Having a light, bright interior transforms the feel of a boat, but she needs to sail well too. Graham Snook goes to see what the Hanse 388 is really like

Product Overview


Hanse 388


This product is featured in: Head to Head: Hanse 348 & Hanse 418.

See Yachting Monthly December 2017 for the full test

Boat shows are great for comparing boats, find a couple you like, walk off one and onto the next, and you get a real feel for the differences between them.

There are a lot of ways to ‘sell’ boats, such as adding extra lamps, light upholstery and bright cushions. Surprisingly, the Hanse 388 had none of these when she was exhibited at the 2017 Southampton Boat Show and yet she still seemed light compared to many other boats of her class.

Of course, optional pale-coloured French oak interior, and white panels helped but her charcoal grey saloon cushions didn’t. It must have been the 19 windows in the deck then! While she might sound like a greenhouse, she sails like a yacht, and a good one too.


Although it was October, it was still a lovely day to be out on the Solent. We had the full range of a Force 4 between 10-17 knots.

She is quite a stiff boat to sail and was able to carry full sail on the wind to over 18 knots. If we had more wind, carrying full sail might be pushing our luck, however, even hard-pressed in the gusts she failed to lose grip and was still manoeuvrable while well heeled.

Nothing during the test fazed her, even heading into the wake of passing ferries was uneventful. Once the sails are set, there is little more for the crew to do as the helm has all sail controls within their reach.

Should the crew wish to get involved, there is just enough room to access the winches forward of the wheel. Under engine, this boat had a 2-bladed fixed propeller and at 2,500 rpm she made 6 knots, although down below was a little loud.


At the helm

Should you relinquish one of the two wheels, you may find it hard to get the helm back again – such is the feeling through the Jefa steering; it was delightful.

Finger-light and responsive, with so little friction, it just seemed right. I wish steering systems like this were the rule, rather than the exception.

Under the slightly raised helm seats outboard are deep, handy rope bins, like the 385, however aft, rather than fixed transom lockers there are now flip up seats above lazarette lockers.

Sadly the liferaft locker that opened out on the transom (to port) has gone, without a suitable replacement being offered. Just forward of each of the two helm positions are Lewmar 40ST winches that take all the lines from the mast, including mainsail and jib sheets.

It makes it a bit tricky to raise the mainsail because to get a decent heave on the halyard the crew has to be facing aft – as can’t see what they are pulling – or, if left to the helm, they have the wheel, throttle control, sheets and halyard to contend with, by the end of hoisting the mainsail the latter two had covered the former two.

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What’s she like to sail?

The 388 was a lovely boat to sail, with a feel on the helm usually reserved for more expensive yachts. The Jefa steering was light and responsive with excellent feedback.

There was a nice weight to the helm and nothing I could to do during the test would make her lose control or misbehave; she remained composed and in control, whether she was hard on the wind or thrown into a fast tack.

Both the self-tacking jib and the mainsail can be controlled from around the wheels; the mainsheet on both sides, the jib to starboard, the crew can help the helm, but the winch position doesn’t offer the most ergonomic position to winch from.

Once the sails are set the crew can sit back and relax; the helm has all controls at their fingertips with all lines being brought aft to either helm.

Would she suit you and your crew?

If you judge her against other 38 foot boats you may be a little disappointed as her hull length is only 36 feet.

However, compare boats of a similar size and you’ll have a lot to like. I’m not wholly convinced that twin aft cabins at the expense of deck storage space is good on a cruising yacht of this size – I was struggling to think of somewhere to store a dinghy for the crew it will be required to transport – even if the liferaft was stored on deck.

I can only report on the boat I test; a shame because with better deck stowage she could have easily been a five-star boat.

If you want twin aft-cabins buy a bigger boat.

However, with the larger galley and deep deck locker stowage that the single aft cabin layout provides she’s one of the best boats in her class.

The 388 makes sailing easy. If you’re the type of sailor who likes to tweak she may not fulfil your needs unless you opt for some extras, but if you’re after a boat that is easy to sail and delightful on the helm then few other yachts can compete.

Facts and Figures:

Price £210,930 Inc VAT
LOA 11.4m (37ft 5in)
LWL 10.40m (34ft 1in)
Beam 3.90m (12ft 12in)
Draught 2.06m (6ft 9in)
Displacement 8,270kg (18,232 lb)
Ballast 2,380kg (5,247 lb)
Ballast ratio 28.8%
Sail area 72m2 (775sq ft)
SA/D ratio 17.9
Diesel 160 litres (35 gal)
Water 295 litres (64 gal)
Engine 30hp
Transmission Saildrive
RCD category A
Designer Judel/Vrolijk / HanseYachts Design
Builder Hanse Yachts
UK Agent Inspiration Marine Group
Tel 02380 457008
Website www.hanseyachts.co.uk