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post #3296 of Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Interesting Sailboats

It's been an interesting experience to physically inspect a number of new models after having seen online photos, plans and various magazine reviews. The Hallberg Rassy 412 is one being praised by media as the benchmark high-end 40 footer. It ticks many boxes and is the product of a well respected yard & designer. Bob Perry's review in Sailing Magazine (online) summed it up well : "difficult to fault". Some aspects of the styling are not perfect, but I could probably live with it. However, once onboard and inspecting the details I was underwhelmed in the context of a EUR500k yacht.

This is a complex 40 footer in terms of equipment & systems, although componentry is first class. Down below it's detailing simply isn't the same as HR's of the past : panel gaps in the joinery & cabin sole are quite variable in places and the underside of berth-side shelves is not well finished (something you don't notice when standing but do when lying down). It all feels like a high quality kit-set; the question is whether that's good enough at this price point. The hull lining in the saloon around the hull port looks like white painted timber slatting but is actually a flimsy plastic moulding (even the HR rep was surprised when I pointed this out).

On deck the cockpit is very spacious, however not so good for the helmsman. The promotional photos give a clue with the helmsman looking like he's perched right on the transom; and this is actually the case - space between wheel & transom is not generous; and the transom panel (this lifts for stern access) is not very wide - approx 400mm - and when sitting on it you're quite conscious of the stern lifelines across your back. All not helped by the large moulded "command console" which forms part of the pedastal - way too big on a yacht this size and will take a lot of electronics to fill it.

This was disappointing because I was expecting the HR412 would justify the price. A new Malo berthed nearby was much less "production yacht" in terms of interior fit & finish (but surprised to see they still screw the teak deck veneer - why put hundreds of holes in a water tight cored structure ?); and the same weekend I looked at a couple of 10 year old Sweden Yachts - a 42 and 45 - the interior finish was still immaculate - in a different league to the HR412 (although overall design is a different generation).
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