When the concept for the Hallberg-Rassy 44 was first announced, and before hull #1 was completed, the crew of Swiftsure Yachts had a feeling it was going to be a special boat. One that can safely, comfortably and quickly take owners across oceans during years of cruising, or simply across the bay on an afternoon sail. We were excited to see HR and designer Germán Frers push the brand and its yachts into the future with features like twin rudders, performance oriented rigs and integral bowsprits, while remaining true to their core tenants of crafting exceptional quality yachts. Well, our enthusiasm grew when the first hull rolled off the line and has been confirmed by testing, and now, by winning Cruising World magazine’s award for “Best Midsize Cruiser Under 45 Feet”.
Here’s a bit of what the CW judges had to say about the boat…
“It’s just a solidly built boat,” Ed Sherman said. “We had the pleasure of sailing it in a pretty strong breeze, and it just went through the water with no effort. It was just doing its thing and loving it. All the equipment they use is Grade A. My only gripe is that if I were to buy the boat, I would spec out a steering wheel that was about 4 inches smaller in diameter so that I could get around it a bit more easily in what is a fairly tight cockpit. Plus, it’s so easy to steer, I don’t believe you need the leverage of a larger wheel. That was my only complaint.”
Judge Ralph Naranjo concurred with his colleague’s assessment. “Externally she’s a sound, ruggedly constructed vessel,” he said. “But more to the point, there’s integrity to how the systems are installed. Looking over how the autopilot goes in, for example, the bracketing can be as important as the selection of the autopilot itself. It’s very well-situated because the bracket is secured to both a transverse and longitudinal member. There’s no shoehorn effect.”
“In fact,” he continued, “you lift up the aft bunk and look at all the other equipment installed in that space. It’s almost as if there were laboratory testing going on there, and you have access to all of it. The entire boat is like that. Everything from the bow thruster to the anchor windlass showed that same attention to detail. And to me, the integrity of the builder showed through in the quality of the product.”
“Yes, the quality construction was mainly what got my vote,” judge Dan Spurr said. “We didn’t find any real shortcoming. Everything seemed well-done. The joiner work was tight. The woodwork inside was beautifully done. It sailed well. And I like the Hallberg-Rassy windshield. The vast majority of sailboats have a canvas dodger with vinyl windows. Eventually, the canvas wears out and the vinyl gets cloudy. The supposed virtue is that you can put them down, but nobody ever does, it seems. With the windshield, you can add a canvas top, but it offers protection in a more permanent way. I appreciate that utility. The little things added up here.”
Read the full article courtesy of CruisingWorld.com