YARD UPDATE '09: Hallberg-Rassy...

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YARD UPDATE '09: Hallberg-Rassy...

Yard Updates

The Swedish quality sailing cruiser builder’s turnover should increase slightly for its year to the end of August ‘09, but nevertheless it has told its workforce to expect major lay-offs from this summer... Despite the credit crunch, the yard has high hopes for its new entry-level HR310.


Swedish quality sailing cruiser builder Hallberg-Rassy sold no fewer than 160 boats to a value of around SKr510 million (€48m) during its year to the end of August ’08 and, despite the credit crunch, at the close of play its ‘08/09 year looks like concluding slightly up. If it does, the figure will not register a new record, but it won’t be too far off. The yard usually builds between 150-175 boats a year, depending on what models are in vogue, and so is used to modest turnover fluctuations associated with model mixes.

'"0ur clients," says Magnus Rassy, "are generally cash buyers and so they tend to plan their boat buying well in advance...'

As to why, on the face of it, it seems to be outperforming the mainstream market, Magnus Rassy says his sector is probably a little more resilient, more conservative.
"0ur clients," he says, "are generally cash buyers and so they tend to plan their boat buying well in advance...Certainly that's true of Germany. As a market, Germany has always been good for us, but for whatever reason it seems to be really very good at the moment... And yes we have had a good order book, so any modest growth this year was actually already signed and sealed before this present market crash registered in the autumn."
Just like everyone else the operation has found things a lot tougher since Christmas. Unless there is an improvement in forward orders, there will be substantial cut-backs this summer. As of early ’09 it had managed to trim back its establishment at the headquarters site in Ellös and at its ‘Marinplast’ lamination plant at Kingshamn from around 330 to just under 300, but all have been warned of lay-offs this summer.
What is said to be proving doubly frustrating for Rassy and his management team is union involvement interfering with who can be retained and who should go, which threatens a skills imbalance.
The present Hallberg-Rassy line-up runs from 31-62ft (9.5-19m). The ‘HR’ portfolio includes nine models – the soon-to-launch 310, the 342, the 37, the new-for-2008 372, the 40, the 43 MkII, 48, 54 and 62. Should you wonder why the line-up includes two 37s, the reason is simple. The 37 is a traditional Hallberg-Rassy centre-cockpit model that is said to be more suited to bluewater (downwind) cruising, whereas the more-modern 372, with its longer waterline and increased keel area, is an aft-cockpit design; its better upwind performance means it’s more geared to coastal cruising.

The new HR310...
Hallberg-Rassy has high hopes for its new entry-level 310, not least because it has delivered no fewer than 2,145 31-footers since it started. so understands what is required of upmarket cruisers of that size. This latest interpretation replaces the old 31 MkII, which has been in production for 16 years; and incidentally it was still said to be outperforming competitors in magazine head-tohead tests up until just a few years ago.
Designed by German Frers, the yard’s designer of choice for many years, this aft-cockpit model combines contemporary lines with an easy-sail layout that includes a genoa that only slightly overlaps the mast or an optional self-tacking jib. Both headsails are attached to a under-deck furlers. Plus there’s the option of flying a Code 0 or gennaker from a removable bowsprit.
Under engine, she’ll have a range of 360 miles with her 22hp inboard diesel revving at an economical two-thirds of its maximum speed.
Her high-volume interior is said to be exceptionally light and airy thanks to no fewer than 14 sources of natural light below; indeed all nine of her portlights are the same size as the HR43 MkII.
Everything else will be traditional Hallberg-Rassy attention to detail.
The first HR310 will be shown this year at Hallberg-Rassy’s Open House event, which takes place at its Ellös site over August 21-23.
For more, www.hallberg-rassy.com.

© Phil Draper