Hanse 388 Rigging

Hanse 388 s/y Charlotte cockpit

A while ago I got a question about what lines go where on the deck, and a “maybe you could write a blog post about the rigging?” Yes, I can!


The basic cockpit layout, with the (highly recommended) secondary winches and the code zero stuff. The red line is the code zero sheet (port side). The yellow line is the outboard lead for the jib. The blue line is the jib furling line.
Lots of things happening in the mid-section. The green line (in real life it’s white/blue!) on the starboard side is the endless furling line for the code zero furler.
Getting to the bow, we find self-tacking track, and the actual furlers. The yellow line (outboard lead) goes to the jib clew and either inside our outside the guard rail, depending on the wind angle.

After clicking the “street view” icon. Running the main sheet to the roof means you get a wide and open cockpit, with lots of space. There’s no backstay in the middle either, since it’s split into a Y-shape a bit higher up above my head.

Starboard Lines

Starboard lines and winches. Note that the winch positioned to the left in front of the clutches..

All the lines that go through the Spinlock clutches end up on the primary winches.

The great thing about this is that almost everything that is needed to sail the boat can be easily reached from behind the wheel.

On the other hand, as the clutches are placed really close to the primary winches, this also means that:

  • It’s not really possible to use the secondary winch for any of the primary lines; and
  • When sheeting the jib (the line the furthest to the right), the angle from the clutch to the winch isn’t optimal, and there’s some added friction. The winch isn’t directly ahead of the clutches either, which accentuates this issue.

(Not complaining, though. Just explaining.)

The starboard lines from left to right:

  • Mainsail outhaul, PET rope, 10 mm, unknown length.
  • Main sheet, Liros Top Cruising 12 mm, 38 m.
  • Reef 1, PET, 12 mm, 26 m.
  • Main halyard, Liros Dynamic Plus (dyneema core), 10 mm, 39 m.
  • Jib sheet, Liros Top Cruising, 12 mm, 27 m.

Port Lines

Similar setup here, but with more sun on this side 🙂

The port lines from left to right:

  • Gennaker/code zero/spinnaker halyard, Liros Top Cruising, 10 mm, 41 m
  • Jib halyard, Liros Dynamic Plus, 10 mm, 35 m
  • Reef 2, PET, 12 mm, 36 m
  • Main sheet, Liros Top Cruising, 12 mm, 38 m (same line as on the starboard side)
  • Kicker/boom vang, PET, 10 mm, 11 m

Main Trimming

The main is shaped (quite normally) using the main halyard (no Cunningham available!), a “German” mainsheet system, the outhaul, the kicker, and the backstay. And the two reef lines.

If there is a bit more weather going upwind, I have the main sheet on the windward winch (or whichever side I’m on myself) with the clutch open so that I can release it quickly if needed.

Reefing to the first reef is easy, since both the main halyard and the first reef line are on the starboard side. Going to the second reef is a bit more involved, since I then have to jump over to the port side to adjust the second reef line.

If I end up adjusting both the main and the jib frequently, I usually leave the jib sheet ready to be used on the starboard winch, and the main sheet on the port one.

The mainsheet system. One line runs from the starboard side to the mast foot (PBB60 block), up to the boom (PBB80 blocks), down to the roof (PBB80s here as well), and then inversely to the port side.
The Seldén rodkicker.
A Seldén fiddle cam for adjusting the backstay.
The backstay purchase system.
Close-up on a clutch. When locking the main halyard, and to get as little slippage as possible, I usually half-open the clutch and press down on the cam thing while releasing the pressure from the winch to the clutch.

Jib Trimming

The self-tacking jib is shaped using the jib halyard (port), the jib sheet (starboard), and the outboard leads.

Sheeting the jib is (in my humble opinion) the heaviest lifting among the sail controls. It could benefit from a bigger winch or— as some people have done— an extra block between the jib clew and the self-tacking track. Keeping it standard, though, I usually sail temporarily up into the wind, or use to autopilot’s auto-tacking function to relieve the pressure, before sheeting it all the way to eleven.

UPDATE: As Peter points out in the comments, it’s actually very “Hanse standard” to have the extra block there on a 388. To leave it out, was then apparently just how the commissioning yard chose to do it!

When not going close-hauled upwind, I turn the self-tacking jib into a non-self-tacking jib by adding an outboard lead. The outboard leads are sheeted with the secondary winches (excellent reason to have them!) and depending on the wind angle, they attach to the jib clew either inside our outside the guard rails. (With frequent course changes, this means frequent trips to the bow for me or some other non-sunbathing person!)

