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.  Together, designer and builder have produced a long list of international race wins. Previously, the larger XP-44 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 surprised. With the 130-square meter gennaker up, boat speed was 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. That’s Force 5 and slightly more. Nevertheless, the mood on deck was delightfully relaxed. As long as the helmsperson was  attentive, the trimmers didn't have to work too hard.

The XP-38 benefits from a strong pedigree: builder X-Yachts and designer Niels Jeppesen.


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 7 knots at 35 degrees of true wind angle. These numbers raise the bar for the competition, despite only three crew aboard -- the reason why the boat felt slightly overpowered under full canvas. In 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

The demanding sailplan requires a competent helmsperson. The main trimmer sits right next to the driver to operate the traveler and the mainsheet, 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 does give perfect access to the mainsheet winch, which is also 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, and is supported by top-quality hardware and generously sized winches. Important trim equipment like jib leads that are adjustable under load, barberhaulers for the jib, and the mainsail outhaul all were 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 the deck. An additional 38,000 euros 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.  Belowdecks the XP-38 is welcoming, with a bright and airy ambience and composite elements that are frequently replacing traditional wood. Closet doors and covers now are made from shiny white GRP. Not everybody would consider this choice an aesthetic improvement, but from a functional perspective it definitely is. The parts are light, easy to repair, and add to the stiffness of the hull structure.

The interior makes use of light-colored and lightweight composite materials.

Unlike the XP-44, the 38 does not have a second head forward, and the saloon is arranged symmetrically. Otherwise the layout remains identical, save 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 head with a separate shower stall are not offered. This 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 hanging lockers 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 1.40 meters, but at least the hanging lockers are spacious, even though their doors are difficult to open.

X-Yachts builds boats that have higher value than many of their direct competitors’. The old steel grid in the bottom of the hull has been replaced with a carbon fiber 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.

Naturally, so much sophistication doesn’t come cheap. The XP-38 is priced at 258,825 euros FOB the factory in Denmark. A good set of sails adds another 13,000 euros. Just as expected, there were no big surprises. 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.

For more information, visit X-Yachts.

- Michael Good


  • LOA :11.58 m / 37.99 ft

  • LWL: 10.36 m / 33.99 ft

  • Beam: 3.70 m / 12.14 ft

  • Draft:  standard 2.10 m / 6.89 ft

  • Draft: deep 2.40 m / 7.87 ft

  • Ballast: standard 2,760 kg / 6,085 lbs

  • Displacement:  light 6,410 kg / 14,131 lbs

  • Engine:  diesel 21.6 kW / 29.0 hp

  • Water tank, standard:  260 l / 68.8 gal

  • Fuel tank, standard: 150 l / 39.6 gal

  • Mainsail (Alloy Rig): 46.2 sq. m / 497.0 sq. ft.

  • Mainsail (Carbon Rig) 48.0 sq. m /517.0 sq. ft.

  • Genoa 106% 39.5 sq. m /  393.0 sq. ft.

  • Spinnaker, all-purpose: 130 sq. m /  1399 sq. ft.

yacht-logoThis story originally appeared in YACHT magazine, and is republished here by permission. Translated by Dieter Loibner.

Translated by Dieter Loibner,