Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dehler 38 Review

Here is an interesting cruiser/racer from Dehler Yachts. As you may know, Dehler Yachts was one of many builders that were knocked out in the Great Recession. Fortunately, the Hanse Group acquired the company in 2009, so the well respected Dehler marque lives on. Nowadays Dehlers are built at Hanse's facility in Griefswald, Germany, on the Baltic coast.

Dehler 38 at speed.
All photos courtesy of  Dehler Yachts and Yachtworld.

Designed by Judel/Vrolijk and launched in 2013, the 38 is the first of the revamped Dehler line. It is a performance cruiser with comfortable accommodations wrapped in a visually attractive package. It fits in roughly the same market segment as the J/112E and the X-Yachts XP38. This is pretty tough competition.

The D38's hull incorporates a long waterline, moderate beam and, by today's standards, a moderately beamy stern. Its Displacement/Length ratio of 179 indicates a boat of medium displacement that will sail well to weather and will deliver reasonably good performance off the wind. As you know, a high Sail Area/Displacement ratio indicates a boat with a relatively large sailplan. The D38's SA/D is 21.63. By comparison, the J112E's D/L and SA/D are 152 and 25.0 respectively. This tells us that we should expect the D38 to deliver a bit less performance in lighter conditions, but you'll need to reef the J a little sooner in a breeze. This is an appropriate trade-off for the slightly "cruisier" Dehler. For the more performance minded sailor, Dehler offers the boat with a deeper keel, lighter displacement and a carbon fiber rig.  That boat's D/L of 168 and SA/D of 24.67 puts it squarely in the the category of racer/cruiser instead of cruiser/racer.

Here are some more numbers:
LOA .......................... 37.07 ft
LWL .......................... 34.12 ft
BMAX ...................... 12.30 ft
Draft .......................... 6.56 ft
Displacement ............. 15,875 lb
Ballast ........................ 4,850 lb
Sail Area .................... 854 sq ft
SA/D .......................... 21.63
D/L ............................. 179

Freeboard on the D/38 is fairly high and the vertical stem is balanced by the very slightly raked transom. The keel is a hydro-dynamically efficient vertical fin with a torpedo bulb, while the rudder is deep enough to provide good control. I like that Dehler opted to include a deeper, more powerful rudder on the competition model. Many builders offer competition keels but don't provide a commensurately high performance rudder. Another important detail is the hull/keel interface. Notice that the keel fin is lengthened where it meets the hull. This spreads the loads out which reduces hull flex in this area and allows for a stronger hull/keel joint. This is offset by slightly more turbulence in this area, but I think it's a good trade-off.

The standard keel incorporates a cast iron fin with a lead torpedo bulb, as does the deeper competition keel. The shoal keel is  made entirely of cast iron.

High freeboard and a nearly straight sheer are offset by a highly sculpted deck.

The standard aluminum rig will provide enough performance for the average cruising sailor. End-boom sheeting, the option of symmetrical spinnakers and a 48:1 block and tackle backstay adjuster round out the D38's sailplan.

Dehler put a great deal of effort into creating a beautifully sculpted deck and I think the result is well worth the effort. The cabin trunk is long and low, with the cabin sides angled at roughly 45 degrees. The center of the cabin top is recessed slightly to allow lines led aft from the mast to be enclosed. The designer thoughtfully included an instrument pod just above the campanionway hatch. Notice that the cockpit seats are angled sharply, making the cockpit a bit cramped for a racing crew.  I prefer them aligned more with the centerline of the boat. The large dropleaf table will further hamper the racing crew. Aft of the cockpit seats, the mainsheet traveler is mounted on the sole and there is a pair of beautiful carbon fiber steering wheels. The transom includes a removable "tailgate" panel. I am not a fan of these folding transoms, but I do like the fact that this one can be removed for racing.

D38 looks fast even in the slings. Notice the large anchor roller. This is a necessity for boats with plumb stems. 

The three windows in the hull appear to be mere slits, but they provide plenty of light and visibility,

With the tailgate removed the D38 looks pretty racy.

The accommodations plan includes options for two or three cabins. I prefer the two cabin version for cruising. The forward cabin incorporates lots of storage and a good sized V-berth. There is plenty of room to dress and the large hatch allows for plenty of ventilation.

The forward cabin has plenty of storage and shelf space

The main cabin incorporates an L-shaped dinette to starboard and a long settee to port, separated by a centerline dropleaf table. The chart table is one of those convertible affairs. Using it involves relocating a couple of seat cushions and sliding the table forward. Once that is done you have a decent workspace for navigation chores.

Sliding chart table. The radios and electrical panel are concealed behind the curved locker doors.
I could do without the "head rests".

The galley is compact but appropriate for a racer/cruiser. It is equipped with a top and front access refrigerator, which is very convenient. There is enough storage space for cruising provisions and enough counter space to make sandwiches for the racing crew.

Throughout the main cabin and galley there are top-hinged locker doors with gas springs. They give the boat a modern appearance below that is complimented by extensive indirect lighting. I am not sure this is the most practical arrangement but it is beautiful.

I like the light colored counters and the tall fiddles.

Beautifully styled main cabin.

The head is a versatile area. Notice in the accommodations plan that the toilet/shower room is in the forward part of the head.  It is separated from rest of the compartment by a door that does double duty, closing off the entire compartment from the main cabin as well. 

This is the view of  the D38 that Dehler is hoping the competition sees most.
Overall, the D38 merits high marks for design and performance. As I noted earlier it lives in a very competitive market niche and I think it's going to hold it own against the J's, X-Yachts and Salona performance cruisers. I am looking forward to seeing a D38 Competition on the starting line here in Southern California.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, 2 years passed, I am quite intrigued to know if D38 held against J's and the XP38 you guys have there?