Value. How does one determine it? Price is most certainly a factor. In the case of new boats, and our Boat of the Year competition, it means something more. As sailors, we wish to recognize good boats that not only are affordable but offer other, tangible rewards. The ability to get couples and families out on the water, to have a weekend escape, to take them on coastal vacations and even maybe a sabbatical to the islands, all without breaking the bank. For 2019, the judging panel determined that one boat had the potential to do these things better than the rest, which is why they awarded the Best Value prize to the Hanse 348.
One of three boats with a price tag under $200,000 (the others being the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 319 and the Dufour Grand Large 360), during sea trials the Hanse 348 wowed the judging team from the get-go. “In only about 8 knots of breeze, we were seeing 5.7 knots upwind and pointing very nicely, and even registered 6.5 knots once we cracked off,” said Tim Murphy. “It’s a pretty sweet little boat.”
Alvah Simon agreed. “When we looked at it on the dock, I put a star next to it in my notebook and wrote, ‘Good first impression, nice interior, fairly good layout.’ That continued when we went sailing. The winches were well-placed. The basic cockpit ergonomics made things nice. It’s a relatively little boat with twin helms. At first I thought there wasn’t room for them, but on a boat like this with a wide beam aft, they actually create space rather than take it up. They divide the working area up from the social area in a smart, safe way. Hanse isn’t the only builder to do this, but it’s a concept that’s been developed, and their take on it is quite good. It’s just a winning idea.”
There’s plenty of natural light flowing into the clean, contemporary saloon. Jon Whittle
But nobody on the judging panel was more impressed than Ed Sherman. “I really loved this boat,” he said. “It had the most room of any boat in the Midsize Cruiser Under 38 Feet category. The helm area is just terrific. I thought the cockpit table and the multifunction display case just had a look of quality. It was really nice, with a compass right there in the middle. There were good, sturdy stainless-steel rails to rest your feet on. I like the fact that it had a three-cabin layout and a single head. Pretty terrific, in my opinion. They use some composite through-hull fittings that we’ve seen on larger boats. I’m in love with those, just from a maintenance perspective.
“It was just a lot of fun to sail too,” he added. “I think it represents huge value for a young family that’s starting out in sailing and wants a nice, competent coastal cruiser. I’ll leave it at that.” And that was more than enough.