The jib sheet drops down to the self-tacking track and continues to the jib clew. When moored, I usually tie a line around it and pull it forward to prevent the sheet from banging on the mast.

The outboard lead in use to get a better shaped when not going tightly upwind. (But oh boy, look at the grey and uninviting weather!)

Code Zero

The code zero (or crossover, as Hanse calls it) is hoisted using the gennaker/CZ halyard, sheeted using the secondary winches and the gennaker sheets, and furled with the endless furling line on the starboard side.

I you don’t have the secondary winches, you could guide the crossover sheet to the primary winch, but then you wouldn’t have any winch to adjust the backstay, main halyard, outhaul or first reef. (Well, I haven’t used the crossover while reefed, so that might not be such a big loss).

UPDATE: In the comments below, Stuart asks how I lock the furling line to prevent accidental unfurling. The crossover system actually comes with a Seldén Fiddle Twin Cam that is intended for exactly this. In Greifswald, however, after the handover, we didn’t figure out how to get the endless line onto it, so we never started using it. Now I know how it’s done, but, frankly, we have never felt the need for it. When the crossover is furled and I need to lock it, I lock the whole loop onto the secondary winch.

Flying the code zero with the sheet on the secondary winch. You can also see the blue/white furling line coming from the fairlead on the stanchion post.


Finally, I’ll address a commonly heard opinion about production boats, that they all come with seriously undersized deck hardware.

So what do we have on our boat, and what do the manufacturers recommend? I looked at the manufacturers’ charts and made a comparison table below.

My table isn’t very scientific, though. Real designers take into account the system as a whole. And in cooperation with the deck hardware manufacturers, they design the stuff to support the actual loads, as well as the requirements set out by the regulative frameworks.

Still, looking at the Lewmar (for winches) and Seldén (the rest of the deck gear) tables, you get a rough idea.

So here goes:

PartHanse 388RecommendedOK
Main Sheet BlocksPBB80 PBB80 (up to 48′)
Self-tacking systemSystem 30 System 30 (up to 45′)
Jib halyard, mast base blockPBB60PBB60 (up to 38′)
Main halyard, mast base blockPBB60PBB60 (up to 39′)
Spinnaker halyard, mast base blockPBB60PBB60 (up to 38′)
Rod-kicker20S20S (up to 9 tons)
Rod-kicker blocksPBB60PBB60 (up to 42′)
Main sheet winch40 ST45 ST⬇️
Jib sheet winch40 ST30 ST
CZ sheet winch40 ST40 ST
Jib halyard40 ST 16 ST
Main halyard40 ST45 ST⬇️
CZ halyard40 ST16 ST

Almost all the components are specified as recommended, except for the mainsail winches, which could be one size bigger.

One caveat to this, however: Seldén’s charts are quite clear but Lewmar’s winch sizing guide is a bit more open to interpretation. Everything depends, it says, on the sheetings systems and whatnot, so for better recommendations you should contact them directly. (And I’m sure the clever people at Hanse did.)

My own reflection is that I’ve never had a problem with sheeting the main. The heaviest winching has been when sheeting the jib (under load) and when trying to get enough mainsail halyard tension.

Overall, though, I think it’s safe to say that a new Hanse 388 does not come with seriously undersized deck hardware. Not with oversized deck gear either, but rather with stuff selected and installed as recommended.

I wouldn’t mind having bigger winches, of course! 45 STs instead of the 40 STs. Big boats have big and cool winches, and the 40 STs do give the appearance of being a bit small (compared to the hardware on more classical yachts at least).

On the other hand, so far I’ve had exactly zero real problems with the standard winches. It’s more about technique and trying to do things in a smart way, I guess. A bit less about brute-forcing it.


P.S. Check out this beautiful Seldén catalogue. It’s filled with good information and from page 100 forward it has several pages about load calculations.


  1. Interesting to see how the starboard winch is aligned differently. Strange choice by Hanse. With regards to “ an extra block between the jib clew and the self-tacking track. Keeping it standard, though” on the 348 this is Standard, but have seen a 385 with the same configuration as you. I would actually expect the bigger boat to have this as standard.

