The exterior profile of the Baltic 38DP makes one thing clear: This boat was built for the rugged waters from whence it came. Founded in 1973 in Bosund, Finland, Baltic Yachts began with a mission to build a new breed of robust yet handsome sailing vessel that would appeal to both racers and cruisers.
Introduced in 1982, this sailboat was arguably the most successful production model in the company’s history. Based on a design by renowned American naval architect Doug Peterson, the Baltic 38DP has a length overall of 38 feet, a waterline length of 31 feet 6 inches, a draft of 7 feet 3 inches, and a displacement of 14,300 pounds, making it heavy, safe and inviting for offshore sailing.
The boat was designed to meet many of the requirements dictated by the International Offshore Rule (IOR) measurements of waterline length and interior dimensions for racing purposes in Europe and the United States, while also incorporating cruising features and accommodations. With its hybrid design, Baltic and Peterson attained these goals. Between 1982 and 1989, when production ceased, 55 Baltic 38DPs were delivered. Most are still sailing today and rarely show up for sale.
With its masthead rig, large genoa and racy sail-area-to-displacement ratio of 19.9, it performs upwind and downwind with equal aplomb. It’s not the fastest design, but with its deep draft and sturdy fiberglass construction, the 38DP appeals to experienced, passagemaking sailors. If you relish the taste and scent of saltwater, this boat will make you smile. So will the narrow cockpit that can drain water quickly to retain control and stability in lousy conditions.
Its raked stem mirrors the angle of the transom, and the shallow trunk with two sets of ports telegraphs raciness. The cabin layout, however, is pleasant for weekends aboard. The centerline ladder takes passengers down to the sole, a full 6 feet below the deck. The Scandinavian teak interior is simply flawless. The galley is to port, opposite an enclosed head and chart table to starboard. Forward is the salon and dinette. A V-berth occupies the narrow bow area. The master stateroom is aft. A 30-hp Yanmar diesel provides auxiliary power. Decks were teak or finished fiberglass.
Since the launch of its first boat, a 46-footer at the 1974 Hamburg Boat Show, Baltic has delivered more than 550 yachts and continues to innovate. It recently splashed the 142-foot Canova, which features a Dynamic Stability System—a large retractable foil that moderates heeling while adding lift. The boat also uses a diesel-electric propulsion and hydro-generating system to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
This article was originally published in the November 2021 issue.