For Hanse 400 owner Frank Stevens his dream sail up the East Coast of Australia for an idyllic winter cruising around the Whitsundays is about to come true. Although it turns out this is not the first time he’s made the trip…
‘My first trip up the coast was a bit of an adventure to say the least…
I was aboard ‘Windward’ my 32ft Compass Innovator and we had lots of mishaps… Ripped sails and a broken steering system were just the start… to be honest everything that could go wrong went wrong!
That said I learned heaps and we had an absolutely brilliant time in the Whitsundays when I finally got there! My wife and our then teenage kids flew up to join me and we had the time of our lives sailing around the islands.
This time I am much more prepared.
For a start I’ve re-educated myself. I’ve done an intensive 5 day course with the RYA and had practical training from Windcraft and RYA instructors.
I want to be sure I know what I’m doing. The service team at Windcraft have been exceptional – Allan and Nick have really spoiled me and given me great advice.
Although I needed to do some training…
… there was very little I needed to do to Rainbow to get her ready for the trip – she was pretty much ready to go.
I’ve bought a new genoa and pole – just so we’re a bit quicker downwind in light air. I’ve also increased the length of the anchor chain to 50m plus 30m warp, added jack-stays, hired a life raft and upgraded the life jackets but that’s about it’.
I wanted a yacht I could handle by myself but one with enough room on board for the kids and grandkids to come away with me for a few days.
I looked at a few second hand boats including a couple of Hanse yachts with Bob Vinks – all around 35 foot – but nothing really grabbed me.
Then we went for a test sail on a new Hanse 400 and I was really impressed
Our first test sail was in light breezes but the 400 still sailed really well.
The balance of the boat was simply beautiful.
We went out for a second time in a bit more breeze and I was blown away with the boat. We had full main up at 25 knots – it was fantastic!
I realised the 400 was what I’d been looking for. It was a big enough boat for me – lovely and beamy – and I wanted 3 cabins for the family.
Like all Hanse yachts, she’s a cruiser and yet she performs well.
She is also very forgiving – lots of my friends are not sailors – so I sail single and short handed a lot of the time – but I can handle her’.
‘I’m wrapped!’ Frank beams ‘Buying this boat has been a great decision. Rainbow is everything I wanted and more. My kids and grandkids just love her. I’m a fun Grandad!
I take the grandkids for days out to the Basin and they absolutely love it. They hide in the cabins and mess around on the tender it’s perfect. And as far as the sailing goes this boat is better than I thought.
We’ve been out in all kinds of weather – including getting caught out in 40 knots with all the sail up – and she handled it all really well. I am delighted with the balance of the boat.
For example when we go to windward I can just rest my hand on top of the wheel and helm with no effort. In the gusts she points up slightly and then settles. There’s no effort needed on my part.
I’ve had some really good sailors on board – including my mate who sailed in the Olympics and my instructor from the RYA – and they all comment on how beautifully Rainbow handles and how great she sails.
I’m so looking forward to the journey North. We’ll have a fabulous winter in the Whitsundays – I may even enter the Hammo Races…’