Below decks

She’s just as efficient below decks. Hanse specialises in a clean, minimalist interior design, which is refreshing and often far more practical than trying to rework more traditional ideas. The layout in the 545 is not as innovative as some of Hanse’s other models, such as the 400, but the designers have still made good use of the space available.

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As you descend the companionway stairs there is an L-shaped galley to starboard, with navigation station to port. Forward of these are settees with tables. The saloon is flooded with light from the deck skylights as well as sizable vertical portals in the hull.

The 545 comes in a variety of configurations, with cabin design split into four zones that can each be customised. Odin had two forward cabins, each with it’s own ensuite freshwater head and shower. The forward cabins are spacious and well lit. Unlike many modern boats, the 545 has considerable storage, both in the cabins as well as in the main saloon, again pointing to the long-term cruising skills of this boat.

Aft of the companion way is a large owners cabin with an ensuite accessible from the main saloon. The owners cabin has an island bed and plenty of space for lounging. It has two entrances, one on either side of the companionway, in order to accommodate the possibility of a two aft-cabin layout. However, in the one-cabin design the starboard entrance via the galley comes at a significant loss of galley space, this in a galley that is felt tight on countertop for a boat this big.

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The interior design of the 545 is angular, right down to the settee cushions, and the dark wood finish and dark grey cushion covers give it a very sleek look. While those sharp corners look great in easy weather, they would look a lot more ominous in heavy seas. The sleek cabinetry also means the fiddles are too small to offer a grip when traversing that beamy saloon.

Hanse is not afraid of trying new ideas that set their boats apart from the rest of the production boat fleet. Touches such as the flush, foldaway mooring cleats on the rail, or the built-in Nesspresso machine, complete with a slide-out tray to hold your coffee capsules. Some ideas work well, some less so. The navigation station has a sliding top instead of the conventional lift-up version, and the entire contraption is wobbly and weak and prone to open accidentally. In the cockpit, a clever looking multi-cup holder didn’t work nearly as well as it looked. 

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The race committee sent us off on a 22-mile island course off to the south of Phuket Island, weaving through Ko Hi and Ko Aeo. At first the wind is light, and the crew is huddled on the low side as Rob takes us towards the island, far out to the left side of the course. Soon the sun has cleared the haze and we’re doing 4.5 knots in about five knots of breeze, a knot of current helping push us along. The sunlight has turned the sea a brilliant blue and it picks out the white sails of the fleet.

Eventually the wind dies entirely, leaving us to play a few ghost puffs and the favourable current to get to the finish. Luckily there’s plenty of power in the 545’s 110-horsepower Yanmar, which turns an optional folding three-blade prop and gets us home in a hurry.

The Hanse 545 is a big, bold boat that strengthens Hanse’s reputation for practical luxury. She’s a delightfully easy boat to sail, and an experienced couple or small family can take her cruising without worrying about taking on crew. And with her fresh, clean styling above and below decks, she’d be as much fun to live aboard as sail.

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With special thanks to Yacht Pro.

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Technical Specifications – Hanse 545

LOA – 16.2m

Hull length – 16.08m

LWL – 14.6m

Beam – 4.91m

Draught – 2.8m (standard)

Draught – 2.43m (optional)

Draught – 1.95m (optional)

Ballast – 5.3t

Fresh water capacity – 700l

Fuel capacity – 400l

CE certification – A (ocean)

Total sail area – 156m

Main sail – 87m

Self-tacking jib – 57m

Genoa 105% - 69m

Gennaker – 195m

Design – Judel/Vrolijk

Interiors – Hanse Yachts Design