Reviews

 

testimonial


One of my favorite boat reviews was done in winds up to 30 knots on a Hanse 37 by Practical Boat Owner.

“Hanses don’t offer as much space for the money as some other boats for one simple reason: they’re designed to sail. It’s a distinction that sometimes seems to elude people. I never cease to be amazed by some of the boats that end up on the same list, and I find it hard to understand how the Hanses are sometimes lumped together with boats of a fundamentally different nature simply because they’re in the same price bracket.”

“it’s important to differentiate between boats with beamy, high volume hulls, shallow draught and modest rigs and the finer lined, deeper draught and more generously-canvassed offerings like the Hanses.”

“They’re aimed at people whose principal interest is cruising, but who like to cruise quickly in a boat that’s enjoyable and responsive to sail.”

And from the conclusion, “With a boat like the Hanse, you’ll be tempted to sail rather than motor whenever you can: her speed, responsiveness and obedience put her in a different league to most of the competition. She’s a boat you will choose to sail for the pleasure of sailing, and not just because bobbing around on the water is more agreeable than sitting in an office.”

 

Yachting World September 2014 VAr 37 review, Page 45+  This was a review of 3 boats, a VAr 37 (Varianta in Europe), a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37 and a Bavaria Cruiser 37.

“However, the Varianta soon won over all the testers on the water.  With a solid Force 5 blowing down the Solent, she behaved obediently and tacked sharply.”  “A large and seemingly dated single wheel provides light and excellent feel on the helm.   She’s nimble, quick and a real pleasure to sail simply for sailing’s sake.”

“What immediately set the test boats apart was the difference in speed and pointing ability of the VAr, particularily against the Bavaria.  She smoked the other 2 yachts upwind, despite having a fixed prop – we had to keep luffing up to let the other 2 catch up for the benefit of the photographer.”

“The Varianta (VAr) was easily the most rewarding boat to sail, not because she felt like a raceboat, but because she was so well-balanced, so light on the helm and so easy to feel on the wheel.”

 

Translated review of the VAr 37 review from the leading European Sailing Magazine, Die Yacht, issue 23, end of 2013.  See the German version here (lots of great pics).  Click this link, then click the link again;

Varianta_37_Test_Review_YT_DE_1013-d8ac8

 

THE BASIC VERSION IS A GOOD START,  MISSING ONLY SOME COMFORTS

She is a Firecracker in her potential.  Just in time for 2013/14 show season. With the official world premiere is at Hanseboot (note – a boat show in Hamburg, Germany) in Hall B6 on Stand A150, this is the ultimate value package.  Lots of boat and lots of fun for little money. After all, she is 37 feet for 90,000 Euro. The VARIANTA 37 is thus the only boat of the 37′ class under 100,000 euro.  The closest sized value model from Bavaria, the Cruiser 37 (see YACHT test in issue 16/2013), will set you back about 20,000 Euros more .   For another 5000 Euros you can have the new Oceanis38 (Test in YACHT16/2013).  Other series yachts only come at higher prices still.

With this pricing the HanseGroup continues an earlier brute force marketing instrument: the low price, which can be worrisome to the industry and something for the customers to cheer about. Already in 1993 founder of Hanse, Michael Schmidt, introduced the “Hanse-Hammer ‘: a 29-foot yacht for 44 444 Mark, at the Hamburg Boat Show.

But can the VARIANTA 37 compare meaningfully with the usual large series production offerings? What is missing on the boat, where were costs cut, how is the reasonable price possible? And what has the shipyard learned from the mistakes of the past that it made with the larger VARIANTA 44 (test in Issue 22/2010)? At that time, it had no anchor locker, only Peltier coolers (camper cooler) and no accent stripes, for example.”  (note – the Var 44 now has the same equipment as the 37, including an anchor locker, a standard marine fridge and accent stripes).

