks are in the salon, while in fact they are in the v-berth, tankage volumes for fuel and water are off, we have no info whatsoever on parts, fuses, plumbing, etc. On the other hand, the manuals for my lowly, inferior Catalina lists every single part and has detailed diagrams which come in very handy when you need to fix something.

· They had to replace the water heater, because "rusty" sediment was still coming out of the system… turns out the darn thing had steel fittings and the entire tank was rusting away… they did replace it with a proper all stainless marine water heater.

· The fresh water system pump "spurts" more or less constantly making a real mess… they replaced it with a slightly better variable speed pump that seems to be working fine at this point… we’ll see.

· Various oxidizing components… from fasteners, to stanchions to the shrouds… the response? “It’s stainless, not stainFREE”  All I can say here is that my 1981 Catalina looks better than my brand new Hanse 400e… guess they used better quality materials back then!

· And last, but not least, the quality of the finish around the various teak inserts in the cockpit leaves a lot to be desired… again, perhaps I wouldn’t be making such a big deal about it if I had purchased a Bavaria or a Beneteau (no offense intended), but I purchased a Hanse… I expected better… now I know better!

I could continue, but you get the picture… I purchased a Hanse 400e, I’m stuck with it and I’ll make the best of it, but I will not stand by and let someone else make the same mistake! 

Annapolis Sailyard, Inc. has been trying to make good, but the operative word here is trying… Maria & I have gone above and beyond, getting by without refrigeration, dealing with leaks etc. for months so that they wouldn’t have to pay the exorbitant prices being charged in the Keys. Is Hanse gumming up the works or is Sailyard simply not putting adequate manpower behind it?  It no longer matters at this point; we’ve run out of patience!  We’ve been sitting here in Annapolis for more than a month and still we wait!

This could be a great boat, it handles nicely, the layout is great for a cruising couple, great storage, etc.   But until Hanse Yachts works out the various design flaws and dramatically improves both it’s Quality Control and it’s post sales support, I would suggest you look elsewhere for a new boat.

We'll keep everyone posted of our progress or lack thereof!
Until next time,
Carlos & Maria
SV Rocinante

you may not be able to control the wind,
but you can adjust your sails

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Richard108 View Drop Down

Joined: 02 October 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 258
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 July 2007 at 16:30
Thanks Carlos & Maria for such a detailed report.
My new Hanse arrives in about a week and I would like to sort out as much as I can before I accept delivery.
Is it possible for you to list the rest of the faults you have not yet listed, so new owners can check for potential issues and not accept the boats until they are fixed.

Edited by Richard108 - 15 July 2007 at 07:58
Regards Richard

("Moksha" 540 #115 delivered Sept 2007)

Pittwater, Sydney, Australia
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hanse-1 View Drop Down
Sub Lieutenant
Sub Lieutenant

