Still available today under special order, the Hans Christian 41 Traditional was first introduced in 1985. The name Hans Christian conjures up associations with boats that are heavy, sometimes slow, but always seakindly; boats that are laden with teak and luxury interiors wrapped into the form of a traditionally styled of a canoe-stern double ender. We’re talking big bowsprits, high bulwarks, butterfly hatches, husky bronze fittings and a kind of character that speaks of seaworthiness that has its roots in American popularity with the introduction of the Crealock’s Westsail 32 in 1973.
As a 41 footer weighing in at over 40,000 pounds in typical cruising trim, she’s in a class of its own as a heavy displacement cruiser. Influenced by the latest design thinking of the time, the underwater form has a split keel arrangement somewhat similar to company’s Telstar Keel first appearing on the Hans Christian 38 Traditional in 1984 where it helped with close windedness and light air performance.
Aided by her split keel, the 41 Traditional has been described as an easy boat to sail. When comparing speed to others in the range, the 41T is slower than the Telstar 43T and it’s said the smaller 38T with Telstar Keel can just pip the 41T in ideal conditions. Also don’t expect a lot of light air performance given her displacement, then again owners of Hans Christian boats are not looking for speed but rather comfort. In this department, the boat excels with a gentle seakindly motion in a manner only heavy boats can deliver.
Hans Christian Yachts has forged a name for itself starting in the early 1970s using quality Taiwanese boatyards; its founder, John Edwards has always had an eye for spying talent. Notable boats include the Bob Perry designed and much copied 34T, Harwood Ives’ space efficient 33T, and of course the classic 38T and its MkII sequel.
By late 1984, the company played with the idea of a new boat with focus on interior and a hull form that would bring it up to date with the latest design thinking. The result was the Hans Christian 41 Traditional, which at its introduction in 1985 gave the company an offering that slotted between their two 38 models and the 43. As Craig Beckwith, VP of Sales during that period puts it:
“The decision to build the 41, as always, began over a bottle or two of beer after the days end, and progressed to fruition. The thought was that we needed a bigger version of the 38 MkII, that had the galley of the 38 Traditional, the forward head arrangement from the 33 Traditional (which had proved popular), and a split keel to move into the more modern designs of Perry, Frers, and other designers that touted the long-cord fin with skeg-mounted rudder. The 41 Traditional was a collection of all the things we had learned throughout the process of building the older models, and listening carefully to the clients and watching the market develop.”
The design came from Scott Sprague with a lot of input from Edwards. Sprague at the time had become Hans Christian’s chief designer after the departure of Harwood Ives who had penned many of the prior boats.
“Scott designed the 48 Traditional first, and then with John Edwards, pulled together the general design of the 41 Traditional. Here again, John’s ability to pick out young designers with really high degree of talent came into play. Scott’s father did all the technical work for Bill Garden, and Scott grew up in a design oriented family. He had a natural talent for design and technical ability.” – Craig Beckwith
The first boats were built in Taiwan by South Coast Ship Building Yard until Hans Christian Yachts relocated to Thailand in 1990 to stay competitive. In Thailand the progression of builders went from Dutch East Indies Trading Co (founded by Edwards), Andersen Yachts, and eventually Pantawee Marine who currently builds all of the boats from the Hans Christian line. In total 55 boats have been built.
It’s probably best to describe the boats as being semi-custom in nature. There were at least five variations of layouts; four were described in the original brochure and named the Molokai, Harmony, Atlantic and Pacific. The most popular was the Molokai layout with its twin head arrangement and double berths both forward and aft; this has been the standard and only layout that has been built since 1994. We also know of a fifth layout similar layout to the Molokai but with workshops replacing the area where the after quarter-berth normally resides, only two of these were built.
Interiors are of a very high workmanship and incorporate many ideas that proved popular for Hans Christian in prior models.
» Hans Christian Owners Association, Images, Information and discussions.
For assistance in the research of this article, thanks goes to Craig Beckwith who joined Hans Christian Yachts in 1979, was involved with overseeing construction in Taiwan, and served as VP of Sales. Permission to publish Hans Christian line drawings and images kindly granted by Francis Mertens.