Thursday, November 1, 2018


Hallberg Rassy’s big design revolution, that started 8 years ago with the 372, has finally reached their bigger yachts. From a brand that built conservative and relatively slow yachts they turned into a brand that produces well built, relatively fast, contemporary cruising boats and they have managed to do so without losing their conservative clientele and adding a new clientele that prefers contemporary fast cruisers.

The only point that remains conservative are the interiors but who can blame them? They are beautifully finished, cozy and tend to age better than new trendy more modern interiors.

The new 57 is their first new big yacht that is truly contemporary in what regards hull design. The 64 from 2011 pointed already on that direction but the hull is much more conservative as well as the keel and rudder. The 57 has dual rudders that have many advantages in a cruising boat.

The 57 and the 64 have completely different hulls, with just a small difference in beam (5.11 to 5.17m) the 57, maintaining narrow entries, is a much more beamier boat and contrary to the 64 has all the beam pulled back to the transom.

The draft is not very different (2.43 to 2.50m) the B/D is the same (35%) but the 57 keel is less wide and probably with more ballast on the bulb. In what regards stability the 57 is a stiffer boat due to a much bigger hull form stability and that gives it proportionally a much bigger stability at small heel angles and a proportionally bigger stability on heel angles used for sailing. It also allows it to roll less downwind and make the work of the autopilot easier.

That difference in stability (versus weight) allows the 57 to be a faster boat on almost all points of sail (with the probable exception of close upwind with medium and strong winds). The difference in proportional stability between the two boats is translated in the difference on the standard SA/D, that is considerably bigger on the 57 (18.1 to 16.1).

With a performance mainsail the 57 has a SA/D of 20. This is a very respectable number and that with a D/WL of 165.6 will put it on the lower step of performance cruisers while the 64 with a D/WL of 186.7 and a SA/D of 16.1, far from being a slow boat (due to its narrower hull) is a completely different sailboat, a medium weight cruiser.
The HR57 interior is well designed, having a big sail locker at the bow and a huge galley very well suited for cooking while sailing, even upwind on any of the tacks.

On the interior the only thing I don’t like is the relatively small transom locker that has no space to store an inflated dinghy. There is no justification for a 57ft cruiser not having a garage for a dinghy. Much smaller boats, 50/52ft boats, have already a dinghy garage.

If they had chosen not to offer a dinghy garage, then the 57 should come standard with davits. On a luxury boat that is suited to be sailed by a small crew, even a couple, it does not make any sense to have the need to pull a heavy dinghy to the deck.

Another thing I don’t like is the absence of a traveler for the mainsail. Yes, it makes sailing simpler, but the fact is that a traveler is useful in many situations, to someone who knows how to sail and HR has them on their smaller models, including the 44, so why not use it on the 57 (and 64)?

As a final point I would like to refer a very positive one: Hallberg Rassy, contrary to what Amel has done on its newer models, has resisted the temptation to diminish the B/D of their boats even if on a boat with the 57 type of hull (not very different from the Amel ones) the ballast can be diminished without affecting greatly the sail performance, with exception of upwind with stronger winds and specially with bad weather.

Yes, most will not be able to tell the difference unless the boat is sailed exhaustively, not even test sailors from magazines, since it is very unlikely that they will face bad weather on the test day, as it is even more unlikely that the boat will face survival conditions where that superior B/D (on similar keels and drafts) will make the difference making one boat considerably safer than the other due to a better reserve stability and superior AVS.
Many will be asking themselves why, if that is so. Why most boats with similar hulls and keels as the 57 have a B/D of 26 or 27% , like the Amel 55, as well as almost all main market inexpensive cruisers? The answer is easy: price. It is not so much the price of the extra material to make a heavier keel it is the cost of making a stronger boat structure and hull to be able to cope with the bigger forces that a heavier keel will imply.

And contrary to the money spent on the interior nobody will notice the improvements that money spent on making the boat safer brought. Not the test sailors when they sail the boat, not the ones that are looking for a sailboat on that market segment.

Sail magazine stopped publishing stability curves of the boats they are testing and even before that the few that published them never commented them, I don’t know if by ignorance or as magazine policy, so, be aware that no matter what test sailors say there is always a chapter that will remain hidden and that is not tested nor verified, the one that regards safety on extreme conditions and final stability.

Sure, if the boat is bigger than 32 ft the chances are that they are all Class A certified, but do you really think they are all the same in what regards safety stability?


  1. I have yet to see the 57 in real life, but I’m sure it is an impressing yacht! The idea of not using a traveler is that the vang is very beefed up on the 57 so they use it instead. You do give up on the ability to pull the main to windward, but I doubt many cruiser will do this anyway. However, if you wish to have a traveler HR will fit one for you.

    I guess maybe you have already seen it, if not then here is the link to the stability curve:


  2. Hi Thomas,

    Yes I saw the stability curve. I asked the boat designers if the AVS on that boat, on the charged condition, is really higher than on lightship condition. They had said that was the case, even if I think that for that to happen the charge has to be very well, distributed on the lower part of the boat. Anyway that means that the tanks are very low on the boat and contribute to the boat stability, even at high angles of heel.