Hanse Yachts is onto something—in fact, you could say they’ve been onto something since the introduction of their 5 Series, specifically the slippery 545 hull that wowed boat testing journalists and the public a few years back. Currently in the process of retooling their entire line to the 8 Series, Hanse continues with their Rolf Vrolijk-designed hulls, but now they’re adding more ergonomic decks and improved interiors. The newest introduction, the Hanse 588, is a great example of this evolution and it hit a few high notes at this year’s Annapolis Sailboat Show.


With the 588 model, Hanse continues on their successful track of evolution in build and design.


All new inside

Below, the 588 is a smorgasbord of choices starting with options to have up to five cabins and five heads if you count the crew quarters in the forepeak. You can even swap in a full utility room and small changes in the galley for a head-spinning number of variations topping over 70 combinations. Pretty much only the central section, containing the saloon and nav station, remains the same in all these versions where both ends of the boat morph based on owner choices.

Hanse added larger hull windows that work together with 20 deck hatches to bring light and fresh air inside. This is most impressive in the 10 sq. ft. of skylights and hatches over the saloon. Add 7’ 2” of headroom and the boat feels very open below. However, short sailors beware. Without a stool, anyone under 5’ 8” will not be able to reach these hatches or grab overhead handholds. Good thing Hanse includes a step ladder as standard equipment.

Gone is the massive corporate CEO-style desk that was the focal point on the 575. A proportional aft-facing nav station is now tucked into the port side with a swing seat back. When hinged forward, it forms the seat for the desk, and when aft, it completes the U-shaped settee in the saloon.

The master stateroom is forward with impressive dimensions and a head that is split into a dedicated shower compartment and a sink and toilet combination. The room is soundproofed with the help of a rubber door gasket so with the door closed, the owners relax in their own hushed bubble.

The beam is carried well forward on the 588, leaving plenty of room for the option of splitting the master into two cabins, each with an ensuite head. The aft end includes two cabins and two heads although on the portside, one head can give way to a well-sized utility room or a cabin with over/under bunks. By including sleeping accommodations for so many, Hanse leaves the door open for this model to become a big hit in European charter markets.


Larger hull windows provide beautiful natural light into the interior, while additional skylight hatches let in the fresh air.


On deck, the changes work well for both crew and guests. Just aft of the mast is a sprawling, triple-wide sunpad and the cockpit includes seating for eight on two settees with twin electric tables that abut a central walkway. Two helm stations are fronted by giant, almost superyacht-like consoles that hold large multifunction displays on both sides and all controls for the furling headsails, bow and stern thrusters and engine throttles. Electric winches are within reach of the helms, making sailing this no-nonsense speedster, a pushbutton affair.

The self-tacking jib and Code 0 combination is a no-brainer for anyone who sails short-handed. You can tack all day with minimal effort using just a finger on the carbon fiber wheels. The mainsheet attaches either just ahead of the companionway or better yet, on top of the optional hardtop for end-boom sheeting. Elvstrom “Fast Cruising” five-layer laminate sails are optional and part of the Performance Package. With all this technology, the massive 1,700 sq. ft. of upwind sail area can be managed by a savvy couple on extended offshore cruises or raced with a large crew to good results in coastal regattas.

Below the cockpit, the tender garage was redesigned to accommodate a wider range of dinghies that can now stay drier even when the decks are doused. The transom lowers to the waterline so the dink may be hauled in with the help of an electric winch and there’s even an optional outdoor galley with a grill and sink. The 588’s 50,000 lbs. displacement is managed easily by the 110 Volvo Penta diesel and the retractable bow thruster tames this big beast in tight quarters.

Three options of keel include deep and shallow draft L-bulbs for cruising and a T-bulb for racing. Molded bulwarks provide safe footing when heeling and the decks are wide and clear so it’s easy to move the length of the hull in a hurry.

Make it your own

Hanse’s approach has been to offer an exceptionally variable base boat and allow owners a level of customization not usually seen on production vessels in this class. For savings, options are combined in popular packages although other choices can be added a la carte as well.

For the past 20 years, Hanse has been building yachts in Greifswald, Germany, a shipbuilding hub since the 1300s. Their line includes hulls 32-67 feet and they continue to build on successful hull concepts with deck and interior tweaks inspired by owner and dealer feedback. They’ve tapped into a formula that works well so although the 588 hull is actually 54’ 9” (the same as the 575 that it’s bound to eventually replace) the newest introduction looks and feels completely fresh and “evolved” in the truest meaning of the word.

For more information, visit Hanse Yachts.

See Hanse 588 listings.