Schafer Yacht is one of the most experienced boat builders in Hungary. They have built all sorts of boats in the last more than two decades. Some of them were their own models. They were the first builder who instead of copying existing boats or using someone else’s mold desined one for themselfs.
The story started in the middle of the nineties. In that time with years of experience and after close to a hundred boats produced they started the building of their „own” model. Designed by the Van de Stadt designers office the Dolphin 26 has proved to be a great success. It quickly became a class on the local regattas and 70 boats have been bulilt to date. After a few years in production this was followed by the Vita 30 model. The company received 11 orders for the boat. The next model – the Dolphin 28 – designed by Győző Simongáti arrived in 2002. The number of orders reached 50 in the next decade. Considering the demands of the local market this is a stunning achievement.
All Schafer Yacht models have been tested by our magazine, so this new model will not be an exception. Testing a boat for a magazine when it first hits the water is a chancy business. Since it was my firm who produced the sails for the boat I had no other choice…
The boat has 38 foot LOA and also designed by Győző Simongáti. Still in a marina berth the boat looks to be an exciting, nice cruiser. The public already could admire its minimalist lines and well-proportioned neat and clever layout in the last year’s Kenese boat show.
It has been worth waiting. On the fist weekend of June we could finaly leave the docks with the new boat. We left the marina with the builder and the owner for the first time. Everyone felt quite excited and was waiting for the fist taste of the new experience.
During preparations before we left I had the chance to move around on deck. The „running test” was successful. Walking on the wide flat areas on deck is safe and comfortable. The teak cover is a good antiskid surface.
What impress you for the first look is the size of the cockpit. It is huge. Helm positions proved to be well organized. But I should not run this fast. My favourite feature is the design of the the main sheet. The sheet is not led forward on the boom and back on deck to a winch, but on the level of the traveller block disappears in a hole in the side of the cockpit and reappears on the side coaming right behind its dedicated winch. Easy and simple with less rope than usual. Engine controls are situated on the right side of the cockpit and easy to reach from the helmsman. This boat is big for our lake marinas so it is no surprise that a bowthruster is a standard item. After checking everything important we threw our docklines and left for open water for the first time.
We have very little wind, the engine is runing silky, progress is elegant out of harbour. Outside still close to the shore a 3-4 knot westerly breeze arrives. A group of racers of the Keszthely- Kenese singlehanded race shows us where the wind is. Progress is better close to the shore.
Right in the mouth of the harbour we set the mainsail that goes up the mast effortlesly. Then unfurl the fock and stop the engine.
The boat reacts with little heel and accelerates well. The feeling ont he wheel is good and the boat goes with a relaxing pace. Althought sails are optimized for medium winds we enjoy our progress. Steering is well balanced, waterline is healthy, there is very little wake.
We can find similar design features belowdecks as outside. Interior is simple and elegant with lots of space for everything. Owners layout is built with two comfortable an spacious cabins, galley is part of the salon and there is a head with shower. The charter layout can have three cabins. The two comfortable extra bunks are in a second achter cabin.
D 38 is one of the most exciting projects among Hungarian boatbuilders. Needless to say that most of us would live without a huge part of this excitement easily, not only boatbuilders but the whole country. During the design stages of the boat today’s economical situation and long term crisis was out of scope.
Even without today’s problems introducing a boat of this size on the Hungarian market would not be easy. Competition is fierce in this market segment thanks to foreign boats. Needless to say to compete with other successful builders is a very brave move. On the other hand designer and builder did a nice job on the boat and it has a chance to be successful. Appearance and finish does not lag behind other well known production models. Possible customization thanks to the builders flexibility position the boat even above the competition. For a small emphatetic boatyard this is a distictive advantage.
A future owner can be sure the the boat he buys is not an off –the-shelf product but a highly customized result of exceptional craftsmen’s work.
It was a great pleasure to sail this boat and I hope I will have the opportunity to sail it in more wind next time.