Let´s continue the Boot Duesseldorf yachts walkthrough series with a boat that was standing out of the crowd by its own. I saw her every day when I was working on the Beneteau stand. The same way I love the view onto my beloved Oyster from the stand, I always smiled a bit looking down onto the Eagle 38. She is so different, so much like being fallen out of time. A classic, as it seems.

Just a classy, beautiful line

Made by the Dutch brand Leonardo Yachts. The history of this brand is quite interesting, as it is so often the case in our business, it´s a chapter in a long zig-zag of a foundation in the past (in case of Leonardo that dates back to the 1950ies), a start-up phase and some ups and downs. Leonardo Yachts is a family owned business, the shipyard is situated in the Dutch town of Sneek, near the North Sea and the large inshore waters of the Ijsselmeer and Markemeer.

A new trend?

The boat is a wonderfully designed daysailer. She has everything a “modern” yacht avoids: A sleek, narrow hull, large overhangs, a large single steering wheel, no bathing platform and modern amenities. As the company states, they want to make classic daysailing yachts made for real sailing enthusiasts who fancy the “good old times.” I can´t help but remember the closing scene of a Danial Craig “James Bond”-movie as he is on his boat sailing away: Not a carbon racer but boat sporting exactly those classy lines.

Look at those overhangs!

This is certainly not a new trend. Buyers of those boats are rare, special people. This market is a niche, but I´d say something that more and more advances into a spotlight. “Detox” is a big buzzword nowadays. The ongoing “applification” of boats, becoming digitally trackable like modern cars, almost automatically creates an opposing clientele that all the more demands products which are disconnected. The Eagle 38 is a fine example for this trend.

Old fashioned sailing

Of course, the Eagle 38 is not a “simple” boat. A closer look at her materials, the finishing quality and details quickly reveals that this is high quality product for sure and certainly not a bargain. Simplicity does not necessarily have to mean “cheap”, because on this yacht, nothing is cheap. The Eagle 38 exudes a fine odor of distinguished excellency, uniqueness and some “upper-class” connotations of the good old times I mentioned at the beginning of this article. Envisioning yourself sailing this boat, you will pretty certainly not be wearing the usual sailing clothing or oilskin

A fine blend

The Eagle 38 is a fine blend of overstating and exaggerated style, high standard and some nostalgic upper-class feeling with very modern details. I walk around the boat on the display, the fittings for example are upper shelf products of the finest brands. The under deck furler by Seldén is a head turner, most likely, a flat-deck furled headsail will look awesome when hoisted, imagining an ordinary furling headsail almost feels heretic …

High tech equipment

Sheet tracks are massive stainless steel, glossy polished. Clamps, fittings, eyes and all stuff down to the simple screw are of the finest quality. There is almost no plastic to be seen: If so, then certainly because there are no metal or chrome-plated alternatives available, like the navigational display in the cockpit for example.

No plastic

„Simple“ does not mean cheap – a motto that is sustained when entering the cockpit. The polished or chrome-plated custom made control panel for the winches reveals that manual work on the Eagle 38 is not necessary. The skipper can leisurely sit at his wheel and trim his boat by pushing buttons. Both main sheet and the Jib are controlled electronically, which makes this yacht a true single-handed capable sailboat.

Push button sailing

I really loved the engine lever – what a nice detail! The Eagle 38 is equipped with a standard Volvo Penta D1-30 Diesel engine, the one I went for in my own new boat as well or with an electric drive, SD8 by Oceanvolt. As this boat has a CE class C certification (for inshore waters), both options are perfect. Sailing on or near the North Sea, Baltic Sea or other oceans, the Diesel is the best choice. But I guess most Eagle 38 boats are sailing the various lakes – electric propulsion is a nice thing here.

Sailing and Beauty as the center points

It´s a fact that Leonardo Yachts first and foremost wants to build beautiful boats. It´s in their claim: “No compromise when it comes to beauty.”, says it on the website. Besides this, the activity of sailing their boats is the center point of the product. Their boats ought to be quick, responsive, fun and easy to sail. Real sailing, as they claim. I can see it in the very boat: No frills, no bells and whistles, no stuff that abstracts from the very act of sailing.

