Best Cruising Sailboat Under 38 Feet: Dehler 38

“This very responsive sailboat scoots along quite nicely, I think as well as anything we sailed in this fleet,” says Boat of the Year judge Mark Schrader of the Dehler 38.

Dehler 38

Billy Black

It perhaps goes without saying, but good sailboats should sail well. The German-built Dehler 38 definitely does that. It was a big reason our judging panel named it 2014's Best Cruising Sailboat Under 38 Feet. Ed Sherman, for one, was impressed.

“I really enjoyed this boat’s open cockpit layout; it’s very easy to maneuver around,” he said. “Everything’s close at hand for efficient sail trimming. It’s a fine dual-purpose racer/cruiser. You could do the Wednesday night series, or a weekend regatta, and really have a heck of a good time. People who really like to sail will certainly enjoy what the Dehler 38 has to offer.”

“The brand is now part of the Hanse group, which includes Dehler, Hanse and Moody,” explained Tim Murphy. “This boat is part of a new trend within the company, as Dehler is now coming in as the performance boat in the group, and Hanse is moving slightly away from the performance branding that they had before.”

Murphy believes the company is making good on that premise. “This boat really delivered on the performance part of it,” he said. “The mainsheet is on the aft end of the boom with the traveler down in the cockpit sole. It’s a good setup. The helms were beautiful.”

To that point, Mark Schrader also agreed. “The twin wheels I thought were a bit on the small side, but after sailing the boat, I actually believe that works to their favor. The helms are extremely light and very well balanced. In the cockpit and around the wheels, the ergonomics really worked.

“We set the spinnaker and it was an easy operation,” he added. “Jibing the chute was simple. When you’re back there steering, you have very good sight lines and good control. It’s a responsive boat too, just as it should be.”

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