Author Topic: Hylas 44 Review  (Read 7867 times)

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Hylas 44 Review
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2013, 09:24:43 PM »
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A strong and bluewater cruising boat - the Hylas 44 delivers good value for any couple.

When I received a call from friends and fellow So Cal sailors looking for a helping hand, I jumped at the chance to spend a month cruising through French Polynesia on a Hylas 44. I had been ogling the Hylas 44 for several years and this was my chance to get up-close and personal with this great cruising boat. (Some help came in the form of pictures from

Design, Construction and Performance
The Hylas is a successful line of semi-custom, moderate displacement center cockpit cruisers from Taiwan’s Queen Long Marine.  These boats have a long history of combining quality, performance and value and many, including the 44s, were used in CYC charter for years throughout the 80s and 90s.

This is a German Frers design with graceful lines and a sleek low profile.  She has a 44’2” LOA with a 13’6” beam and her mini-winged fin keel draws only 4’9”.  The ballast is a bolted on keel of 11,000 pounds and the 44s came in both deep draft and scheel keel versions with a partially skeg hung rudder.  A ballast to displacement ratio of 49% keeps her well balanced and moving upwind, although like many boats, she waddles a bit when dead down wind.

On her trip from the Galapagos to the Marquesas, the owner said the boat consistently provided 150 mile days, even stretching to 200 mile days when the winds were right.   She is happiest with 18-22 knots coming across the deck on a beam or close reach but moves surprisingly well in light airs which are all too frequent on what should be the tradewind milk run going west.

The hull is completely hand-laminated glass built from a one-piece mold that provides a strong seamless structure.  The decks are wide and clear and are an Airex cored construction, which is stiff, light and well-insulated.

Cockpit & Rigging
The sail area is a little less than the original 864 square feet since her boom was raised to make room for a full-sized bimini that allows for comfortable, stand-up steering.  However, this also makes it harder to reach the sail when putting on the cover or reefing it down in a blow.  The Hylas 44 was designed as a sloop with a tapered, anodized and  keel stepped spar.  The high aspect, masthead, double spreader rig came with a conventional hoist or in-mast furling main.  Dead downwind, the large main tends to block a 130% genoa and ends up doing all the work.

Most control lines are were left at the mast as was standard on all the 44s.  However, that means crew must go forward to reef, regardless of the conditions.  We were caught in a blow between Rangiroa and Papeete which turned the 24 hour sail into 72 exhausting hours of hand steering and reefing.  It would have been nice to have granny bars at the mast for added safety.

The cockpit is compact and allows for easy foot bracing across for the crew when heeled.  However, on the 44, the cockpit is shallow.  Backrests were added at the factory to increase comfort but they tend to get in the way when you need to move in or out of the cockpit in a hurry.

Layout & Accommodations
The Hylas layout is a modern design that ensures everyone aboard will enjoy comfort and privacy.  The spacious interior begins with a vee-berth forward followed by a head and shower combination to port.  The saloon features a U-shaped settee to port with a settee to starboard that converts into a double bunk or makes a good berth with a lee cloth under way.  Dual passage ways lead aft with the galley to starboard, the navigation station to port and the engine compartment in the middle.  The engine room space is insulated and accessible from the galley on one side and the aft head on the port side.  A fantastic feature are the hinged companion way steps that swing out into the saloon to allow access to the front of the engine without having to stow bits of the steps in an unsecured manner in the main living area.

The Hylas 44s came in a variety of aft stateroom layouts.  The owner’s cabin features a centerline queen berth and plenty of storage around and below.  The aft head is a walk-through with a separate shower compartment.  The emergency tiller attaches under the bunk which means that anyone steering under these conditions better be able to see up through the hatch above the bunk – this is not ideal, but then, it is for emergency use only and is not uncommon in center cockpit designs.

The navigation station is forward facing and allows for the electronics to be laid out so that the night-watch has a good view of the instruments and radar even when sitting under the dodger in the cockpit.  Storage for everything from soup to socks is good even if tanks do take up space beneath both the cabin sole and as well as the settees.  Ventilation is provided by fourteen opening ports and six opening hatches.

Systems & Mechanical
Like many boats coming out of charter, this Hylas 44 underwent a significant refit with her second owner in 1994.  A new Maxwell windlass was installed that drops the chain and rode into a well designed and divided chain locker.  A Martec feathering prop was added as well as an Autohelm ST 7000, which has kept the boat on course for most of the 20,000 miles without incident regardless of conditions.  The boat was hauled in 1994 with some blisters but has had none since.

Originally, these boats had a 55 HP Yanmar but on our boat, that was replaced and beefed up to a 62 HP Yanmar a few years ago and it literally purred after 2000 hours when I visited.  It would take a bit of rearranging to squeeze a generator into Sea Angel’s engine room but it would definitely be possible and many 44s have found the space.  Originally designed for charter, this Hylas started with the standard 80 gallons of fuel and  80 gallons of water.

Wrap Up
My time aboard the Hylas 44 covered about 1,000 miles from the Marquesas to Rangiroa in the Tuamotus, down to Papetee on Tahiti Nui and on to Moorea and Huahine.  It was a good amount of time to learn about the boat and have a great cruise as well.

Specs for Factory Hylas 44s
Designer:    German Frers
LOA:   44’2”
LWL:   34’10”
Beam:   13’6”
Draft:   6’ or 4’9”
Ballast:  11,020 lbs
Displacement:  22,320lbs
Sail Area:  864 sq ft
Fuel Tankage:  80 gallons
Water Tankage: 80 gallons
Ballast/Disp  49%
Disp/Length  236
SA/Disp  17.51
« Last Edit: May 19, 2013, 09:28:40 PM by Green »


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