So I will attempt to explain why after many years of sailing I took the decision to purchase a 1977 Hans Christian 38T. Let me start by saying I am more than happy for people to comment with their own opinions. I would love to hear your views.
My own research uncovered a great number of differing views, from “walk away” to “we love our Hans Christian’. I will say at this point most people whose views are “against” Hans Christians have never owned one and the views expressed as ” best decision we made” are from those who currently own one. I guess there is bias on either side.
My view therefore is that of a new owner, a relatively experienced single handed sailor who has owned previous boats of this size.
I have to say I am a traditionalist at heart so some bias is already evident. My first yacht was a 38 footer, Robert Tucker designed and built in Australia. Teak decks, most things over sized and a cut away full keel. This boat gave me confidence, it felt solid and secure and could virtually cope with anything. She held her ground, the Aries self steering was superb and a comfortable ride. I sailed around various parts of the South Pacific. My second yacht was a very well equipped Hunter Passage 42. This was sailed in Mexico. The boat was centre cockpit, a first for me. Light , fairly stable and pretty fast. A bit noisy into a sea and a lot of thumping coming off waves. A bit disconcerting when you are single handed. The worst thing was the sugar scoop stern. Very disturbing in the aft cabin at anchor. Can’t say I would be very confident if I was caught out in bad weather. Although I did tow a large 48 foot Tayana for 12 hours without a issue. Also very niggling was the squeaks between the outer hull and the inner compartments.
OK…….my rationale for buying Serendipity, now renamed Serendipity 2 Solid hull and full keel. No keel bolts to come loose. Will stand a knock or two from obstructions in the water. Autohelm self steering, a must for a single hander and an expensive addition if you have to install a new one. I prefer the autohelm to the monitor as the autohelm is also an emergency rudder. A very solid piece of kit.One draw back is the inability to have dingy davits and the stern hung Autohelm rudder, which means the dingy “avec” outboard have to be hailed up mid ships with a halyard from the mast top to get it out of the water in the evenings when at anchor. Having lost a new avon and mercury many years ago, getting the dingy out of the water at night is a religion for me. Both headsail and staysail are roller furling , easier for me to manage. The main does not carry so much cloth either so again more manageable. In a follow sea I prefer the canoe stern. Hans Christians have a reputation for wiring and plumbing issues, however this has all been replaced, as has the original engine with a new Yanmer. The only potential issue are the black iron fuel tanks which most people change out but a mammoth task so I am told . People tend to like teak down below but not on the decks. I have had both non slip and teak and can honestly say I prefer teak decks. In essence when you look at an HC, there is not actually that much teak on the decks, mainly down the side decks and cockpit area. Most boats have teak in the cockpit so in reality not that much wood. Of course there is the side rail and toe rail , bowsprit which need a drop of varnish every now and again. However if you are cruising , hey you got plenty of time to sand and varnish. Down below I would have preferred to have a Pullman set up, I think this is much better than a vee berth and the aft double. Serendipity 2 has had a new engine added, a Yanmar. Having had a Perkins in a previous boat and Yanmar in the Hunter, I was pleased to see the owner had replaced the original engine with a non turbo Yanmar. Thankfully the HF aboard is the latest ICOM 802 with the AT140 tuner, a easy to use piece of kit and with a small reprogram you can set up to use the rotary dial as a frequency tuner. Strange that the factory does not set this up or even mention it in their user guide.