The questions address the look, the performance and the ease of handling of the yacht.
Frers is quick to share that he was given a “freer hand” with regard to aesthetics. He was looking for clean and sweeping decks, a low profile and the goal of maximizing interior space. When questioned about sailing performance versus cruising volume it becomes clear that Frers has not compromised this “performance cruiser” as an excellent sailer. Every aspect of the design from the relatively plum bow to the broad transom and twin rudders adds to performance. Even the contoured deck has water shedding functionality. All these things make for spectacular good looks and a sumptuous interior.
Another important question was the ease of handling. The Hylas H60 is specced by Frers with a 105% working jib and an optional self tacking staysail. The audience wanted to know if by making the sailplan manageable for a cruising couple the yacht was perhaps a little underpowered? Once again this was not the case. Frers has spent his whole career working on making yachts sail fast, his designs have won the world’s most prestigious ocean races. Yes there is a relatively short footed forward sail but she’s a high aspect rig, 91.5 ft off the water. This allows plenty of upwind sail area and the ability to catch the better breezes up high in light conditions.
Details like the integrated bowsprit makes the setting of an “A” sail or code zero type sail very easy off the wind. The sprit itself being part of the hull mold avoids the “bolt on” need for tie rods and bob stays and also looks fantastic.Anyone who has worked with these larger sails knows the need for storage space—the forward sail locker with the collision bulkhead has been readily described as “cavernous”.
Although Frers believes the Hylas H60 would be a very credible racing yacht the “need for speed” is as important to cruisers as it is racers. Weather avoidance and reduced time on passage are all important safety factors.
Frers was also keen to share the close working relationship his company had with Hot Lab who created the interior design. The Italian design house has given the yacht a truly luxurious yet functional interior.
Form and functionality are key for any designer. Being able to find the right balance with all aspects of the design is what makes this yacht extraordinary.
The first of the Hylas H60s arrived in the US in time for the Miami International Boat Show and Hylas has been staying busy with test sails as much as Covid lockdown requirements have allowed. Christian Pschorr is the Hylas Service and Program Director and now has several hundred miles of sailing the Hylas H60 under his belt. Here’s his thoughts on the performance and ease of managing the H60.
It’s still early days as far as testing the yacht in all offshore conditions is concerned. The delivery to Newport for the boat show in September 2020 will be another great opportunity to learn more. What we have found is that the yacht is extremely maneuverable in moderate conditions, the twin rudders make her super responsive. She accelerates quickly and the medium displacement gives her a sense of purpose through the water.
The positioning of all the sail controls within easy reach of the twin helms, the visibility of the sail plan and jib telltales make her a joy to sail. For those of us that enjoy sitting back and relaxing and letting the autohelm do the work this yacht is a dream. The Jefa rod steering system makes the loads on the autohelm drive very light. This of course saves on power. We can also fit a secondary backup autohelm drive that can be engaged with the flick of a switch if required.