A Great Deal, A Compact Package
How do you measure value? Certainly, it’s a subjective question. Alvah Simon has argued passionately that the boat that best exemplified great value in the 2016 BOTY competition was the overall winner, the Passport 545 (see Best Full-Sized Cruiser Over 50 Feet). Simon marveled that Passport could build such an exquisite yacht for under a million dollars, and believed the boat would command a high resale price for years to come. Both points, he argued, represented tremendous value, and he’s right. But that also begs a question: How many sailors can afford an $875,000 boat?
Instead the judges focused on the best deal, the most boat, for an entry-level cruiser or first-time buyer. And after reviewing the fleet, they deemed the Hanse 315 the Best Value cruiser for 2016.
There was stiff competition for the title, including from the Dufour 350 and the Marlow-Hunter 31, but the judges ultimately chose the Hanse, and not only because it was the fleet’s least expensive boat, with a sail-away price of $140,000. “The Hanse had a lot going on in 31 feet, starting with two good cabins, one forward and one aft,” said Tim Murphy. “There’s also a full head with a larger separate shower; space in the forepeak not only with a good berth, but also an area where you can sit down and change your clothes; and a full working galley. And it was a fun boat to sail. So you have a complete package for a couple to sleep comfortably, cook fine meals and even live aboard for stretches at a time.”
While the Hanse comes standard with a tiller, our test model was equipped with twin wheels. At first, Ed Sherman wasn’t sure a 31-footer required dual helms. Then he went sailing. “Once we were underway, I realized the twin wheels made a nice, easy walk-through to the transom,” he said. “I also liked the stainless-steel bar rail around the cockpit table, which also served as a footrest. A lot of builders don’t think of that, but it’s really nice to have when you’re heeling on the breeze. And I enjoyed sailing the boat. We had a bit of breeze and tucked in a reef, and the small self-tending jib took care of itself when we tacked.”
Sherman and his mates also responded, and the Hanse 315 sailed away with the prize.