- The Best Source for Boat Buying Information

Hatteras 38 Convertible

See also Hatteras 38 Convertible:
Updated Review

Near as we can tell, this is basically a stretched out version of the 36C but she's got an extra 11" of beam over the 36 and she's noticeably bigger. This one had a pair of 6V92TA's rated at 465 HP, giving her enough speed to beat your brains out in a two-foot chop. The cat walks are even narrower than the 36C so that the salon interior gets about another 6" or so over the increased 11" beam from the 36C so that it comes with an L-shaped sofa that allows for more interior seating, and more convenient two. Since there is no cabin windshield, the entertainment center and galley microwave are built into this useless sloping space so that you get even more useable room. But if you like a bright, airy salon, this aint it. With tinted windows, this boat was downright gloomy inside.


At 28,800 lbs. this is a noticeably lighter boat. All of the cockpit, bridge and tackle center moldings are much thinner fiberglass and you can feel it. This boat doesn't feel like the heavy mammas that you're used to with Hatteras, and you'll notice this when walking on the decks. They just don't feel as solid. On the other hand it goes like hell, but this one's not going to hold up as well. Already we had some hardware pulling loose in the cockpit and up on the bridge where there were some molded plastics waiting to discombobulate in the tropical sun. And there was no rain gutter so that water was cascading off the bridge like Victoria falls into the cockpit.

The lower edges of the cockpit coaming weren't smoothed off and I tore my finger open on the sharp edge. This is a defect that Hatteras hasn't corrected for more than 20 years. Grab on to the edge of it and you're likely to run a screw through your finger. And its still got the crappy looking aluminum molding along the lower edge. They should have just rounded over the edge and saved the trouble of installing the worthless molding.

Otherwise, everything else seemed the usual good Hatteras quality. The wrap-around bridge console is neat but there's no place to put any electronic gizmos. They figured you're gonna put at least a half tower with electronics cabinet on it. And the cockpit? Well, its decidedly small; no tournament chair is going to fit here. This one's definitely got the ladies in mind. What I'm having a hard time figuring is the half-sized L-shaped galley which takes up only half of one side, leaving plenty of space for a chair, but the galley too small. Well, you could add some on to it if you wanted. This one's not big enough for a cocktail party anyway.


Finally, beware that Hatteras attempted using a foam core in this model sometime in the mid-1980's. Unfortunately, We don't recall what year but it was only one. Our understanding is that there were 8 of them and all of them had problems and were recalled. It's not like Hatteras to leave their mistakes floating around, but we don't know for sure so if you're looking at this model, you may want to check further to be sure.

Altogether, this is a pretty nifty boat that's well-proportioned, good-looking  with nice clean lines, and a good performer to boot. Another great feature is that there is very little fluff and glitter on the exterior of this one, which makes for very low maintenance. No stick-on decals, taped on stripes, molded plastic junk and the like to weather and start looking like a dime store special. We'd put this one on the priority list of all boats to consider in its class.

Original 1990 base price: $364,900
W/usual options:                $400,000

See also Hatteras 38 Convertible: Updated Review

Posted 01/13/98

David Pascoe Power Boat Books

Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats (2E)

David Pascoe Power Boat Books Visit for his power boat books

David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from nearly 80 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.

Biography - Long version


To Page Top