What are the hallmarks of a good round-the-world boat? To find out, Chris Beeson steps aboard one that has spent the last four years doing just that
Hylas 46 review
See the October 2017 issue of Yachting Monthly for the full test
What’s she like to sail?
The word is ‘reassuring’. The Hylas 46 has an easily-driven hull and enough sail power to push her through the water but let’s look at the figures. Her sail area/displacement number, 19.3, suggests she’s a medium displacement cruiser, not a heavy ocean boat or an inshore cruiser, but in cruising trim with full tanks she displaces nearly 21,000kg, which drops her number to 14.4, that of heavy displacement cruisers. In that trim, she will comfortably cope with heavy weather.
With electric furling for genoa and main, she is easily handled solo, which is essential on ocean passages. The elevated helm position feels secure rather than exposed, although low freeboard means the odd dusting of spray makes it to the cockpit. On passage, I could happily tuck myself in under the sprayhood and keep watch from there. Switch off the autopilot and she’s pleasing enough to steer, tight and responsive, but don’t expect the sort of feedback you’d get with a balanced spade rudder. As blue water cruisers go, she’s really quite rewarding to helm.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
With the bimini up and the sprayhood down, the elevated cockpit will be shaded and high enough to catch a gentle breeze. Then step down onto the sidedecks, fold out the transom’s bathing ladder, grab your mask and snorkel from the transom locker and explore the reef. Rinse off the salt with the deck shower, then settle in the cockpit and grab the cold beer passed through the hatch to the galley. There is a boarding ladder in the lifelines for clambering aboard from a tender or pontoon and at the bow there’s a saltwater deck hose for cleaning anchor and chain.
Down below, the aircon and fans will keep you cool in warmer climes. In more temperate areas there are plenty of opening hatches for ventilation, all fitted with fly screens. The owner’s cabin aft is the more sumptuous of the two but the guest cabin is well appointed with a decent amount of stowage. Both cabins are en suite and on a 46ft blue water cruiser, any more than two cabins is wasting space.
Would she suit you and your crew?
Hylas yachts hold their value so you’ll need a few bob, but she’s a tried and tested solution for comfortable ocean cruising. She has solar panels on the sprayhood (Tom says he would add more), a Watt & Sea towed generator that fits in a transom bracket, generous tankage, a reliable generator and watermaker: all the systems work. The build quality throughout is exceptional and when you need to wield a spanner, as ocean cruisers must, you’ll love the maintenance access.
She’s ideal for a crew of two. With electric winches, furling and bow thruster, she’s easily managed and confidence will come from that. When you want to invite guests, the appointments in their en suite cabin will keep them very comfortable. The galley is kitted out with everything you need to entertain and the saloon is highly convivial. Just make sure your guests have booked a return flight or they’ll never leave.
Facts and figures
LOA 14.09m (46ft 3in)
LWL 12.2m (40ft 1in)
Beam 4.19m (13ft 9in)
Draught 1.97m (6ft 5in) or 1.5m (4ft 11in)
Displacement 13,600kg (29,974 lb)
Ballast 5,712kg (12,566 lb)
Ballast ratio 42%
Sail area 108m2 (1,162 sqft)
SA/D ratio 19.3
Diesel 491 litres (108 gal)
Water 653 litres (143 gal)
Transmission Shaft drive
RCD category A
Designer German Frers
Builder Queen Long Yard, Taiwan
Owners Association www.hylasyachts.org