So, how fast does our Hanse 388 go? This summer, we gathered over twenty million data points to compare our sailing speeds with what HanseYachts’ marketing material had promised. Here are the results.

Our Data

Our boat recorded (among a huge number of other things), speed, course, wind angle and wind speed roughly ten times per second, for the whole summer.

The millions of data points visualized into a polar diagram. See, we sailed more with the wind from the right 🙂

Each point on the graph represents:

  1. sailing with a particular speed (in the middle 0 knots, on the outermost circle 10 knots),
  2. at a certain (true) angle to the wind (straight up on the circle is directly against the wind),
  3. at a certain true wind speed (blue: 0-6 knots, yellow 15-20 knots, purple 20+ knots)

The surrounding red line shows the maximum speed for each angle (averaged for three degrees).

Looking at the picture,

  1. We sailed much more with the wind coming from starboard! Funny. My friend said we”used the boat unevenly” 😄
  2. Sometimes we got a bit over eight knots, but the bulk of our sailing was between 4 – 7 knots, maybe 4 – 7.5 knots with the wind from starboard.

Compare to What?

It isn’t that straightforward to know what to compare to.

HanseYachts publishes polars for the 388, but they are made with a sail configuration that Hanse actually doesn’t sell (jib + spinnaker). In the same diagrams they do include polar data for using just the jib, but since we have the crossover / code zero sail, that’s not totally comparable either.

Hanse 388 polar diagram.

There’s also the ORC database, with a lot of boats, and fortunately they do have one Hanse 388 there. It seems lighter (=quicker) than ours, though. And it carries a different set of sails than any of us.

Hanse 388 ORC data.

So, comparing apples to apples isn’t that easy. With this in mind, though, here’s what I came up with.

s/y Charlotte vs HanseYachts’ Polars

Compared to HanseYachts’ Hanse 388 with using just the mainsail and a jib (no downwind sail). The dashed line is the polar data comparison our own sailing max speeds. We have the code zero, so downwind we’re faster than Hanse’s data.
Compared to HanseYachts’ Hanse 388 with jib and spinnaker. The spinnaker is significantly bigger than our code zero, so that adds plenty to the difference downwind.
The average difference in percentages upwind (0 – 75 degrees), reaching (75 – 110) and downwind (110 – 180). The Hanse Jib-only data = 100%.

There’s a lot of averages of averages here, but bottom line: compared to the jib only Hanse polars, we did 94% of its upwind speed, 96% when reaching, and 112% (cheers! so long! see you later!) when going downwind.

Compared to the jib + spinnaker polars, we did the same upwind, but about 90 – 91% of the reaching and downwind speeds.

If we average all the wind angles, we were exactly as quick as the jib-only Hanse, and 9% slower than the jib+spinnaker Hanse.

Difference in absolute maximum speeds. We’re 0.3 – 0.5 knots slower upwind, 0.3 – 0.9 knots slower reaching and between 0.9 knots faster and 0.9 knots slower (no spinnaker) downwind.

It’s quite encouraging, actually. Not at all crazily far from what was advertised!

So, if you sail with a jib and a crossover sail, load your boat with a dinghy, life raft, four kids, two adults and a dog— and are just very ordinary everyday sailors like we are— you can expect something like 90-94% of the speed guide Hanse is showing.

s/y Charlotte vs Hanse 388 ALOHA

There is just one single Hanse 388 that has gone through the ORC certification to get their “racing” polars. This is Hanse 388 ALOHA.

Here is how we compare to them:

The big picture.
Aloha is about the same as the Hanse speed guides upwind. Downwind they are between us and the spinnaker Hanse. This is as it should be, since they are measured with a 101 m2 asymmetric downwind sail, which is bigger than our crossover (61 m2), but probably a bit smaller than the spinnaker.
We’re 0.4 – 0.5 knots behind Aloha upwind, 0.5 – 0.9 knots behind reaching, and 0.6 – 0.7 knots behind them downwind.


I started out thinking that we would be way way slower than Hanse’s official speed guides (polar diagrams).

Looking at the data, however, I think we did pretty well!

During our summer sailing, we paid much more attention to keeping the kids (and the dog) happy than to sailing speed. And we had a huge load of barnacles attached to the bottom for at least some of the sailing.

Se, getting to about 90-94% of advertised speeds (with less sail area!) is certainly good enough for our first season.

Next season, we’ll aim higher! 🤘

P.S. Hanse, I wish you would supply speed guides for the sails you really sell (the crossover!). It would also be nice to know the base parameters (boat weight!) for your calculations. Please send them over! 😄