What We Are Looking For

Charlotte on the bow of s/y Charlotte, Hanse 388

The quest to get the “next boat” has turned out to be slightly more challenging than I thought it would be! Due to the current and absolutely ludicrous demand for boats, the delivery time for new boats can run into years (bye-bye sailing summer 2022!), and the market for used ones, well it is both thinly populated and heftily priced.

So, in between refreshing my searches on Yachtworld, here are a few thoughts about what we are looking for, and why. Please feel free to offer your opinions and set us straight in case you think we are straying!

More Speed

More knots on the boat speed gauge. Or at least as many, and absolutely not less than we had on our previous boat!

With the right kind of wind, we did get very nice speeds with the Hanse 388— especially when flying the code zero. But when getting some, there’s bound to be an appetite for getting some more.

Our Hanse 388 sailing profiled based on how much time we spent sailing at different speeds. The peak of the mountain is just below 5 knots. There’s a small uptick at 9 knots because it includes all samples >= 9.0 kt.

As I mentioned, where the 388 really shined was when sailing with the code zero. Where there could have been some more was:

With light to moderate upwind. In our crisscrossing archipelago filled with rocks and marks, the self-tacking jib was brilliant (SA/D 17.9). On longer upwind legs, however, and especially when sailing into waves, a genoa would have been nice to get some more power (SA/D 19.3).

Tacking upwind from Kalmar towards home. Good upward performance is important.

When going deeper downwind. The code zero (SA/D 26.0) was fantastic, but when the destination was deeper downwind (with little wind), it would have been nice to have a spinnaker or at least a gennaker to make our boat go a bit faster.

So, why not just buy these additional sails (and a genoa track and a spinnaker pole) instead of a new boat?

More Space

The Hanse 388 was a huge sailboat compared to all the other sailboats I’ve owned.

All this (much appreciated!) roominess, however, did not translate into the perfect amount of storage space for all of our equipment and people aboard:

No space for extra sails. The bow locker fitted the windlass with chain, and not much more. The cockpit bench and stern lockers were crammed with fenders, safety gear, and the life raft. Our only extra sail, the code zero, was inside on the floor, on the sofa, in our cabin, in our bed, and frequently also outside on the deck. There was no really good place to store it without it being constantly in the way, or out on the deck, exposed to the elements.

Hanse 388 lounge
The code zero/crossover on the sofa to the left.

No good place for the life raft. While it did fit inside one of the stern lockers, it was sufficiently difficult to get out of there so that whenever we actually ventured offshore, we had to lift it out beforehand and secure it to the cockpit table.

No good place for the dinghy. This is a problem for much bigger boats as well, of course. I don’t particularly like davits on a monohull, but I don’t like the overturned dinghy on the foredeck either. On the Hanse 388, I always deflated the dinghy, packed it, and stored it on the deck. (It was good exercise, I told myself!)

Hanse 388 s/y Charlotte mainsail sheeting system
Dinghy packed. From Hanse 531 and upward, they come with a dinghy garage. That would be nice.

Still, the Hanse 388 is not a small boat.

With two adults, four children, and a dog, though, there are some challenges. For people with fewer people aboard, the two-cabin version of the Hanse 388 is a great solution. It is a brilliant boat to begin with, and then you also get a huge amount of extra storage space to fill with— for example— the extra sails you need to go faster.

Less Seasickness

This is a tricky one since there aren’t any simple and straightforward solutions to definitively prevent seasickness.

“We should get a catamaran!” O says, whenever this subject comes up.

“Sure! I’d like that as well,” I usually reply.

And I would indeed.

My experience with catamarans is very limited, though, so I don’t really know what to think. After a few brief episodes aboard two different 38 ft Lagoons, I was left with the impression that the sailing part wasn’t very enjoyable. It’s possible that I didn’t really know how to do it, of course, since I’ve only ever owned monohulls myself.

The performance catamarans, on the other hand, like the Outremers, for example, they do look great on paper. Good upwind performance using daggerboards, and out-of-the-monohull-world speeds for all other wind angles. They are expensive, though, and the current crazy demand is driving up the prices as well as the delivery times for new builds. (Hello, summer 2026!)

Staying within the monohull sphere, the shape and size of the hull will obviously also affect the sailing comfort, but so far we’ve been looking mostly at modern beamy and flat-bottomed boats. Occasionally, though, we’ve also glanced at some second-hand Swans, but no inspired moments of love there— yet, at least.