Joined: 21 September 2006
Location: Norway
Status: Offline
Points: 10
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 July 2007 at 18:03
Hello, I can help you with a list for 430e.
First of all: check the underwater hull, it may not be finished.  The hull of Hanse 430e was made in two halves, this was not completed, I had to stop the factory 2 times in puttting it to sea. the seal between them was only done where the transport wagon did not hide it.  2. time to stop them was when they had put some epoxy in , which was not hardened.
The forestay  with roller did not give enough room for the sail,  to go around without destroying the webbing holding the sail down.
This thing have I fixed by myself.
The line leader through deck was mounted the wrong way, the workers must have seen this, because the line was put up back of the wheel( there was not enough space in front of the wheel). This was repaired when I was there.
The black windows over the cabintop is very hot in sunshine; it lifts the cabintop so that there is an opening inside the roof of about 3 mm. The teak on the cabintop is also starting to rises, not long before it will fall of.
The rest of the teak is also very poor laid; there is not enough sikaflex, in the coming winter I will expect it to fall of.
When I had the boat ashore for underwatertreatment, the rubberseal on the saildrive was hanging halfway down. There was no sign of glue on the hull, and no sign of sanding it.
There was also coming water under the keel, here we discovered a hole in the keel. The dealer took later the boat ashore and repaired the hole with epoxi. This they told me was bad job after sealing the bolthole when mounting the leadbulb to the steelframe of the keel.
The deck is cracking around where the vant is fastened. This has been repaired by the dealer. I think the worker has used some kind of a nailbrusher, before filling it with new topcoat. I told the dealer to remount the rigging, but the factory had told him that this was the way to do it.. We both could see some cracking after the job was done, an now there is more cracking, also wider on the deck.   
Inside, the boat is not as it should be, very rough work is done behind the gloss of wooden pices. The fastening to the hull would I be ashamed of to tell I was responsible to.( glad i am not.)
There is a leak in the front cabin, one of the dealers man told me that I had to live with this. 1(I must be careful not to write too much) plate on the roof is falling down, some bolts are nearly coming through the inside roof, they may be too long for the job they was ment to do.
The heater did not warm up the front cabin, this was too long way for the warm air to go, the dealer told me, the factory men had said. Well, i have made the warm air to go to the front cabin, it was just a job to do; take away som airhose and make them the right way to the outlet.
Engine, a nice reliable Yanmar 4JH4e, I thought.
This engine have stopped 2 times, 1. time there was 60l fuel left on the tank, but the engine had got some air in the system. 2. stop, loading the batteri in the North Sea Yacht Race the engine run for about 1 minute then
it stopped. Air in the system was the reason. There was about 200l left on the tank.
The windlass, a nice  and good thing, espesially for my back.
1. time I would use this nice thing, I had to use the spinnakerhalyard to get the anchor up again, it took me 2 hours work and I am still not recovered in my back. The reason for this was that the cabular was for 10mm chain, not for 8 mm which I had.
Now I have 10mm calibrated chain.
 The instruments is all SIMRAD, very good as long as they work, my dealer told me. I have 4 in the cockpit; autopilot, windx2, and a combi. 3 of this is leaking from time to time. The auto is not reliable, suddenly it has no rudder feedback, the dealer tried it he say, but when I left him it was no rudderfeedback. He also said the best I could do was to put my hand on them, what do yoy think he ment with that? I would prefer him to change them.
Yesterday, I changed the cable from the GPS antenna to the chartplotter, and there it was ok again. The last position was just south of the Sleipner A, an oil platform in the North Sea. This fail of position, may have costed us some hours in the race.
I think i know why the other instruments also have some trouble to send the signal on the Simnet; in the cockpit floor there is a locker. When there is some rain or worse the sea is coming all over the yacht, it is leaking, the seal did not match. But the problem ,in my yacht, the factory HANSE YACHTS have made some cableconnections here, right under the locker (it was probably the best place to work ,in the light.).
In the autum or in the winter, the dealer will have a job to do. if they still are there,.
My conclusion : The hanse 430e was a great boat which have been destroyd by the men who build her, and the men who should control her.
My english is not perfect. I think some wise men or women will understand it, anyway, Det Norske Veritas understand perfectly norwegians. 
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Alex Faber View Drop Down

Joined: 11 June 2006
Location: Netherlands
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 July 2007 at 09:29
Carlos, Maria and Hanse-1,
Thank you very much for your detailed reports. This will help us (people waiting for delivery) a lot.
I asked my (Belgian) dealer to comment on the topics I found most important:
- The construction for bonding of the two hull halves
- The excess movement of the shrouds to hull connection
- The use of non-marine grade stainless steel
- Leakages
Will inform you about his reply.
s/y eMotion (H430e #24)
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Keoghser View Drop Down

Joined: 06 January 2007
Location: Ireland
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 July 2007 at 19:09
We purchased a 342 in March and other than a delay of a couple of weeks I have no complaints. 
We have two outstanding items; We are still waiting for the spray hood  which I could be bothered about but I haven't been in heavy enough weather yet to miss it.  The auto pilot is not working but again I haven't needed it yet so I haven't made a big fuss as I am enjoying sailing at the moment.
I had a list of about 7or 8 items when we purchased it and the others were dealt with.  I noticed the anchor chain building up too but I would say there is 12" there - I will check tomorrow.
We love sailing her and I expected teething problems in the beginning. Being honest I expected more problems (I am now touching every bit of wood in the room).
My agent is pretty relaxed but I know if I demanded action this week I would get his best efforts. 
I am sorry for your troubles.  We drive a Volvo which unusually has given us unbelievable problems - It's a 'Monday' car!  Sounds like you got a 'Monday' boat.
Bets of luck with your future travels - I will be watching out to see how you get on and BTW; keeping an eye out for your problems turning up on our boat.
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Johan Hackman View Drop Down
Admiral of the Fleet
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 July 2007 at 23:06
I have had my 342 for almost two years and I haven't yet been able to tick off all the items on my list, partly because some issues haven't been fixed in a very long time and partly because new issues arise.

I will propably go into more detail about this in a later thread.

In the meantime I would like to say that I support what you guys do - those of you who have already purchased your boat don't let wrongs go unnoticed when you tell about them at this forum, and those of you still negotiating with your dealers will keep them on their toes, which hopefully will make sure that every customer get what they pay for.

