Hylas M58: Clean Lines  and Clear Goals

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LOA: 64 feet, 7 inches (bow roller to swim platform) • LOD: 58 feet • BEAM (max.): 18 feet, 9 inches • DISPLACEMENT (half load): 69,115 pounds • FUEL: 1,450 gal. • WATER: 300 gal. • POWER: twin 725-hp Volvo Penta D11s paired to IPS950 drives • SPEED: 27 knots top, 23 knots cruise • BASE PRICE (est.): $2 million • ESTIMATED LAUNCH: Fall 2019

For the sailor who needs an incentive to embrace the slightly simpler world of powerboating, the Hylas M58 might do the trick. Designed by Doug Zurn and scheduled to launch in 2019, this yacht wears the friendly face of a traditional New England-style cruiser without fussiness or flourishes.

Dennis Caprio photo

Dennis Caprio

Although nothing about designing a yacht is simple, the best examples of this art cause observers to say, “Hell, I can do that.” We often applaud overly complex styling treatments, which are meant to demonstrate a sense of something unique, but those elements can drown the overall design in a sea of conflict. Scalpel-shape windows in the superstructure clash with parallelogram portlights in the topsides; character lines used to mask the ungainly expanse of freeboard scar the profile, and both motifs disturb the design’s sense of harmony.

You’ll find nothing radical in the M58. The sheer line in a direct profile view rivals “Mona Lisa’s smile” for subtlety. Instead of wondering what Mona was thinking, we should wonder what mood Zurn was trying to set — understatement combined with strength of character is my guess.

Surprisingly small, but important elements of the M58 contribute to the success of the overall design. Most obvious are the identical rakes of the windshield, the edge of the visor just above it and the front fascia of the superstructure. The coaming around the flybridge slopes aft at the same angle as the sheer line, while the reverse sheer helps to mask the volume in the forward sections of the hull. Although we may never notice the quote in a three-dimensional view, it is important to the design’s success. The coaming terminates in a short, sloping plunge to the hardtop, finding its equal angle in the forward edge of the opening between afterdeck and side deck.

Hylas also offers the M58 with a flybridge. It adds a significant amount of height to the superstructure, but not objectionably so. The many advantages of the flybridge notwithstanding, I prefer the sedan version’s looks.

Having 58 by 18 feet of hull in which to execute aesthetic magic relieves some of the stress of getting the design just right. Stretched along that much length, the freeboard you need to get standing headroom belowdecks doesn’t overwhelm the profile. Add a few more inches to the freeboard, and you may also hide the trunk cabin behind bulwarks, letting its sweetly formed crown and gradual descent to the foredeck accentuate the reverse sheer line.

Although a yacht’s appearance often sells it to the public, the ensuing romance falters quickly if the performance can’t keep the flame burning. As always, Zurn Yacht Design began below the waterline. Her fine entry warps to a 16.5-degree deadrise at the transom. Strakes along the bottom and substantial chine flats at the turn of the bilges enhance lift.

“It’s more of a planing hull, rather than a semi-displacement hull,” Zurn says. “We expect her to be a leader in fuel economy in the class.”

The main deck’s open arrangement plan has a U-shaped galley aft on the port side, a dinette immediately forward and the helm opposite. Raising the dinette and galley allowed adequate headroom in the belowdecks stateroom amidships. Folding glass doors all but disappear, which adds to the seamless flow from afterdeck to saloon. At the galley, the after window lowers into the counter, forming a three-stool cocktail bar for guests on the afterdeck.

Compromise governs the design of all products headed to production, and Hylas and Zurn seem to have chosen the right ones for the M58. hylasyachts.com

This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue.

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