Fjord embarked on a sea change in 2007 under the HanseYachts umbrella. Operations were moved from Norway (where Fjord had built since the 1950s) to Hanse’s HQ in Greifswald, Germany, and chief designer Patrick Banfield—whose work includes the classic Wallytender and one-off superyacht tenders for Feadship—was brought in to modernize the brand’s offerings.
Banfield accomplished just that. His design language for the Fjord model line stood in stark contrast to the builder’s previous vessels, in turn completely revitalizing the brand. The 38 Xpress does not deviate from Banfield’s Fjord brief, with a nearly vertical plumb bow, high freeboard, bold, horizontal sheer, frameless windshield, a flat deck layout and an open transom. However, she’s only the second Fjord under Hanse to be powered by outboards.
She sat proudly in the slip aside her sisterships at the Cannes Yachting Festival where I boarded via the swim platform, partially obscured by the standard twin 300-hp Mercury Verados. At once the 38 showed her modus operandi as an open dayboat, with uncluttered, wide spaces to either side of the helm and centerline seating areas. However, she emitted safety and comfort: The open stern is flanked by gates to each side of the outboards, lending a feeling of protection in concert with tall gunwales. The optional teak decks, toerail and bow were a nice contrast to the bone-white Alexseal paint, smoke gray cushions (numerous upholstery and gelcoat colors are owner’s choice) and dark carbon fiber/fiberglass T-top.
The foredeck has seating for about eight guests; the 38 can accommodate as many at benches abaft the helm. The seating here (with removable dining table) can face forward or backward and the aft bench converts into a wide sunpad. The area is separated from the helm and its twin bolster seats by a wet bar with a fridge. Done with the sun? Canvas shades supported on carbon fiber poles can be deployed fore and aft and there’s a small but airy belowdecks space with a double berth and a wet head.
An optional layout jettisons the aft bench and table for a wide-open deck, ideal for water toys. The freshwater shower at the swim platform will come in handy after a day in the salt and the large, electrically actuated storage area in the deck (the 38 was developed from the inboard-powered 36 Open and retains the space where the engines would sit) can easily swallow all but SUPs.
Engine packages with joystick piloting up to 700 hp in twin configurations are available from Merc, Yamaha and Suzuki. The builder claims a 27-knot cruise and a 38-knot top end with standard 300-hp Verados, and 46 knots wide open with optional power.
Recently, I’ve spotted Fjords plying the waters from Martha’s Vineyard and Shelter Island to Sweden and the French Riviera. As outboards only grow in popularity—it seems the builder chose the ideal time to launch the 38 Xpress—I expect we’ll see more of these bold, stylish dayboats. —Jeff Moser
Displ.: 13,350 lbs.
Fuel: 200 gal.
Water: 53 gal.
Standard Power: 2/300-hp Mercury Verado outboards
Cruise Speed: 27 knots
Top Speed: 38 knots