Hallberg-Rassy knows the value of a tried-and-true design, including that of their 40 Mk II, a center cockpit sailboat originally launched in Europe 15 years ago. Maybe that’s why this Swedish builder of classic high quality cruisers rarely retires a model, choosing instead to tweak and improve each design to reflect evolving tastes. Their latest overhaul was done on that very 40 Mk II, and in doing so they have introduced dozens of smart improvements that make the 40-footer relevant to today’s sailors.

Unlike the lines of a less traditional production boat, there are no hard chines, the bow is not plumb and the transom doesn’t open up to form a swim platform large enough to fit a small car. In fact, the reverse transom angles gracefully up to the deck with a couple of integrated steps to ease access to and from the water.

Unlike the lines of a less traditional production boat, there are no hard chines, the bow is not plumb, and the transom doesn’t open up to form a swim platform large enough to fit a small car. In fact, the reverse transom angles gracefully up to the deck with a couple of integrated steps to ease access to and from the water.


Design and Philosophy


Hallberg-Rassy uses a traditional build process in which all furniture and equipment is installed after the deck has been attached to the hull. That’s different from most production boats where, the hull is loaded up and then the deck goes on like a lid. This ensures that in the future, when it’s time to repair and replace something, you can extract all necessary components from the hull in a way that is less destructive and less expensive overall.

The hull laminate is a Divinycell foam core sandwich to the waterline with solid glass below. Teak decks are glued on (rather than screwed in) to eliminate water intrusion into the deck as the boat ages, and the hull-to-deck joint is laminated for strength and watertight integrity without the need for mechanical fasteners. Loads from the mast are distributed along an integral grid that also reinforces the hull below the waterline. The bolt-on lead keel draws 6’ 7” and is the only draft offered, so cruising the shallow waters of the Caribbean may be a challenge—you may even have to anchor farther out from your favorite beach bar.

Rig and Sailplan


The keel-stepped, triple-spreader rig with rigid vang is by Selden. The new masts are 10 inches taller, but with an overall clearance just under 61 feet, the Mk II is still ICW-friendly. The boom was raised four inches to provide better headroom at the helm and this also allowed the addition of a grate in the cockpit sole for better footing.

The sail plan is offered in several configurations: a traditional mainsail or an in-mast furling main with vertical battens may be combined with a 140% genoa or a 100% jib, either set on a Furlex furler. A removable cutter stay tucks back to the mast when not in use. Downwind sails are now set from the masthead, which puts the center of effort higher, where the breeze will be stronger so the design will sail faster in light air.

There are two winches at the mast for halyards and reefing lines while four more in the cockpit manage the lines and sheets. The center cockpit is compact, so everything is within reach, but that can make it feel a bit cramped with four or more people.

Key electronics are within sight of the helmsman, and buyers may choose Raymarine or Furuno brands. A significant update and a nod to modern market demands is joystick steering that ties together the engine and optional bow and stern thrusters to reduce the anxiety of docking and maneuvering.

Life Below


This builder has been in business for over 70 years, building both smaller boats like the Hallberg-Rassy 31 and larger sailing yachts such as the Hallberg-Rassy 55. This admirable longevity can be attributed to quality, specifically in the fit and finish, which is especially evident in the interior of all of these models. Solid wood surfaces, dovetailed joinery and attention to finely finished teak cabinetry reflect old world craftsmanship that stands above typical production boat fare. In the revamp, this commitment to quality remains—what has changed are numerous practical and comfort-oriented details that make the inside work better for today’s boaters.

The saloon is noticeably lighter with two added hull portlights so you can see out even when seated. Two large frameless deck portlights were added behind the galley and nav desk. They open onto the cockpit, making communication easier with the outside.

The saloon is noticeably lighter with two added hull portlights so you can see out even when seated. Large, frameless deck portlights were added behind the galley and nav desk. They open onto the cockpit, making communication easier with the outside.



An L-shaped dinette sits to starboard and there is choice of a straight settee or two built-in chairs to port. A nod to contemporary amenities is the optional pop-up flatscreen TV that may be installed on either side. The galley is to port with twin sinks, a top-loading refrigerator, and a stove/oven combination. An optional freezer can be installed to starboard behind the forward-facing nav station. Depending on how you have the boat outfitted and optioned, prices can range from approximately $430,000 to over a half-million dollars.

The interior layout is standard for a center cockpit design: A guest cabin is in the bow and master suite is aft. The master now offers a choice of three bed arrangements including the popular center island, an extra long and wide Pullman berth to port and the Pullman plus a single berth to starboard. A single head is forward between the saloon and the V-berth, which is quite a distance from the owner’s cabin, reducing privacy when guests are aboard.

Much is packed into the interior including an impressive number of stowage spaces behind, under, and inside the furniture. It can feel a bit tight below compared to cavernous production boat interiors but again, the quality speaks for itself, which is why Hallberg-Rassy models not only command a premium, but also hold their value over time.

Performance


Our test boat was hull number four of the newly revised design (some160 of the original version were launched previously). As sometimes happens, the wind didn’t show up on test day so we had only four to five knots across the deck–not really optimal conditions for any offshore cruising vessel. At 60 degrees apparent wind angle in 3.2 knots of wind, our Elvstorm sails generated a boat speed of 2.8 knots, which I admit was surprising in a positive sense—only the lightest and smallest boats typically move well in such light air. On a beam reach with the Code 0, we nosed up to 3.4 knots of boat speed in 4.2 knots of wind.

Our sea trial didn’t include the drama you might hope for on a solid cruiser of this caliber, but the owner did share his tale of surfing at 14 knots in Sweden, in winds around the mid-twenties.

Our sea trial didn’t include the drama you might hope for on a solid cruiser of this caliber, but the owner did share his tale of surfing at 14 knots in Sweden, in winds around the mid-20s.



Auxiliary power is supplied by a Volvo-Penta D2 55 HP diesel that has no problem pushing the 22,000-pound displacement. With 122 gallons of fuel, this is a go-far vessel with a cruising range under power of around 800 nautical miles.

A straight shaft or Sterndrive are available and Flexifold or Gori folding propellers are options. A smart feature is the ability to test the quality of the fuel at the bottom of the large diesel tank. A hand pump in the engine room brings up a sample so if you procure bad fuel or have moisture in the tank, you’ll know before it wreaks havoc with the engine.

Over the first seven decades, Hallberg-Rassy launched more than 9,000 hulls and they continue to do it their way–with uncompromised quality. Their dedication to safety and traditional values keeps them relevant in the offshore cruising segment, while their acknowledgement of changing needs draws in new buyers. It’s a winning recipe that may take this builder into the future for another 70 years.

Other Choices: For a look at several successful center-cockpit cruisers from over the years, read the author’s survey piece: Six Sweet Sailboats: Center Cockpit Cruisers for the USA.

For more information, visit Hallberg-Rassy.

See Hallberg-Rassy listings.
Specifications
Length40'8"
Beam12'6"
Draft6'7"
Sail area877 sq. ft. w/ working jib
Displacement22,000 lbs
Fuel capacity122 gal.
Water capacity122 gal.

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