At one time in Oman I was daydreaming
about what type of boat we would choose when the opportunity to go cruising would
present itself, or when our jobs would take us to a part of the world where we
could own a boat. Little did I know that such an opportunity would present
itself quite soon. Many of the boats we had chartered were too light and
appeared to be of poor quality construction. This had put me off those types of
boats. Many of the books I read, including Steve Dashew’s Offshore
Cruising Encyclopedia reinforced my idea that an offshore cruising boat
should be of sturdy construction. This is how I started thinking about a
Hallberg Rassy. I typed Hallberg Rassy into a search engine, and voilà John
Neal’s website appeared. Sailing aboard
Mahina Tiare confirmed all the good things I had read about Hallberg Rassy’s.
Obviously, John is a great fan of Hallberg Rassy.
Obviously, John is a great fan of Hallberg Rassy.
I started looking at the second hand
market on the Internet. I also looked at a few cruising boats of similar quality
and reputation including: Contest, Najad, Malö and Rival-Bowman. Najad, Malö
and Hallberg Rassy are all built on Orust, a tiny island on the west coast of
Sweden. Contest is Dutch and Rival Bowman is English. It turned out that there
were very few recent models on the market, and the few boats I found were not
much cheaper than a new one. These quality boats keep their value, and this is
certainly true for a Hallberg Rassy.
How about an older model then? This may
be an interesting option if you can spent your weekends and holidays fixing her
up and making her ready for a long distance voyage. But once we knew we were going
to have a career break, we wanted to go sailing, not live in a boat yard for a
A new boat started looking like a better deal. That way we could fit her out exactly the way we wanted, and the initial depreciation wouldn’t be too bad.
We decided to order a brand new Hallberg Rassy 42. We like the looks of these boats, and they are beautifully finished inside. The yard has a rock solid reputation, and so does the designer, German Frers. The sailing performance is good, both upwind and downwind. The interior layout of the centre cockpit design is very spacious and practical. Water and diesel tanks are under the floor, leaving lots of storage space under the settees and in numerous lockers. The deep bilge recessed into the keel makes sure that water cannot run into the lockers when heeled.
After we placed the order, we traveled to Sweden and spent a full day to discuss optional extras with Roland Olsson, one of their salesmen. This is where our experience on board Mahina Tiare as well as John Neal’s advice came in very useful. Roland had some very good input as well. Practically all equipment that turns a day sailor into a live-aboard offshore sailboat were purchased from Hallberg Rassy, and installed by them. Installing this equipment after the boat had been completed would have been much more cumbersome and expensive, and they did a beautiful job. We should have asked them to supply and install the radar reflector as well. Now I installed this myself.
We purchased loose
items in Holland during the first few months of 2001 and took these
to Sweden in a van at the time of delivery.
These ranged from cutlery to life vests and from hand tools to an inflatable
These ranged from cutlery to life vests and from hand tools to an inflatable dinghy.
The following describes some of the
technical detail of Alegría at the time we sailed away from the yard on the 9th
of June 2001.
We have the following suite of sails:
- A furling genoa.
- A furling mainsail (furls into the mast).
- A furling jib.
- A storm jib, to be set on the removable inner forestay.
- A storm trysail.
Safety equipment includes:
- A six person Autoflug liferaft.
- A “Jon Buoy” man overboard recovery system.
- A “Lifesling” man overboard recovery system.
- Self-inflating Marinepool life vests with built-in harness for all crew.
- EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon).
- A set of flares.
- A large radar reflector.
- A DELTA speed limiting drogue.
- A collision mat.
- An Ambassador rope cutter on the propeller shaft.
- Four dry powder hand held fire extinguishers and a fire blanket
- A fire alarm and semi automatic CO2 fire extinguisher in the engine room.
- A carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in the aft cabin. We sleep in the aft cabin, and the exhaust pipe from the engine runs underneath the bed.
- A solenoid valve on the propane gas cylinders. The valve can be manually opened from the galley, and will close automatically when flammable gas is detected. Two gas detectors are mounted underneath the stove.
- A very extensive first aid kit, prepared by the Harbour Hospital in Rotterdam.
With a small crew it is essential that the boat steers itself on long passages.
- We have a Raytheon ST7000+ autopilot.
Plenty of fresh water adds a lot to the comfort on board when you don’t visit marinas regularly to top up the tanks.
- We have a SPECTRA water maker, which makes 55 litres of fresh drinking water per hour at very low power consumption (about 16 Amps at 12 V).
- Because of this, we sacrificed one of the water tanks for extra diesel storage. We now store about 320 litres of fresh water on board. With the aid of the diesel engine and the water maker, we turn one liter of diesel into about 250 liters of water.
- As a back-up we have a little life raft water maker, which you have to pump manually.
Range under power
You see a lot of cruising boats that have many jerry cans full of diesel stored on deck. Everybody prefers to sail, but in the calms it is better to motor than to wait. We have increased the range under power from 620 miles to about 1400 miles with the following modifications:
- One of the water tanks was converted into a diesel tank, which increases the diesel storage to about 785 litres.
We have a GORI propeller, which folds to reduce drag when sailing. It
also has a “second gear”. This reduces engine rpm, noise and fuel
consumption when motoring in calm waters.
On board electronics include:
- Log, depth and wind instruments.
- VHF radio with second handset in the cockpit (a second handheld VHF radio is held in the grab bag).
- SSB radio (for the long range).
- Raytheon pathfinder RADAR, with LCD display unit in the cockpit.
- Inmarsat-C satellite communication system (e-mail and safety messages only)
- GPS satellite navigation system (a second handheld GPS is held in the grab bag).
- Weatherfax, which prints weather charts (broadcast on SSB radio) on thermal fax paper.
- Laptop computer
- Video camera.
- GSM telephone.
- Stereo radio / CD player.
- Burglar Alarm.
- The settee in the saloon was modified for easier access to storage space underneath and behind.
- The two-burner stove was swapped for a three-burner model.
- A freezer was installed in addition to the standard fridge.
- The standard layout in the aft cabin has two 1½-person berths. This was changed to a double berth on starboard and a single one on port.
- Eight electric fans are dotted around the interior for comfort in the tropics.
- In addition to white lights, red lights were installed in the main cabin and in the heads. We use these lights for night sailing. Red lights do not destroy night vision the way white lights do.
- We ordered a hard dodger as an optional extra. It offers very good protection from the elements, especially when sailing upwind. Besides, it looks a lot nicer than the canvas dodger.
All this electronic equipment, lights, the fridge and freezer and the autopilot all consume a lot of power. We have installed:
- A house battery bank consisting of 5 gel cell batteries of 140 Ah each.
- A Mastervolt battery charger, to be used in the marina to charge the batteries from the electric power grid (110 V or 220 V)
- A second alternator (Volvo, 60A nominal capacity), to quickly charge the batteries when the engine is running.
- A towing generator, which provides about 6 Amps at 6 knots and acts as a back-up power source in case we get an engine failure during a long passage.
A Mastervolt inverter, which converts the 12 VDC from the batteries to
220 VAC (max 1000 W).
Our cockpit locker is also our garage, which stores:
- An inflatable dinghy. The 8 hp outboard motor is stored on the pushpit.
- Two folding bicycles.