    1. Thank you for the comment! Good point about the “standard” thing.

      I guess it’s up to the commissioning people actually, how they rig it, and I’m unsure of how much thought they put into it. Actually, when I check the Hanse 388 marketing pictures, they have the block as well, so it seems I should put it there as well! 😀

      And an interesting comment about the winch positioning. I checked some other 388 pics and at they have it offset from the centerline as well, so it seems to be a Hanse choice. For one reason or another 🤷‍♂️

      1. Not sure if this got dbl posted. But as I remember it, the 385 I was talking to did have an extra block in their spare parts box, the did not know was for that. So check there, it might be there, just waiting to be mounted 🙂

        1. And we _do_ have that block also! I went down to the boat yesterday to check it and a) the jib sheet is long enough for the loop back but b) the clew board is too large (distance between hole and edge) for the selden PBB60 shackle 😃. Maybe that was the problem with initial rigging as well, and they just went for the single line instead?

          I remember some earlier discussions about weak clew boards on the self-tacking jibs, so if Elvstrøm started suppling sturdier clew boards, they (Hanse) forgot to upgrade the shackle for that 🤷‍♂️

    2. I found another Hanse 388 video with the “offset” winch. Here, at least, a possible reason for the design: they fit the electric winch button to the right of it!

      1. Was looking at your pictures again. Could the placement be due to the starting point on the winch? Eg they are running clockwise so the starting point is on the right side of the winch. So this point should be on the approx centerline of the clutches. Plus space for the button for electric winch. Seems that the port one should even be a bit further out.. But for my symmetrical OCD that would drive me crazy 😂 Will need to check my boat tomorrow

        1. Yes, good point about the starting point 😃. For that to be aligned, the port one should indeed be offset as well, and the starboard offset should be a bit smaller.

          I think we have exactly the same deck hardware, btw, on the 348 and the 388?

          1. Yes i believe the setup Is, if not the same, then almost the same. We only have 2 winches though. 4 would be nice, but being a smaller boat we went with only 2. Posted some images on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/COtGghDroE3/?igshid=1sg628gdbufiw here you can see the solution with our jib mounted with 2 shackles. And on ours both winches are both “correctly” centered 🙂

  2. Looking at your winches I also find it strange that the starboard winch appears to be offset compared with the port. This wasn’t the case with the 385 which (I think) also had a bigger gap between the clutches and the winch so that there wasn’t so much of a problem with the angle of lines onto the winch.
    I also found the jib sheet hard work and my boat was also supplied without a double purchase. I replaced the sheet (needed an extra 4 metres or so) and put a block onto the clew of the jib to give double purchase and…. no improvement. I believe that the problem is the thickness of the rope used and (in my case) a slightly soft casing that (I guess) is meant to be easier on the hands. Too much friction! As we almost always used the winches, I ended up replacing the sheet (again) with 10mm dyneema and this made a huge difference. So much so that I did the same with the main sheet.
    I am interested in the crossover furling line arrangement as this is new to me. I see you have three stanchion fairleads and I’m wondering if you need to have any sort of jammer to stop it unfurling accidentally?
    [P.S. Going to see the new boat on Wednesday – it arrives in UK this weekend!]

    1. Great additional info, Stuart! 👍

      Re locking the furling line, the system did come with a jammer, but when we departed from Greifswald we couldn’t figure out how to get the endless line onto it, and got used to not having a jammer 😄. Whenever I need to secure it, I just lock the whole loop onto the secondary winch.

      Here’s the device included in the crossover package: https://support.seldenmast.com/en/products/blocks/plain_bearing_blocks/pbb50/__item_405-001-40.html

    2. Stuart I’m also having problem with the 12mm sheet. But that is mostly when furling the jib in. As you say, to much friction. In the Hanse fb group others have also had success replacing with 10mm so this in on my todo list.
      And congrats on the new boat

  3. Hello! I’m Linda in New Zealand and just put an offer in on a 388 (2023). Fingers crossed. Someone on a Hanse forum on FB put me on to your blog and it has been super helpful and informative – getting me itching to get on to the new boat and get to know her. I still have to sell my 400e (2006) and suspect I’ll have a little seller’s remorse as she has been a great boat (owned for 12 years), but my new marina is being very strict about the length, so am using that as an opportunity for a newer boat.
    I have a cheeky request – is there any chance all your 388 posts are in one place and could be emailed? I’m jumping around between the 388 and 531 at the moment. You seem very happy to share info! I love the idea of having your annotated pics and using for my storage etc (the boat I am looking at is also 3 berth – I would have chosen 2 (no kids) and more storage and bigger galley but this one is available now!).

    Fair winds

    1. Cheers!

      How nice to hear from you and finger cross that you’ll get a great next boat!

      Unfortunately, I don’t know of any easy way to email the posts but maybe you can use the month-by-month links? The 388 stuff should be between May 2019 and Jan 2022. So here’s, for example the posts from May 2019:


      Good luck again with the next boat and please send link to ig, etc if you have 🙂

      Kind regards,

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