A while back, Nick published a video review of the Hanse 505 called ‘Harmony’ that we have often chartered with Croatia Yachting since February this year. We were really impressed with not only the layout and design, but also how she handled in wind, heeling over and helming smoothly through swell. Her rudder is almost as deep as the keel (which is marked as 2.7m on the helm stations, despite actually being more like 2.38m as a deterrent for anyone chartering her to take her into shallow water!) which gives a lot of power to the helm. We took a day sail out in March and were rapt to get an average of 22 knots wind on our way from Kaštela to Šolta. Sailing her on a broadreach, she managed to get up to 9.5-10 knots under full sail, even with our guests at the wheel, all of whom were helming for the first time. She felt quick and solid, and our guests were all really impressed with how responsive she was. It was a really great day and we loved demonstrating to our guests one of our favourite parts of sailing, namely balancing the boat out, heeling her over and letting her fly! See one of our guests review the day here.
Nick goes into much more detail than I ever will about the functions, lockers and workings of Harmony’s cockpit and helm stations. He is the one who is either helming himself or overseeing someone else helming and either way, he always makes sure that he is very familiar with all of the features, functions and practicalities of the navigation gear, bow thrusters, and those sorts of things. If you are interested in these kinds of details, click here to watch his in-depth review on our YouTube channel.
Hanse boats are quite different from other yachts that we have sailed in a couple of ways. First of all, the running lines come all the way back almost to the helm stations on either side of the cock pit. All running lines. That means halyards, sheets, reefs, boom-vang, and all the rest. We are more used to the running lines coming back to keys at the companion way. On a boat like Harmony, which is essentially a cruising boat, the lines, helm stations and general set-up are designed to make her easy to sail by just one or two persons. And although it took a bit of getting used to, we can definitely see the merits of this kind of layout, especially when we have guests on board. It leaves plenty of room for them to relax and spread out while we are able to helm and operate the sails easily as a two-person team. Speaking of sails, the other aspect that Hanse boats have that we are not used to is a self-tacking jib! As racers, this was a feature that we were NOT keen on to begin with. And again, after sailing a few different kinds of Hanse boats, we understand the merits of a self-tacking jib… But we will never be fully converted!
Down below, Harmony’s layout is also a wee bit different to what we usually charter. She has four cabins accessible from the saloon, laid out as you can see in the image below: One very large master cabin in the bow with its’ very own separate shower and toilet, two double cabins aft, one shared head on starboard and one bunk cabin on port. Normally, we wouldn’t charter a boat with this layout, as it means that three cabins are sharing a head and one cabin gets to live in luxury! And for a family with a baby, Harmony’s master cabin provides them with heaps of room, even if they want to put down a port-a-cot. While the private and separate shower and toilet makes giving the little one a shower each night much easier to manage!
This means that the remaining three cabins all share the remaining head, which is a wet room with combined toilet, basin and shower facilities. Showering in a wet room like this on board a boat takes a little getting used to. The shared head on Harmony is not spacious and roomy, and yet definitely not the smallest we’ve seen! In our experience, it’s a good manageable size, and that’s high praise given that neither Nick or I are small people! It has a couple of lockers to store your towel safe and dry while you are showering, plus room to store small toiletries or cleaning products.
The two aft double cabins are a great size. The thing we love about these cabins is the head room and the storage, because there is plenty of both! Plus bedroom lamps that can be either white light or red light, which is much easier on your eyes if you need to turn on a light in the middle of the night. The fourth cabin is located just forward of the aft port cabin and is a bunk bed cabin. We don’t normally recommend these cabins for adults. As Nick shows in the video, an adult can in fact fit in the bunk beds. Although it’s not really a roomy fit. We think the bunkbed cabin is better suited to children, and bunk cabins are always a huge hit with all the family trips we have run. The kids especially seem to love the novelty factor of the bunks.
All of the cabins have a 230v power socket, which is able to be used when the boat is docked and connected to shore power. For all of our guests traveling from outside of Croatia, we make sure to remind them to bring adaptors for their electrical devices, as the power sockets on board the boat are type C (or Europlug) which is a two-wire plug that has two round pins.
For even more of an idea of space and proportions, check out a virtual tour of another Hanse 505 very similar to Harmony HERE.
WHAT I PARTICULARLY LIKE ABOUT HARMONY
One of the features that really stood out for me was the transom platform which lifts and lowers with a hydraulic assist mechanism. These platforms can be heavy and sometimes quite dangerous to operate if you are not familiar with them, but this gas assist makes it much easier to operate. I also love how, when closed, it sits about 0.6m above the deck, providing safety if you have children or animals on board. As we have a families booking with us, this year with children as young as one year old, this feature was really important to me, and just one of the reasons that I booked this particular boat for that particular family.
Of course, I cannot review a boat without telling you ALL about the galley. Whenever we are out on a boat, the galley is my kingdom, no matter how big or small. And on Harmony, the galley is BIG. She has plenty of large drawers for cutlery, cooking utensils and ALL of my provisioning. Canned food, dried food, oils, sauces, spices… My immense load of provisions disappears into Harmony’s ample galley storage. And the wine storage… Oh the wine storage! Two specially dedicated storage lockers designed and cut to fit wine and other similarly sized bottles. Plus two massive drawer fridges. I am used to the top access (and sometimes additional lower access) fridges in boat galleys. And for open ocean passages, live aboards and for the purposes of energy efficient cooling, those top access fridges are certainly far more practical than the drawers. Thing is, our sailing holidays are a different type of sailing all together. We sail in the beautiful Dalmatian islands where the summer weather is characterised by blue skies and winds rarely reaching beyond 20 odd knots, not to mention that we dock and access shore power each night. In these mild conditions, the drawer fridges are brilliant to pack in all sorts of locally grown produce, handmade products and even the odd cold brew from our friends at D16! The amount of bench space in the long galley is generous too, with a fold up cover to sit over the gimble stove and removable covers to sit over the double sinks. Cooking in this galley is more of a pleasure than a chore and the food that comes out certainly reflects how much I enjoy the added space!
Another bonus of Harmony is her recently installed air-conditioning. We don’t usually charter boats with air-conditioning. And yet when a family with a one year old approached us about booking a trip with us, one of their main concerns was their little girl being able to sleep comfortably at night in the summer heat. The air-conditioning made this possible. It pays to note that at the moment, the air-conditioning in Harmony is only setup in the main saloon area. It is not piped into the cabins at this stage. This meant that the cabins don’t get much of the cool air. However, as someone who normally cannot sleep in the cabins in this Croatian summer heat, the air-con did make the cabins cool enough for both Nick and I to sleep in all week, provided that the air-con was on all night and our cabin door remained open.
The flip side to this is that the air conditioning also provides heating in the cooler months. I know it is not usual for sailing yachts to be chartered during the colder winter months here in Croatia, and yet because we chartered Harmony in February, we can attest to her comfort when it’s freezing out, as well as when the summer heat is melting!
Harmony was chartered through our friends at Croatia Yachting. Charters can be arranged bareboat (where you skipper the boat yourself!), Croatia Yachting can organise a skipper for you (and a hostess too if you’d like) OR you can contact us directly to book with us, so that we can take care of all the itinerary, provisioning, cooking and marina fees for you! Because, you’re on holiday. You deserve the break!