“HULL DESIGN NEWS”

“Onto the new one: The hull of the Judel Vrolijk Design is based on the Hanse 370 from 2005, a moderately broad and still contemporary design. No hull development, no mold = money saved. The cabin top has been redesigned.  It has simple, but quite pleasing lines that eliminate a few hours during lamination, and is generally inexpensive to manufacture. Simplicity = money saved. Thus, the halyards for example, do not run through conduits, and there was no self-tacking jib track molded in the deck.  There is only one helm and the standard version does not feature a furler. Less Gear = money saved

The deck design is simple and minimalistic, with little to block the view all around. The design is quite pleasing, making a gentle arc and a cut away coaming at the helmsman station.  There is a conventional transom area with a pass through, rather than an elaborate swim platform or ladder.  A molded in boot stripe is standard from the shipyard. Development Chief Karl Dehler: “The customers used to stick the boot stripe on the 44 themselves, which often looked crooked, and that made us look bad, so we rather spend the 50 Euros ourselves…”

“FEW ISSUES ON THE WATER”

“Customers will miss a few things in the basic version, however: skirting board (at least in Northern Europe), furler (if you do not want to work with web horsemen), windlass (when the back hurts). Otherwise: On deck or underway the VARIANTA 37 is a fully functional yacht, as can be seen in the test before La Rochelle on the French Atlantic coast.

The winds were 16 to 20 knots from the southeast and built a rather short sea, about a half a meter high. In these conditions the boat remains relatively dry, while making from 6.9 to 7.2 knots and tacking through about 80 degrees when sailed properly. Even more impressive than the sheer data was the feeling of control. With just 1.4 turns from lock to lock the excellent Jefa system works quite directly. The wheel transfers the driver inputs to the rudder with zero slippage and minimal friction.

The larger wheel (150 cm diameter) is the right choice for a far-side seat position (see photo left), but prevents the passage forward or aft through the cockpit. It runs through a recess in the cockpit floor (with scuppers).

On a broad reach the 37 accelerated during the test easily to 8-9 knots and sometimes reached above 10 knots. She is agile in the turns, responsive when healing and tolerates wind gusts easily. Everything was good under way, a boat for sailors.

The jib sheets run through rails on the cabin house directly to the rather small halyard winches – a simple solution, which also helps with the upwind angle and makes for clear decks; but is not possible for the helmsman to control. The mainsheet he can control, albeit in stronger winds not so easily. It is set up as simple six-part tackle and runs off a pad eye in cockpit floor. With additional pad eyes on the aft coaming and a few blocks it is possible to retrofit the German mainsheet system, which would be the best solution for a boat of this size.

The Beautiful: This ship comes with quite a few choices and various extras, unlike, for example, the larger VARIANTA. For the test the yard brought a few things that are desirable for the 37’s: Teak cockpit (1700 euros), larger wheel (650 Euro), door for the open rear (700 euros), furler (1900 euros) and upgraded sails (Fast Cruising laminates 3450 euro charge) of Elvstrom of Denmark.  The upgraded sails of proven material are excellent and can be optimally trimmed, aided by the 1:16 purchase backstay.

Some things we noticed on deck side: The rudder quadrant and autopilot (optional) are easily accessed through a hatch in the cockpit forward of the pedestal. The gas bottle compartment opens from the transom, so replacing the bottle might be tricky.  The large compass on the steering column can be replaced with a plotter.

For safety on deck there is an excellent nonskid surface, two (somewhat short) handrails on the cabin roof and aluminum toe rail. However, the toe rail does not cover the deck-hull connection. This joint is glued and screwed, and the sealant between deck and hull is left exposed. This will likely collect dirt over time, look shabby and need to be reworked periodically. VARIANTA is not the only builder to do this.

Under power there were no special features or speeds, except for the fact that the sound insulation was missing on the test ship.  There is a choice of two units, each from Volvo Penta. Standard is the 18 bhp engine.  Fitted as an option for 1900 € surcharge is the 27-horsepower model. Folding propellers are also available as an extra from the shipyard.”

“TWO OR THREE CABINS”

“Aft, a wet compartment for fenders or the life raft below the helm position and there is a shallow cockpit locker due to the second rear cabin. The test boat is the three-cabin version which offers little storage space for sailing gear like the gennaker, lines, equipment, tools and the usual stuff. The ship, however, is standard with just two sleeping cabins and a large storage locker. The anchor locker is deep and there is an electric winch available for  an additional 1,430  Euros.

The new interior is built with light-colored marine plywood. Color accents are the dark walnut floor, on the edge banding and the few cabinets. The latter are veneered with formica-like laminate. Instead of upper cabinets in the main salon, dark canvas is hung from the outer skin at deck level via aluminum rods. An ideal place to stock additional items, such as sail bags.

