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Hallberg-Rassy 49

Illustration by Jim Ewing

Illustration by Jim Ewing

Back in 1943, Swedish boat builder Harry Hallberg opened his shop on the island of Orust to build Folkboats, a Swedish-designed racer-cruiser. Today, Hallberg’s name is linked with one of the most successful sailboat designs of the 20th century.

Dubbed by some as the flagship of the Swedish boating industry, the Hallberg-Rassy 49, introduced in 1982, is a rugged, good-looking yacht built for serious world cruising.

The HR 49 was designed by Olle Enderlein, a prolific Swedish creator of watercraft from canoes to passagemakers. His “yachtsman’s yacht” enjoyed a 15-year production run, with 89 hulls launched through 1997. Today, the Hallberg-Rassy 49 is considered a rare find in the used boat market.

At 49 feet overall and 41 feet on the waterline with a 14-foot, 6-inch beam, the HR 49 melded quality construction, blue-water capability and cruising comfort. The solid fiberglass hull had the deep forefoot, low-aspect fin keel and skeg-hung rudder of an ocean-going yacht. It was a heavy-displacement cruiser with a draft of more than 7 feet, but once it got going, it was swift and smooth.

Early designs had a ketch rig, and a single- or twin-headsail sloop rig was available on later models. Both rigs used a deck-stepped main mast, which was unusual at the time for a world cruiser. The high bow and ample freeboard, flush deck, center cockpit and hard dodger gave the HR 49 a distinctive look, which was topped off by the bold blue hull stripe.

The high freeboard and deck-stepped mast made for a roomy interior. The standard layout included a master stateroom aft with a private head compartment, a guest berth amidships and a V-berth forward, near an adjacent head. The galley was to port at the companionway, with a nav station opposite. (Charter layouts were optional, and included an enlarged galley and a centerline berth.)

Power came from a Volvo-Penta MD40-TA, a 143-hp diesel auxiliary fed by a 202-gallon fuel tank.

This article was originally published in the June 2021 issue.

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