Nominees: Full-Size Cruisers Over 50 Feet

Meet the nominees in Cruising World's 2015 Boat of the Year competition for the category Full-Size Cruisers Over 50 Feet.

Climbing aboard this year's Big-Boy Class drove home the design decisions made to accommodate the demand for tons of interior volume below and space to lounge topsides. The Dufour 560 Grand' Large, the Hanse 505 and Hanse 575 all carried the attendant space, systems, amenities and sailing prowess that you expect on full-size passagemakers.

We’ll begin with the smallest boat in the class, the Hanse 505. “This is a company we’ve been following for several years now and they’ve become quite an empire,” said Tim Murphy. “They’re built in a facility in the former East Germany on the Baltic coast, with six different brands, including Moody and Dehler. They do a good job with the Hanses. One thing about the freeboard on both the models we tested: by raising the profile of the entire boat, they’ve eliminated a choppy coach roof that can be difficult to maneuver around, so the decks are clean and flat. These may be large vessels, but they’re much easier to negotiate.”

“They were shooting for a fast cruising boat that’s easy to sail, with good performance, a lot of room down below, something that was open and inviting,” said Mark Schrader, whose comments would also cover many of the attributes of Hanse’s sister ship in the competition, the 575. “And I think they struck all those notes. The look is modern and angular, lines are led aft under coamings, there are lots of recessed hatches. It’s a really clean design; frankly, I like it. Sitting in the cockpit looking across that wide deck, I felt relaxed and refreshed; it was just uncluttered. And one thing about that freeboard, at anchor you’d board the boat from the wide swim platform that drops down from the transom, and is very well done.”

“One example of Hanse’s craftsmanship and workmanship came when we were looking at some of the labeling on the electrical system,” said Murphy. “It was in alphanumeric codes, so we asked about an owner’s manual, and the company rep showed us this incredible manual which included every single code. You flip the pages and there are maps of the entire boat showing all the different circuits and where they’re run to, and it also includes manuals for all the gear installed on the boat. I think this is something owners will really appreciate when addressing maintenance issues down the road. They deserve kudos for that.”

Interestingly, in terms of the design time line, the 575 preceded the 505; usually, for most builders, it’s often the other way around. “The steering system is very nice,” said Schrader, after steering the 575. “You can see they purchase all the right component parts and install them correctly. This is a very smooth boat to drive.” Yet, after comparing the two boats, in terms of the overall package, the consensus among the judges was that the 505 was the more successful and better executed new Hanse.

Hanse 505 Sailboat

Hanse 505 Sailboat

Built in Germany, the Hanse 505 earned the judges' praise for its sparkling sailing performance and the level of detail in its execution.Billy Black
Hanse 575 Sailboat

Hanse 575 Sailboat

One judge noted that the high freeboard on the Hanse 575 helped contribute to its flush deck and low profile.Billy Black
Dufour 56 GL Sailboat

Dufour 56 GL Sailboat

The Dufour 56 GL was another "Big Boy" cruising yacht with go anywhere anytime potential.Billy Black