I can visualize it. Very clearly – probably like many of you, dear readers – coming down after a long day sailing, having checkes the anchor lines. Outside the temperature is dropping, dead chilly. A welcoming, warm atmosphere is greeting me as I step down the ladder of the entryway and I take my favourite seat in the salon: The one “Captain´s Chair” that is situated near the fore bulkhead.
I take a seat, let myself sink into the cosy Alcantara cushion, legs up and grab into the small locker. Taking out two glasses and my favourite bottle of Rum, I pour the gulp od the day into the crispy cristal glass, “here´s to the seas, the waves and this wonderful ship!”, I say, cheers. And I savour these final minutes of the day, recalling the sailed distance and the beauty of the anchorage.
I then maybe get up after half an hour or so, whilst the lady of the boat is preparing the linens, sit down in front of the chart table and open the logbook again to check for today´s entries. Maybe I have another detail coming to my mind which I amend, maybe I scroll back some entries to recollect the past sailing days or weeks.
Putting the emptied glass into the large sink of the galley, I go back aft to the cabin: My boat is a center cockpit yacht, the classic boat layout for the large voyage, offering the best compromise between having a large aft owner´s cabin, a safe, high-situated cockpit near the pivot point of the boat: This is my boat, a Hallberg-Rassy 57. And this is the trip of my life.
Laying down into the warm, big island bed, I switch of the light, get a good night´s kiss and look up: There´s a big window in the ceiling right above me, which hadn´t been shut. The black sky with myriads of stars are visible, the sound of small waves chopping gently to the hull. I dream away. Happy…
This way, or maybe slightly different, may be the contents of thousands of dreams by sailors who visited the new Hallberg-Rassy at this year´s BOOT Duesseldorf boat show. She was the undisputed star of the Hallberg-Rassy stand in Hall 16 and bearing a tempting appearance, she couldn´t be missing in my list of visited boats.
Unlimited Sailing built-in
As always with Hallberg-Rassy, I was happy to again meet Magnus Rassy, CEO and son of the founder of the Swedish boat builder, happy to get me around in the new boat and answer my questions. The new Hallberg-Rassy is a true deam yacht for sure and the perfect boat for circumnavigation, for spending lots of times aboard and – above all – to sail easy and safely where normal production boats may be a bit displaced.
Measuring 18.44 metres (including the integrated bow sprit) with a max beam of 5.11 (excluding washboards) the boat displaces 28 tons of which 9.9 tons are ballast. As usual, a deep keel (2.43 metres) under a deep bilge. Unmistakably a Hallberg-Rassy, unmistakable the lines of German Frers. Magnus Rassy says: “The project started summer 2017 and the first boat was launched June 2018. As we already had the successful HR 44 and the 340 in production it was easy to continue a similar concept for the exterior. The design brief for German Frers included comments as: Rough hull measures, an exterior reminding about the HR 64 but twin wheels, easy to handle rig, lots of deck storage, interior sole possibly in one level from bow to stern, three double cabins of which at least two should be really comfortable.“
The more than 30 years lasting collaboration between the yard Hallberg-Rassy and German Frers did produce a nice to look at boat with proper capabilities, Magnus says: “Some points go without saying and no longer need to be stated to Mr. Frers in a design brief: That it should immediately be possible to recognize the boat as a Hallberg-Rassy and at the same time be a contemporary design that will stand the test of time, effortless sailing, a boat that cops with harsh weather conditions, large tanks, large engine, well protected cockpit, good size engine room, generous cabins and storage and so on.“ This Hallberg-Rassy 57 is another example of a “pure” classy Hallberg-Rassy. You cannot see these lines and properties on any other boat out there.
It all began with the HR 44 some three years ago, when the brand started a renewal process and that could clearly be seen at different spots on the products. Like for example the double rudders which had been a direct consequence of a widened stern section, carrying maximum beam aft. Not a revolutionary change for sure, but with Hallberg Rassy, clocks are ticking a bit slower. This brand the products is not and never was a trend-setter or a temporiser. Magnus Rassy says: “The boat shall always be a contemporary, attractive yacht that will stand the test of time. And it should always be easy to recognize a Hallberg-Rassy as a Hallberg-Rassy.“ The Swedish are clearly not following every single fast-living trend but carefully pondering pros and cons of certain ponts.
What really attracts my attentions since the inauguration of the Hallberg-Rassy 44 is the lighting concept of the boats. A Hallberg-Rassy is a traditional yacht design which means that there is a large salon of course but under a classic coach roof. But these are light-suffused and very bright which comes from the various large windows and port holes which are deliberately and well-thought placed to offering a very bright ship under deck. Same applies for ventilation, numerous of the windows and hatches are to be opened to create a nice atmosphere inside.
But before I go down down below I am admiring the nice lines of the boat which are again very tempting. An HR-yacht really looks as if she were able to withstand the cruelty of the seas, like a strong best buddy that will protect you from everything. As Magnus Rassy puts it: “The hull has a much more sophisticated stiffener than ever before. Previously the stiffener was located below the floorboards, now the stiffener extends up the whole way to the toe rail. There are also hefty longship stiffeners between the sole and the top of the hull, giving the possibility to a more open bulkhead configuration, keeping a torsional stiff boat. The lead keel has a low centre of gravity on a proper bilge and the twin rudders give full control also with a wide aft section at heel.” So, for whom is this boat built then?
