The Ohlson 38 Sailboat

The Ohlson 38, an aft-cockpit masthead sloop, was designed by Einar Ohlson and built in the UK by the Tyler Boat Company Ltd.

The Ohlson 38 'Azzurro' at anchor off St Anne, Martinique in the French West Indies'Azzurro', an Ohlson 38 at anchor

Published Specification for the Ohlson 38

Underwater Profile: Encapsulated fin keel with skeg-hung rudder.

Hull Material: GRP (Fiberglass)

Length Overall: 37'1" (11.3m)

Waterline Length: 27'6" (8.4m)

Beam: 10'1" (3.1m)

Draft: 5'7" (1.7m)

Rig Type: Masthead sloop

Displacement: 14,900lb (6,759kg)

Designer: Einar Ohlson

Builder: Tyler Boat Co. Ltd. (UK)

Year First Built: 1969

Year Last Built: 1980

Number Built: 129


Published Design Ratios for the Ohlson 38

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 15.5

  • Less than 16 would be considered under-powered;
  • 16 to 20 would indicate reasonably good performance;
  • Over 20 suggests relatively high performance.

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 40.3

  • Under 40: less stiff, less powerful
  • Over 40: stiffer, more powerful

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 317

  • Under 100: Ultralight
  • 100 to 200: Light
  • 200 to 275: Moderate
  • 275 to 350: Heavy
  • Over 350: Ultraheavy

4. Comfort Ratio: 35.0

  • Under 20 indicates a lightweight racing boat
  • 20 to 30 indicates a coastal cruiser
  • 30 to 40 indicates a moderate offshore cruising boat
  • 40 to 50 indicates a heavy offshore boat
  • Over 50 indicates an extremely heavy offshore boat

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.6

  • Under 2.0 (the lower the better): Better suited for ocean passages
  • Over 2.0: Less suited for ocean passages

read more about these all-revealing numbers...


Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Ohlson 38

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 15.5 suggests that the Ohlson 38 will need a stiff breeze to get her going. In light conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing may be the way to go.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 40.3 means that the Ohlson 38 will stand up well to her canvas in a blow, helping her to power through the waves.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 317, tells us the Ohlson 38 is clearly a heavy displacement cruising boat. You can load her down with all your cruising gear and equipment and it will hardly affect her waterline. Not an ideal choice for coastal sailing, but she'll come into her own on an offshore passage in testing conditions.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 35.0 suggests that crew comfort of an Ohlson 38 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a moderate bluewater cruising boat - a predictable and acceptable motion for most seasoned sailors.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.6 tells us that an Ohlson 38 would be a considerately safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0.


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