Navigation is reduced but present. On the port side at the intermediate bulkhead in the salon, there is space for installation of devices, and there is a fold-down chart table. It measures 45 by 65 centimeters, which corresponds approximately to the level of a sport boat chart table.  There is no dedicated chart table seat, one must use the sofa and twist around. As such, the chart work takes place on both sides and on the large folding table. At least six people have enough space at the table.

The Pantry, separated by a semi-bulkhead is placed longitudinally below the companionway. It has a fridge with an easily serviced and well-ventilated compressor and a 2-burner stove and oven. Storage space is available in open shelves, lockers and wall cabinets with sufficient volume.

Across from the pantry is the large head with a wet compartment that can be separated by the customer. Between these two functional areas is a gratifyingly large amount of space and legroom. The companionway is safe enough with four straight steps and two handrails, but it’s not easily navigated when the boat is healing. Handholds are provided by continuous aluminum tubes on the ceiling. The headroom in the main salon is  a confortable 1.89 to 1.99 meters.  Even in the aft cabin there it is still 1.87 meters.

Almost princely, at least for a boat, is a forward stateroom with a berth length of 2.05 and a shoulder width of 1.88 meters. The aft berths still have 1.50 meters width, and thus more than a typical French hotel bed. The almost two-meter-long salon berths are 60 cm wide, which is just enough to sleep on.”

“VISIBLY GOOD QUALITY”

“There are four cabin house windows, the standard center hatch can be opened to let in air, yet the boat could be brighter. Additional ceiling hatches and cockpit windows for the aft cabins are available in the optional cruising package. The cruising package also includes an extra hatch in the bathroom, the furler, larger batteries (90 and 165 ampere-instead of the 60 and 90), a battery charger, shore power, shower with sump pump in the bathroom and a water boiler. In all, around 5900 Euros usefully invested.

And the quality? The quality is very good and is typical of semi-industrial production yacht builders. The imperfections are minimal.  Although there are signs that the installations are done quickly, generally the work is perfect, as on other boats from the same manufacturer or other yards nowadays.  Even areas that are not in full view are properly finished, such as the lazarettes, which are painted on the inside with topcoat. Furthermore, the installations for electrical and water systems are easily accessible and visible and installed to standard.

Also the boat construction is not cheap.  The hull is solid glass above the waterline unlike on the Hanse 370, but one can live with that.  In the outer laminate vinyl ester resin is used, the deck is still a sandwich and consequently not only lightweight, but also thermally and acoustically well insulated. A floor assembly made from GRP together with the bulkheads laminated to the hull make for a sound ship.

Bits and pieces: the interior lighting is minimalistic.  There is only one ceiling spotlight in each aft cabin and two in the forward stateroom, so the purist will pull out the headlamps to read and others will retrofit with more lights.  On the other hand, there are things on board which are often lacking otherwise: LED Navigation lights, Rod kicker, sea water filter, water separator for diesel and an engine hour meter.”

“BEST VARIANTA OF ALL TIMES”

“Overall, the VARIANTA 37 is inexpensive but still the real deal.  Money was apparently saved in the right areas, and one may speculate that the yard will not make a lot of money with this model. The customer can get started with the standard version, the few missing things can be retrofitted easily. It’s yacht a real sailor can be proud of. She has excellent properties, drives fast, high, stiff and is fun to sail.  She provides enough comfort and space.

As such, the third VARIANTA is a great compromise between the extremely simple 18, which was offered with expensive options, and 44. The boat is expected to be successful on the basis of its price and simplicity also in the charter market.

The biggest competition is probably  in-house and comes from the Hanse 370, which is the basis for the Variante 37.  The Hanse 370 can be found as a young second hand boat for the same price – and is naturally better and more comfortably equipped. A buyer has the luxury of choice.

With the VARIANTA 37, the shipyard will be able to inspire sailors who are looking for a lot of boat for a good price and who can live without sophisticated facilities, lots of wood or storage space; sailor who does not mind the deficits of the deck layout or who is prepared to retrofit these on his own.”

 

Construction and  Concept

+ Unbeatable Price

+ Simple, honest boat

+Proven construction

 

Sailing Performance and Trim

+ Excellent sailing characteristics

+ Best steering characteristics

– Jib sheet not accessible from the wheel

 

Living and Interior Built Quality

+ Good quality interior finish

+ Large berths, good interior heights,

– Lighting deficient in cabins

 

Equipment and Technology

+ high quality component  brand manufactureres

– Jib winches rather small

– No spring line cleats from shipyard

 

More reviews to come…