Easy sailing for the circumnavigating couple
I know from my own job that the whole boating market has changed over the past 10 or 15 years. Changed profoundly: The charter business was taking over the market especially in the former bread-and-butter sizes from 335 to 40 feet – these clients are merely buying a boat, they will charter one. Also, the classic circumnavigating couple that buys a big boat after retirement and spending their sunset years on a boat travelling are – looking at the statistics – going down. So, how is it for the Hallberg-Rassy market? Are any of these developments perceptible? “In a way – yes!”, says Magnus Rassy.
Standing on deck and looking down on the stern section of the Hallberg Rassy 57 where the large owner´s cabin is located, Magnus tells me: “Typical buyers are definitely blue water sailors but we can also see that the average age is getting younger and younger. To buy a boat like this, you need the money, the time, and health. More and more people realize that you should not wait too long, then you might no longer have the health. If you have the money, you can many times also afford the time, if you really want it. That gives us younger and younger buyers. People look at things in a different way today than 20 or 30 years ago; natural light, comfort, ease of handling, attractive design is all getting more and more important.“ It makes me happy to hear that the brand seems to have managed to go with time (and the market) here.
The only odd thing on the Hallberg Rassy 57 though was the double steering. I can clearly see the reason why one would love double steering wheels on a classic leisure cruiser like the Beneteau and also on performance-oriented yachts. On the one hand, when everything is subdued to leisure, you would like to offer your crew and guests an unobstructed passage to the stern and to the bathing platform (also getting rid of the mainsheet and traveller). Okay. Understood. On the other hand, when heeled – especially on the wide sterned modern boats – you´d like to offer a safe steering position for the helmsman with superior view over the boat. Right. But on a center cockpit yacht like the HR 57? The cockpit is – compared to classic leisure cruisers – very, very narrow so that there is barely any distance between the both. Why two of them? Why doubling the mechanical parts, the electronic parts? I don´t see a reason for this.
It was the same impression on the Hallberg Rassy 57 with double steering that I got on the Oyster 575 two years ago where as well the twin wheel-configuration seemed a bit “over the top”. Even the flagship of Hallberg Rassy, the wonderful HR 64 (see my extensive walkthrough with Magnus here) does just offer one central steering wheel – and it is perfect! Anyway, like with the Oyster 575, if that is the biggest “problem” of the boat, I´ll take it …
Comfort and high-end finish
Let´s go down below and take a look at the superior craftsmanship that traditionally identifies a Hallberg-Rassy and sets her apart from the majority of yachts out there. The new 57 makes no exception here and it is a splendid view – as always – to be standing inside a boat essentially made of plastic without even a glance onto a single piece of GRP! Everything is covered by very, very nicely crafted wooden panels or other element. It´s a stunning interior as usual.
“We offer mahogany, teak, or European oak interiors. A clear majority have gone for the bright European oak. For the first time we here use horizontal grain, which stretches an already voluminous boat to feel even wider and more spacious inside.“, says Magnus, seemingly proud of his new boat. And right so – she is a beauty for sure. The layout is pretty classic and the usual way of making an aft-cabin center-cockpit boat: To starboard there is the large navigation station at the stern bulkhead which separates owner´s bathroom from the nav. To port side the large galley, near to the center point of the boat. Further at the owner´s cabin (that´s for later).
Magnus tells me that: “The salon is unusually open and spacious. The L-shaped sofa is as long as 2.70 metres. The bulkheads between salon and galley, salon and work table are lowered and more open, which is possible only thanks to the extra hull stiffeners.“ I am getting my Captain´s Chairs to port side again which are a must have for my future dream yacht and a large dining area around a nicely crafted table to starboard side. Again, the woodwork is astounding and there is so much brightness in here due to the various port holes and windows, enhanced by the brightness of the timber being used here.
A little trick has been played when it comes to the cabins: “The owner’s aft cabin is wide and very generous, as you may have been noticing. But the forward cabin is located more aft than usual thanks to the huge deck storage in front of it. That means that the forward cabin automatically get wider and more generous.“, says Magnus and right he is. The new Hallberg Rassy 57 offers 10 cubic metres of deck storage (which is huge!) and most of it is located in the large stowage behind the anchor chain locker – thus the designers moved the front cabins a bit more aft, creating much bigger cabins for crew and guests.
A last glimpse to where least people take a look: The engine room. I didn´t had the right lens with me to grasp the full beauty of the engine room, but you may believe Magnus´ words: “The main engine is a generous Volvo Penta D4-180 with 180 horse power. That allows seven knots at just 16.000 revolutions and just 7 liter fuel consumption per hour. So only one liter per nautical mile. That is a range of over 1.000 nautical miles at 7 knots in clam waters! The generator has huge capacity. 17.5 kilo Watts and almost all buyers go for a huge Lithium Ion battery bank and huge 400 A 24 V charging. Because there is almost no resistance you can charge the batteries with the generator from empty to almost completely full in just two and a half hours. That is comfort!“ I follow his statement and can only leave this great boat shaken by inspiration: If you are seeking a traditional, stiff and sturdy blue water yacht that can bring you every where you want to go by offering state-of-the art comfort and technology, the Hallberg Rassy 57 will certainly fulfil all of a sailor´s dreams and the dreams of a sailor´s wife as well.
Thank you, Magnus, for spending your precious time with me, showing me around again.
You love Hallberg-Rassy and Swedish yacht building? Here´s more:
Scandinavian yacht design: What makes it special?
Meeting Magnus Rassy on the all-new Hallberg-Rassy 64 flagship
Smaller, but also for the big trip: HR 412 and 43