Hallberg-Rassy continues its line of German Frers-designed cruising yachts with the new Hallberg-Rassy 53. What makes the Hallberg-Rassy line important is that the boats represent solid solutions for offshore cruisers looking for the best combination of speed and comfort. Combine this philosophy with the skills and eye of German Frers, and you will certainly have handsome boats.

The Hallberg-Rassy 53.

The Hallberg-Rassy 53.

Let's take an in-depth look at this hull to the extent we can without hull lines. The boat shows some bustle development aft, faired into a partial skeg. You can see that Frers needed this additional volume aft to make his engine installation work. The counter is elevated and, to my eye, is actually on the steep side; but it is elegant. The D/L is 195, but that is based upon a "maximum sailing length" and not the static DWL. I don't know how they computed its maximum sailing length, but I'll warrant that it far exceeds the DWL. I pulled out my trusty tick strip, did some basic proportional analysis with the drawings and calculated that the DWL is really 44 feet 4 inches, which reduces the D/L to 264. That's quite a jump, but it sounds far more realistic for this type of boat.

The keel is a low-aspect-ratio fin with some type of bulb at the bottom. The rudder has a partial skeg that allows significant balance area below it for a nice, light feel to the helm. The rudder is large, contributing to directional stability. I find it very interesting that the rudder stock is raked forward 2.5 degrees. I wonder if Frers would be so kind as to explain this feature to us. Given his track record with the world's most exotic yachts, I'm sure we could all learn from him. Hydrodynamic considerations aside, it looks like the rudder stock was raked so that it would exit the deck in a convenient location — just barely aft of the cabintrunk — for hooking up emergency steering.

Note that the mast is stepped directly over the intersection of the keel's leading edge with the canoe body. This relative location of the mast usually results in a well-balanced boat. If you really want some weather helm, it's always easy to dig some up. But if you start with too much, you can't always get rid of it without compromising trim. The SA/D is 16.24.

Hallberg-Rassys are beautifully finished. This model is available in three basic layouts. All are three-stateroom layouts, but the size and location of the third stateroom and the location of the galley varies. I prefer the layout with the galley to starboard just aft of the dinette and with the V-berth double stateroom forward. I'd go for a straight settee to port instead of the chairs. But, all the layouts are fine; and who needs to nitpick when the basic package is as polished as this one?

The 53 has a 145-horsepower Volvo diesel and carries 223 gallons of fuel. The fuel and water tanks are located in the deep bilge to help keep the VCG down. The prop shaft is in a nacelle to eliminate a strut. Ballast is external. There's an optional hard dodger, which I particularly like.

Excellent combination of speed, comfort and detailing for cruising.

Boat Specifications
Displacement51,520 lbs.;
Ballast20,160 lbs.;
Sail Area1,406 sq. ft.;
AuxiliaryVolvo Penta TAMD41BHD 145-horsepower diesel;
Fuel223 gals.;
Water269 gals.


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.