Blending quality and performance with a lower price tag than you might expect, the Saare 38 challenges the established order, says David Harding

Product Overview

Product:

Saare 38
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Scandinavian boatbuilding has a reputation.

Yachts from this part 
of the world have traditionally 
been built to a standard by which other yachts are judged: think of Hallberg-Rassy, Najad, Nauticat and Malö.

And then we have the sportier Scandis, such as Arcona, X-Yachts, Faurby, Baltic and Sweden Yachts, known for combining performance with the sort of finish that is rarely associated with such slippery hulls.

Saare 38 heeling

The hull shape changes little when heeled; one reason she’s so balanced. CreditL David Harding

Not all these boats have been built within Scandinavia, however. Finngulfs came from a yard 
in Estonia, which has been producing its own range under the Saare name.

The designs are by Karl-Johan Stråhlmann, who was responsible for most of the later Finngulfs.

Saare’s aim is to offer affordable Scandinavian build quality and performance –
and the smallest model, the 38, looks the business.

THE TEST VERDICT

If you’re looking for a fast, comfortable and sea-kindly 38-footer that boasts the sort of finish
 and attention to detail for which Scandinavian yards are known, this one should be on your shortlist.

Although the Saare name is still relatively new, the Finngulf connections count for a great deal: the yard built Finngulfs for years, the designer drew some outstanding Finngulfs and Saare’s co-founder is the selfsame man who started Finngulf, Stig Nordblad.

Having sailed the Saare 41 in 2012, I found the 38 to be everything a little sister should be.

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In fact, she seemed better balanced than the 41, though that might have been down to how the two boats were set up.

The Saare 38 proves that a modern cruiser doesn’t have to have chines, an ultra-wide transom and twin rudders.

Moderate, tasteful and well-designed can do just as well, or perhaps even better.

WOULD SHE SUIT YOU AND YOUR CREW?

Interest in the Saare 38 has notably come from owners of other Scandinavian yachts as well as British designs such as Westerlys and Moodys.

I met a couple on board at the Southampton Boat Show who had a Starlight 35.

the inside of a Saare 38

Mahogany and European Oak are both available for joinery. Credit: David Harding

In many ways, the Saare is a modern Starlight, adhering to the same fundamental principles that simply don’t date.

People moving 
up from smaller, older yachts such as Contessa
 32s are often attracted to Scandinavian designs because they embody many of the features they’re looking for and have difficulty finding elsewhere.

The Saare will look after the shorthanded sailor and family crew alike, getting you where you want 
to go comfortably and efficiently.

the cockpit of the Saare 38

The fixed windscreen, along with high, wide coamings, help protect the crew from the worst of the elements. Credit: David Harding

If this is the sort
 of boat you want, you’re unlikely to find much to 
take issue with.

A boat on test can only be assessed in the conditions on the day, but it’s not often you come away struggling to find anything to criticise. This was one of those very rare occasions.

SPECIFICATIONS

MAKE 
Saare
MODEL 
38
PRICE FROM 
£270,500 inc VAT
DESIGNER 
Karl-Johan Stråhlmann
BUILDER 
Saare Yachts