These Aquastar 38s epitomize the essence of a ‘proper’ boat. Built in St. Sampsons on the Channel Island of Guernsey by Geoff Willson and his team of craftsmen at Aqua-Star, the Aquastar hull is robustly constructed — a fortunate outcome of their background in commercial shipbuilding, which involved molding and fitting out local inter-island ambulances, fishing boats, and working vessels. Having driven these boats hard upwind out of Chichester Marina and navigated them over a treacherous bar amid rolling waves and winds likely exceeding the comfort zone of a health and safety inspector, they indeed instill a profound sense of confidence.
We have known GALLANT LADY since her birth, and her delightful and experienced owners have kept her at Berthon Lymington Marina when they have not been off exploring in her. She has been religiously maintained throughout her life. These boats are proper defenders of the sea, whether lying at anchor in Brittany, nestled in the tree-lined stretches of the Upper Yealm, or stretching their legs off to the Baltic – these ladies travel very well.
GALLANT LADY is rather special. Not only does she have a customized forward cabin with a properly offset double berth to port (what a great layout!), but she was re-engined in 2018 by the local Yanmar agent. She is now powered by a pair of Yanmar 315s with low hours. To say that her owners are fastidious is an understatement; her hull has been professionally re-sprayed in Awlcraft, her electronics have been upgraded, and she is built to a specification not shared by most of her sisterhood.
The forward cabin, with its double berth, gains some extra stowage volume and shares a forward heads/shower with the converting dinette area. The galley forms a neat horseshoe to starboard, and a stair leads up to the main saloon and wheelhouse. The skipper is positioned to starboard, with a super-handy access deck door, and the navigator has a full table for charting, complete with a clever folding seat for comfort during passages. Main seating is to port, featuring a very comfortable (and fully removable) sofa, complemented by a massive stowage sideboard running down the cabin side to starboard. The entire area can be made snug at night or opened up during the day, offering a near all-round view through her large windows and triple forward screens (worth noting that they have upgraded stainless steel frames).
When looking aft, a separate aft cabin with an en-suite is set down to starboard, with a central stair leading up to the aft cockpit and external helm. The side decks are very safe, measuring a minimum of 33cm in width, with a generous 7.5cm toerail molding. On GALLANT LADY, the aft cockpit, aft deck, side steps, and bathing platform are decked in easily-maintained simulated teak, eliminating the maintenance aspect of a teaked deck. Meanwhile, the fore and side decks are painted in grey non-slip.
Fitting all these features into a 42’ hull is a tough challenge, but doing it so seamlessly within an 11.8m length, with very little compromise, has made these vessels highly sought after and successful cruising solutions for many yachters.
The Aquastar 38/118 Aft Cabin has been in continuous production for many years and remains one of our most desirable motor yachts. A combination of solid construction with comfortable accommodation for two couples and a beautiful fit-out in a thoroughly seaworthy hull make the Aquastar 38/118 Aft Cabin truly legendary.
Part of Motor Boats Monthly used boat test report and was reviewed by the panel and surveyor extremely well. Their final verdict being “If you want a proper-looking seaboat that will take you anywhere in safety and style, then the Aquastar wins out.”
Motor Boats Monthly – December 1999:
“Aqua-Star’s new 118 certainly benefits from some improvements on the earlier (38) model, successful though this has been. The modifications to the transom add to, rather than detract from, what has always been a pleasing-looking craft, the level of fit-out has been taken up a step, for a softer ambience, and underneath it all there is still plenty of solid engineering. Available horsepower pushes the boat well past the normal criteria for semi-displacement performance, but the hull does not appear to mind this. And when you drop back to the more usual 18 knots, you have all the passage-making benefits that this type of vessel affords.”