A Different Tune
Almost everywhere you look on the Atlantis 38 there is evidence of how much thought went into her design. The concertina doors to both the forward cabin and the shower compartment save space in a remarkably simple way. The tabletop needed for the (optional) saloon dinette conversion stows neatly in its own slot in the forward hanging locker. A lifting backrest section in the cockpit cushion is a small but significant addition to the comfort and versatility of the boat’s seating areas. The entire cockpit sole lifts on a hydraulic ram to reveal the engine compartment, requiring no more preparation than the removal of a small corner cushion. Whoever pulls cooking duties can work in daylight thanks to a glass panel above the galley. The helm seat has a lifting bolster so you can steer either sitting or standing up.
Just as important to quality of life aboard the Atlantis is the amount of stowage that has been built in, from the useful little oddments tray under a hinged lid on the port side of the cockpit to the practically sized drawers and hanging locker in the forward cabin.
Lifting hatches and peering into hidden corners revealed nothing but carefully clipped wiring, well-run plumbing, and well-finished fiberglass lamination. Up at the bow, the windlass is mounted on a seriously heavy-duty piece of stainless steel that is bolted into place on fiberglass laminates, which are very chunky indeed. It really does look immensely strong.
I tested the 38 off Savona, Italy, and conditions were perfect, with a moderate swell rolling in, augmented by a light chop on top—just the fun side of challenging for a boat this size. And what fun we had.
With 17.5 degrees of deadrise aft and plenty more forward, the 38’s hull ironed out the seas with little fuss. The minimum planing speed we managed, around 19 knots, would have been fine for passagemaking in these conditions, upwind or down. The only slamming we encountered was deliberate, as we banked off the crests to wrong-foot the hull, but doing so induced no creaks or groans from the structure. Forward sightlines were at times a little marginal: I’m around 6 foot and started my test drive by standing at the helm but ended up sitting, to benefit from the height of the seat. In flatter water close inshore this wasn’t an issue. Running downwind and across the seas we recorded a two-way average maximum of more than 35 knots. In flat conditions, with more finely tuned leg trim, we might have got a little more. The optimum envelope for fuel-efficient cruising is around 26 to 33 knots.
Volvo’s excellent DPH Duoprop sterndrives always give an exciting ride, especially when married to plenty of horsepower. The 38’s high-speed turning circle, heeled right over, seemed slightly shorter than its hull length. The steering was light but positive, and we were always in control. Power transmission was virtually instantaneous. Acceleration was lively. The experience was addictive.
: 19,900 lb.
: 201 gal.
: 48 gal.
9-kW genset; 19,000-Btu A/C; teak side decks and cockpit; cockpit fridge and barbecue; convertible dinette in saloon.
Temperature: 54°F; humidity 50%; seas: 4- to 5-foot swell, 1- to 2-foot chop; load: 150 gal. fuel, no water, 4 persons, 100 lb. gear. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/ GPS. GPH taken via Volvo Penta display. Range is 90% of advertised fuel capacity. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.