There really wasn’t any discussion that this boat would perform well. That’s guaranteed by the reputation and experience of X-Yachts and the talents of head designer Niels Jeppesen, which have combined to produce a long list of international race wins.
Previously, the larger XP-44 had hinted at the potential of the company’s performance models. Still, during the test of the new XP-38 on the Dutch Markermeer, the numbers on the instrument-readouts above the companionway were a surprise. With the 130sq m gennaker up, boat speed is consistently in the double digits, increasing to 12 knots in some puffs. The breeze wasn’t all that strong either, with 20 knots average, 25 tops.
The mood on deck was delightfully relaxed. As long as the helmsman drives attentively, the trimmers are not working too hard. Like a dinghy, the XP-38 can be steered in response to wind pressure. Sailing close to the breeze, the fun factor remains high as the XP-38 reaches a tick above seven knots at 35 degrees of true wind angle. These are numbers that raise the bar for the competition, despite only three crew, which is the reason why the boat felt slightly overpowered under full canvas. At 20 knots of breeze, tying in the first reef would be prudent, but even so the boat absorbed the pressure very well held course and remained under control.
A playground for active sailors
This demanding sail plan requires a competent helm and main trimmer who’s sitting right next to the driver to operate the traveler and the mainsheet that is rigged in the style of the German Admiral’s Cup boats. Compared with the XP-44, the space in this area is a squeeze, but with perfect access to the mainsheet winch, which also is close enough to be within reach of the helmsman. Experienced singlehanders will be able to manage the XP-38 alone, but that’s not the primary audience X-Yachts had in mind for their performance line.
The cockpit layout was designed for active and ambitious sailing with crew. Each workstation was positioned for efficient and stress-free operation, which is supported by top-quality hardware and generously-sized winches. Important trim equipment like jib leads that are adjustable under load, barberhauler for the jib and the mainsail outhaul, were all rigged with proper tackle ratios, so they remain easy to work even when loads are high. The standard aluminum mast is stayed with rod rigging and a profiled forestay on a Furlex roller furler under deck. An additional €38,000 buys the race package with a carbon stick from Southern Spars.
Form follows function
The new performance boats by X-Yachts all have their shrouds attached on the outside of the hull, which is a common trend these days, even though it eliminates the possibility of setting a larger genoa. It’s a drawback for light-air venues, but it can be offset nearly entirely with a large and powerful code zero. Below deck the interior is welcoming, with a bright and airy ambience and composite elements that are frequently replacing traditional wood. Closet doors and covers are made from shiny white GRP. Not everyone will consider this choice an improvement aesthetically, but from a functional perspective it definitely is.
Unlike the XP-44, the 38 does not have a second lavatory forward and the saloon is arranged symmetrically. Otherwise the layout remains identical except for size adjustments. As with the XP-44, the three-cabin layout is standard, but there are no other options available. Unfortunately, a two-cabin layout with a larger lazarette or a larger heads with a separate shower stall are not offered, which is a step backwards, since the older models that were replaced (X-40 and X-37) offered interiors with two heads.
The forward cabin turns out to be quite cozy and comfortable with a berth that’s large enough for two and plenty of stowage in two closets on the side. By contrast, space in the two aft cabins is a bit tight for a couple. The shoulder width of the berth is only 1.4m, but at least the closets are spacious, even though their doors are difficult to open.
The old steel grid in the bottom of the hull has been replaced with a carbon fibre floor structure that distributes the rig loads down into the keel. Hull and deck are made from E-glass and epoxy in a sandwich laminate with foam core. For the hull X-Yachts uses resin infusion. On top of it all the impeccable equipment will satisfy the most demanding racers.
The rational, well thought out and straightforward sport-concept of X-Yachts satisfies the expectations for a modern high-end performance cruiser with efficiency and functionality as a bonus for customers. Naturally, so much sophistication doesn’t come cheap. The XP-38 is priced at €258,825 FOB factory in Denmark. A good set of sails adds another €13,000.