8 May 2012

Best Sailboats - ep. 1

Today I'll  start a series of articles about  world best sailboats, and sailboat makers (my personal top) . All informations and pictures are compiled from trusted yachting sites and books.

1. Hallberg Rassy

   On the northeast cost of Sweden , in the little town of Ellos, is the most beautiful setting for a boatyard in the world. Bold rocks guard the entrance of the small round bay, and behind the houses that line the shore, great hills rise. Hidden into a corner of the bay below a cliff is the Hallberg Rassy yard.Here lie some of the europe's most respected boats, the confortable/ spacious Hallberg Rassy cruisers.

Mr. Cristoph Rassy
Mr. Harry Hallberg
   One day about 30 years ago, a young man named Cristoph Rassy, pushed his old black bicycle off  German soil, onto the ferry bound for Sweden. He took a job on the island of Ellos on the western coast and build other people's boats until the mid.sixties, then  he got his own place and kept building good boats.
   Meanwhile a Mr. Hallberg, who had been building pretty folkboats out of wood since the war, was making himself a good reputation on both sides of the Antlantic with a pretty little boat called P28.
   The Hallberg and Rassy yards  merged in '72. Mr. Hallberg  retired soon after and Cristoph Rassy now stood by himself. Within a dozen years the size of the yard doubled untill now, at 250 boats a year, it is the largest sailboat in Sweden.

     The first new design under the name of Hallberg-Rassy was the Monsun 31, which was created in 1973. The boat proved a great success, and 900 were built up to 1983.

Hallberg rassy 41
     The next design was the Hallberg-Rassy 41. This quickly became a trendsetter. This was the first boat with a proper walk through to the aft-cabin below deck. The basic principle for the layout, though greatly improved, is used to this day. One can question if this is due to routine or if this represents the optimal interior design of a centre-cockpit boat. On further study it becomes rather evident that this is indeed an optimal design.

   The Hallberg-Rassy 41 had free passage from stem to stern below deck in one level. The galley was placed at starboard by the stairs, out of the ways from any passer-by, providing safety at sea and providing full headroom in the whole galley. The chart table on the opposite side was generous and with a real seat in the boats heading direction. 
Further the HR 41 was a long distance vessel with the keel and rudder separated, and among other things a blue brim around the cockpit, which was slightly elevated, to give room for the passage below deck.
To meet the demand the area of the yard was doubled in 1975.
The size of the boat and the outfitting was spectacular for its time: Pressured water, heated water, shower, electric anchor winch, headsail furling system, two separate heads, a powerful engine, solid and elegant wooden interior and gracious lines.
All this is basic, though very much improved, to this day. 105 units of the Hallberg-Rassy 41 were built during a short but intense period from 1976 to1979, a few were also built until 1981

Hallberg-Rassy 38, designed in 1976/77, was also a trendsetter with the same interior concept, though a higher freeboard, and was the first boat with the characteristic blue stripe around the hull.

Hallberg Rassy 38

The Hallberg-Rassy 352 from 1977/78 was a substantial sales success, with more than 800 built until 1989. This was the first time a designer had managed to combine, in a 35 foot boat, a walk through to the aft-cabin with spectacularly elegant lines.
HR 352 offered large- boat characteristics at a moderate price.

Hallberg Rassy 352

     In 1983, 16-year old Magnus Rassy built an experimental boat named "Rassker". The hull was built in high tech aramid fibre and Divinycell. This was the first boat built at Hallberg-Rassy to feature an external lead keel and a stern with a bathing platform. The hull length was 26 ft and the boat won many races.
In 1985 two armchairs were built in to the saloon of a HR 49.
This was something no one had seen on a yacht before. Now you can find similar solutions on boats built by yards all over the world, but no armchairs are as comfortable as the original ones by Hallberg-Rassy. In 1987, another boat designed by Magnus was built, the 35 feet "Rassker Magnum".

Also this boat was racing very successfully. These two boats were nothing for Hallberg-Rassy to put on the market, but a good preparation for future developments.

    In 1988 Hallberg-Rassy began a successful co-operation with Germán Frers (pronounced Herman Frers) from Argentina. Frers is as well known for his Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup designs, as he is for drawing cruising yachts with elegant lines. This co-operation has resulted in a new generation of sail-boats, which combine the Hallberg-Rassy renowned good qualities like sturdiness, seaworthiness, comfort, safety, and fine wood-work; with unsurpassed sailing characteristics.
German Frers
     Several victories in the ARC over the Atlantic shows that a modern cruiser does not have to be lacking in performance. Germán Frers has so far made 19 designs for Hallberg-Rassy, in chronological order the Hallberg-Rassy 45, HR 36, HR 34, HR 42F, HR 39, HR 31, HR 53, HR 46, HR 62, HR 43, HR 40, HR 37, HR 48, HR 342, HR 54, HR 372, HR 310, HR 64 and now the new Hallberg-Rassy 412.
So far Hallberg-Rassy has delivered 8,900 yachts, whereof Frers designed 2,900.

Today H.R. models are split between to big categories: the famous Center Cockpit Boats and the Aft Cockpit Boats.

Links to Current Models : 

 Aft Cockpit Boats.                                             Center Cockpit Boats
  - 310                                                                       -37
  - 342                                                                       -40
  - 372                                                                       -43 MkII
  - 412                                                                        -48

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