Hallberg-Rassy 69 report by Magnus Rassy

Hallberg-Rassy 69 report by Magnus Rassy:

 Hallberg-Rassy has been test sailing and photo shooting the all-new Hallberg-Rassy 69 from dawn to dusk for a couple of weeks. This yacht sails fantastically well in every way, with true wind speeds so far ranging from 1-24 knots.

There is no doubt that this is a big and powerful yacht, yet, at the same time it still feels like a typical Hallberg-Rassy. The beautifully bewitching lines and proportions by Frers, a clean and uncluttered deck, flush forward of the mast, all the functions you want in the right place, and a well-sheltered cockpit with exemplary visibility in all directions, make it easy to single hand the yacht if you wish. You quickly gain confidence in the yacht. It starts already when you start the engine and you wonder if it really is running? It is that quiet. The feeling grows as the sails fill with wind and the speed accelerates, majestically and controlled. This yacht is a true mile eater, allowing you to sail for a long time, far and fast, and arrive rested.

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The yacht has incredible drive, even in really light airs, and generates its own wind to a degree you didn't think was possible on a yacht with 51 tons displacement, as we sail her, loaded. The yacht has a nice rudder feel and power when sailing, wind and waves do not bother her at all like on a smaller and lighter boat.

In terms of construction, some weight has been saved by using vacuum infused sandwich bulkheads with a Divinycell core. The yacht's laminates are also vacuum infused to save weight while maintaining robustness & durability. This weight saving has been added to the keel weight, which is 18.1 tons, an unusually high amount for a yacht of this kind. A low centre of gravity combined with a wide waterline and good form stability gives a high righting moment. This is noticeable in that the yacht carries its full sail area even in fresher winds than expected.

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Sail handling on this yacht is effortless with the use of buttons, eliminating the need for heavy handling. It is the solution to handle a large comfortable yacht with minimum crew while keeping the joy of sailing. However, it is important to be aware of the forces on the yacht. To address this, there is a display on the steering pedestal that shows the current loads for the backstay, vang, main halyard, and genoa halyard. "PushButtonSailing" a registered trademark with exclusive rights for Hallberg-Rassy and is known as "Knopfdrucksegeln" in German and "Knappsegling" in Swedish. The yacht's hydraulics control mast furling, outhaul, jib furling, all winches, backstay tensioner, vang and halyard tension. The code sail is also furled hydraulically. In addition, there is a manual hydraulic system for a mast jack, a way to pump up the mast and get extra good rig tension. The standing rig is a rod rig and the mast, boom, and spreaders are in white varnished carbon. This saves several hundred kilos in the right place, up the mast. Reducing pitching, rolling, pumping, and heeling, resulting in better steering control, higher boat speed, and a closer angle towards the wind.

The sails are from Elvstrøm, the mainsail has a full roach, a headboard at the top and vertical battens, it's called FatFurl XL. All sails are membrane sails with Technora and Vectran fibres and double taffeta for a long service life. Shape and efficiency are now at a level no one believed would be possible for a furling mainsail. The jib also has an extra roach and battens parallel to the headstay. Even the large code sail is in Epex membrane with hydraulic furling.

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Sailing on the yacht provides a stable and secure feeling, but it can be incredibly cold this time of year. However, the technical functions of the yacht remain unaffected by the cold. It almost feels like sailing in a freezer, except when you can sit under the hardtop which immediately becomes warmer and calmer. Even when it's very windy, there are no problems communicating in a normal conversational tone. This would never have been possible under a regular spray hood. The hardtop provides protection from the cold as well as tropical heat. The hardtop offers a substantial seating height, while at the same time providing a clear view over the hardtop when standing at the helmsman's place. The proportions of the hardtop are easier to get right on this size of yacht, with elongated lines and a more tapered roof shape. The tempered glass windows do not get scratched over time, and the centre screen can be opened for good air circulation in the summer. The hardtop sides also have substantial handles for added security.

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The cockpit is a full 3.5 meters long with two sturdy tables that allow for easy passage when the lowered leaf’s position and a large continuous table when raised, with a good foot brace. The cockpit is also deep and comfortable while offering excellent coaming protection for the helmsman. Above the sliding hatch, there are five of the new, large Raymarine Alpha displays.

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Below deck, the yacht is both cozy and spacious. The surfaces are not exaggerated, and you are quickly amazed at how the yacht feels just the right size. The fact that the sole is on one level throughout the yacht is a big plus as there are no steps or tripping points. There is plenty of natural light, and the extra-large hull portlights in the saloon offer a fantastic panoramic view at just the right eye level when seated. When you stand up, the large upper portlights provide a good view outside. Additionally, there is a series of portlights in front of the saloon for light and ventilation. The walk-in engine room is large, and you can access the technology, main engine, and Gen Set easily walking on the aluminium gangways.

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When the company has finished test sailing, the yacht will go ashore before Christmas. The keel and rudders will be removed, and the yacht will be trucked to the world's largest boat show, in Düsseldorf, where it will be displayed together with the 400 and 340 on January 20-28, 2024. The Hallberg-Rassy 69 will be the largest sailing yacht at the show.

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