Our Hanse 388 “heeling histogram”. During 86.2% of our sailing, our boat wasn’t heeled more than 10 degrees. 12.8% of the time, we were heeled between 10-20 degrees. Would getting closer to zero reduce seasickness?

(A Bit) More Separation

Not for Charlotte and me, but for the soon-to-be teenage children, who sometimes felt they were sleeping all over each other in their aft cabin double beds.

Bunk beds would be nice. But if those aren’t available, there are other solutions as well, to make the double beds feel a bit more separated.

An interesting (custom?) solution in a Hanse 540e aft cabin.
Bunk beds on a Hanse 505.

Also, continuing on the separation topic— and this is one of Charlotte’s main wishes— a separate shower somewhere, with the complementing dry toilet far and away.

Some separation on a Hanse 548. They needn’t be in the same room, if you ask Charlotte, but I couldn’t find a picture of that configuration.

Less Freezing Outside

Monohull sailors come up with a lot of good reasons why it is absolutely necessary to steer the boat (and observe its surroundings) from the outside and not the inside.

I’m sure they are at least partly right, but during every wet and cold night I’ve spent outside myself, I’m even more certain that they are absolutely wrong!

Getting good protection is easier said than done, however, in a monohull. There are a few pilothouse sailboat models around, or you can have quite substantial doghouse constructions to make outside only half-outside, but looking at modern monohulls, it’s not that common.

A Garcia Exploration 45. Watchkeeping can be done inside, with good visibility.

For catamarans, having an inside space with good visibility comes more naturally. The Outremer 4.zero, for example, has a great forward-facing navigation station, and the (cool!) Windelo 50 has the whole cockpit inside!

The Outremer 4.zero. Great visibility and a roof over your head!
Windelo 50 forward cockpit
Windelo 50 forward cockpit.

This is not the most important feature we’re looking for, but it would be very nice to have. If we find an otherwise terrific boat, I’m sure I will continue to enjoy the outside, and also come up with a few more good reasons why it’s really the best way to do it. Nothing wrong with dreaming, though, right?

More of The Same

Despite having made this wishlist of improvements we’re looking for, I think it’s important to say that we all think that the Hanse 388 was a brilliant boat.

The absolutely best thing about it: from the very first moment we saw one on Hanse’s website and started planning and dreaming about our own version of it (the golden color was there from day one!), we fell in love with it!

So, with a few added features, we’re more than anything else looking for kind of what we already had: a beautiful boat to sweep us off our feet.

This journey is certainly an exciting one as well.


  1. My H458 is very much more of the same. After the 385 the main seems huge and the boom (slab reefed) way above my (1.88m) head. But after a season I’m used to the size and a thruster helps with a cross wind.
    Magnificent master cabin and two good aft cabins but no bunk option. Massive sail locker swallows dinghy, e-scooter, sails, fenders and more. Galley weakest feature – smaller than our single aft cabin 385.
    I’ve sailed an ocean on a cat and… it didn’t seem like sailing. Ok, maybe not the best example with hydraulic steering with zero feel. Also sailed on a great deck saloon which could tempt me for the inside steering option, but now I’m in the Med I really don’t need that so much.
    I haven’t seen a 460 yet but it could offer much of what you need.
    We’d hate to lose you from the Hanse forums, but wish you well with your search.

    1. Thank you for your comment, again! Nice to hear from you!

      Yes, the 458 could absolutely be a possible boat. I think it is a bit faster (and also cheaper) than the 460, so that’s good as well.

      Hanse just upped their prices for new builds, I think, and since they are now selling build slots going into the end of 2023, I’d be surprised to see big early-bird discounts next summer. (But who knows.)

      The 2nd-hand market looks rather empty at the moment, but things change, of course.

      If we end up staying in the monohull world (which is not very unlikely), I’m pretty sure it should be a Hanse 😀

  2. Compromises, compromises, compromises…
    And by the time you get your new boat, kinds would have grow up and will have no desire to come sailing with you. One of my daughters told me once at the age of 12: “This is not because you purchased a boat that I will come sailing with you. I have may own social life…”.
    I feel also that anything longer than 45 feet is huge and requires significant work to get going. You will notice that people on those boats are much more motoring than sailing anytime the trip is less than 2 hours.

    1. Yes, compromises, absolutely.

      And you make good points! About the children growing up, especially. Thinking about that, we’re in a hurry already…

      Now about the size. I’ve always liked the Hanse 575 🙂

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