Please take your seat

This of course is to be done in style. This „retro design“ will certainly finds its fans. Just as Saffier, Leonardo blows into the same horn. Attracting a certain target group of sailors who by all means want to deliberately make a statement. Bringing back some classical beauty into sailing is a nice thing – looking at the pictures of Eagle boats under sail is re-assuring that the sailing-centered philosophy is not just a marketing trick but “built-in”.

Clean and clear

This boat is certainly fun to sail. Her winch layout is classic with two halyard and working winches next to the companionway downstairs and two Genoa sheet and lightwind-sail winches on the coamings. Of course, the winches can be operated manually. All lines of the running rigging are diverted back to the cockpit. Speaking of which …

Let´s check her interiors

… is very classy. I am instantly reminded of the golden mystery crime movies of the Seventies and Eighties, Miss Marple or “Murder on the Orient Express” – the whole boat is kind of “English” in its appearance. The cockpit is very deep, sitting in here, sailing heeled must be a very special experience. Apparently, this boat is made for fun and leisure sailing, certainly not meant for heavy weather and “adventure” sailing even though I trust she would stand her ground in rough conditions.

5 stars Daysailing

Down below, awwwwww, what a sight! “Murder on the Orient Express”-athmosphere at an instant. A reduced, stylish but very “Pullman”-wagon like setting. The woodwork is excellent, nice glossy lacquered Mahogany interiors, white quilted cushions. This yacht is not only a head-turner for her exterior, she offers a highly distinguished yacht-club atmosphere down below too.

Neat and attractive

Of course her internal volume is far, far from what you may be acquitted of in an ordinary modern cruising yacht. The Eagle 38 has a length overall of 11.77 meters and a maximum width of 2.60 meters, displacing just 4.700 kilograms. For comparison, the current Hanse 388 has a similar length but a beam of 3.90 meters, displacing 8.3 tons. That means, for an 38-footer the Eagle of course can only offer a fraction of internal volume.

Big V-berth in the front

Standing height is a problem, any movement under deck must be made by either crouching or – much better over 40 – by moving around “sitting”. Other than that, this boat is surprisingly cozy. Given the fact that such a yacht is a daysailor, sleepovers are seldom. And even if a night is to be spent aboard, it will mostly be the owner and a partner I guess. Both will have a nice V-berth in the fore cabin, but also a pilot berth to starboard.

Pilot berth, galley and head combined

The pilot berth is partially in front of a small galley. This galley has a sink and a fridge. Mobile cooktops can be used or – I am sure – the yard will fit a built-in solution for owners who wish for it. As for the pilot berth, it is recessed deep into the underside of the coamings. For me personally this would be very awkward to slip into this “dark tunnel”, but maybe kids love it. Otherwise, it’s certainly a great place to stow away stuff.

A little galley

The solution for the WC is also very elegant from a design standpoint as it is “hidden” underneath the pillow or the pilot berth next to the galley. Folding away the cushions, you can sit down and relax. Anyways, facing full front nude into the salon, this is maybe just a solution for single handed sailing or a couple that is very, very much in love …

Is this a boat for you?

So, for which clientele is an Eagle 38 the best boat? Obviously, the target group for a boat like this is not a wide audience. Which is fine because the niche products are mostly the more interesting ones aiming at special people. I´d say that the Eagle 38 is at home on large lakes in light to moderate winds. Easy going, lush sailing on a sunny afternoon, maybe Queen´s “A Day at the Races” at low volume … just perfect!

Daysailing in style!

Leonardo Yachts makes boats starting at this “small” 38-feet size up until 70 feet. There is – to my knowledge – only one more brand on the market offering yachts like these, wonderful wooden boats by British manufacturer Spirit Yachts. A reminder of the good old times, torch-bearers of a time long gone, keeping alive a spirit and style, maybe a whole approach to sailing that otherwise is long gone. What a lovely boat and what a great story of a shipyard and brand, with its people behind it, who dedicate their work and time to giving us these beautiful yachts.


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