Johan Hackman
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ueitugò View Drop Down

Joined: 02 July 2007
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 July 2007 at 11:19
The problems that svrocinante and hanse-1 pointed out are absolutely not minor ones, and both of them have my sympathy. When it comes to quality control, boats are not cars or consumer electronics, so some glitches are to be expected, but the problems they reported are really major ones.

My 400e didn't show major problems so far (since 3 weeks only, so now I'm crossing my fingers), and I'm pleased with the way it sails, although I can report a number of minor issues and a number of details I would like to change (windlass, fridge, halyards, lines, etc.). I assume this is commonplace with mid-priced boats,  but some problems simply depend on poor assemblage, so they're (partly) independent of the price tag of the boat.

For instance, my boat had a leak from the water pipes. It was 40 cm from the gauge at the water tank, where the section of the pipes was reduced using two nipples. On their thread there was no teflon film or similar sealant, and the nipples were very loosely assembled. If the same problem was located in a less convenient place it would have been much harder to spot and fix. And it was not a matter of price, it was just the outcome of a very poor assemblage (with no quality control at all). The mixed debris I found while I was looking for the leak was another evidence for the below-average care for assemblage.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that Hanse design is good, although it is aimed at saving as much money as possible: did you ever wonder why the furniture is not as high as the "ceiling" (sorry, I don't know the correct English word)? Saving money that way, however, is absolutely ok as far as it allows to pack more features for the same price, or even to have simpler and more reliable assemblage procedures, but I'm afraid this is not the case with Hanse. My opinion is that they're trying to minimize the cost of each new boat beyond a fair level, and to speed up their production as much as possible, probably hiring new workers that are not properly trained. This will probably result in selling more charter boats, but won't help customers' satisfaction.

Just my 2 cents...

Edited by ueitugò - 16 July 2007 at 11:21
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les40 View Drop Down

Joined: 20 April 2007
Location: Singapore
Status: Offline
Points: 93
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 July 2007 at 12:59
carlos, hanse-1,
it is very worrying as my  boat is expected in about 2 months time. i do hope most of your problems can be resolved. i reckon my previous boat had many problems but it was a second hand one and 25 years old. i am afraid that with so much problems, sailing become secondary and fixing the boat becomes first.
i feel that if people at hanse is reading this forum, something might be done before the reputation of this boat is ruined.
still i hope that it's just one or two that are like this. they do make 500+ boats a year!
however, my sympathies to those that have to overcome this major problems.
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svrocinante View Drop Down
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Joined: 11 November 2006
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Points: 77
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2007 at 22:42
Once again, thank you for your support.

I'm happy to report that at a minimum, communications have improved dramatically!

I'm getting regular updates from Don Walsh of Hanse USA.
And my lifeline gates have been repaired / replaced.

I'm glad to see that Hanse and Sailyard are working together to resolve these issues... and I will hopefully be able to report back on how great a job they've done to salvage this relationship!

Carlos & Maria
SV Rocinante
you may not be able to control the wind,
but you can adjust your sails

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Perchanse View Drop Down
Lieutenant Commander
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Joined: 05 June 2007
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2007 at 22:52
My first reaction to the list of things wrong was horror. Then I looked again and while I have had some small issues many of the problems you have had should have been fixed by the dealer.  We have an excellent sub-dealer in New Zealand and he employs a first class boat builder to assemble and commission the boat.  He checks all the instruments, hose fittings, hatch seals, gets the right size chain for the anchor winch ( your Dealer must not be so good for such a silly mistake as 8mm chain for 10mm winchdrum). Also fixes shipping damage, reglues the saildrive rubberseal (All imports do this badly), Alters the rigging where necessary, fixes cabinetry misalignment etc,etc.  These are production boats and when I made the decision to buy production boat as opposed to a new Zealand made boat I factored in another 50,000 dollars to make the boat the way I wanted it.  If I had bought a non production boat it would have cost me 80% more than the price I paid and with all the same teething problems.  My Brother just had a boat built by a reputable NZ builder for 1.8 million and the finish was fantastic but the drive shaft came undone, The hatches all leaked, the pressure hose burst on the salt pump nearly filling the engine room, the propeller vibrated badly, the headlining got filled with water, The electronics played up like hell, etc etc.  I am an Engineer who designed and made high pressure gas compressors from  50-600 hp and have now sold my company but I have been on the other end and you are relying on employees and training them.  It is necessary to give your feedback to Hanse and I have sent mine in.  However, I am happy I have a strong boat, epoxy, designed by Judel Vrolik, supported by a good agent, looks good, Sails brilliantly and has much better resale value than Bavaria, Beneteau, Dufour, Jeanneau, Elan,etc. This forum is great for ideas, solutions to problems, meeting new people.  We should not make it a them and us wingeing post.  Life is too short!  Happy Sailing,
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